Horse Manure Facts

Horse Manure Facts

Removing Horse Dung
Horse manure is more interesting than you'd think. zorani / Getty Images

If you've got horses, you've got manure. Being interested in manure may seem odd or distasteful to some people. However, horse owners know they need to take an interest in their horse's manure as the consistency and quantity is an indication of their horse’s health. Compaction colic can occur if a horse becomes constipated. Diarrhea can be a sign of a very nervous horse—it's not unusual to see when a horse is in the trailer or at a competition, or it can be a sign of illness. So,...MORE a healthy pile of manure is not offensive to a horse owner. Rather, it means everything is working well in the horse's digestive system. Manure is very important to horse owners. Here are some horse manure fact you might not be aware of.

  • 01 of 09

    Quantity and Weight

    Donut on manure in city street.
    Donut on manure. Image Credit:Fotosearch /Getty Images

    Horses produce about eight piles of manure a day and about 50 lbs a day. That means one horse creates about nine tons of manure per year. This is why stall and pasture cleaning is essential to horse health. If manure is not cleaned up regularly it makes the perfect environment for producing unhealthy ammonia fumes in stables, as well as a place for molds, bacteria and parasites to thrive.

    Horse manure should be a pile of roughly spherical shaped droppings. These are formed by the last portion of...MORE the large intestine squeezing the contents into ball-like shapes as it extracts water. If there is is too much water and it is runny, it can indicate a health problem. 

    If a horse produces no manure, it can indicate an impaction in the gut, and that too is bad news. 

  • 02 of 09


    Various types of horse feeds and supplements.
    What goes in, must come out, in one form or other. Image Credit: Spiritartist /Getty Images

    Horse manure contains grass and grain fibers, minerals, shed cells, fats, water, sand or grit depending on the type of soil the hay or grass was growing in. About 3/4 of the total weight of manure is water. It may also contain undigested grain and weed seeds, which is why it should be composted before putting on your garden because these could still sprout.

  • 03 of 09

    Manure By Any Other Name

    Close-Up Of Pony Standing In Stable
    Pony pucks. Image Credit:Luann Griffin / EyeEm /Getty Images

    There are lots of different names for horse manure. Horse manure is sometimes called horse buns, road apples, horse pucky, horse chips, horse hooey and horse apples. 

  • 04 of 09

    Horse Manure in Your Garden

    Person moving manure with pitch fork
    Garden soil can be improved with horse manure. Image Credit:Francesca Yorke/ Photolibrary /Getty Images

    Horse manure should be aged about six months before using on gardens. Manure tea made with fresh horse manure can be used to feed vegetable and flower gardens or fresh manure can be used to build a 'lasagne garden'. It doesn't burn the plants, so even if you don't let it compost for six months, you're not going to kill your plants.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    If You Fall Face First in a Pile

    Pile of manure.
    Manure pile. Image Credit:Paul Thompson /Photolibrary RM /Getty Images

    Horse manure is unlikely to spread any disease to people, including bacterial problems with e-coli which is killed in sunlight. Human and dog waste are far more likely to spread disease and parasites to humans. While it's unpleasant to find it on walking trails and other public places, it's not very harmful. It is, however, good manners for your to stop and get the pile out of the way if your horse does poop on a shared trail or parking lot. 

  • 06 of 09


    Decomposed horse manure
    Decomposed horse manure. Image: K. Blocksdorf

    Horse manure changes color and consistency depending on their diet. When the horse is on grass or very bright green rich hay, the manure will be a bright green color when fresh. If the horse is eating paler green hay, the manure will be paler and if the horse is forced it eat brownish hay, the manure will be a similar color. Outdoors, the weather bleaches it all brown eventually and the rain and sun break it down into the soil.

  • 07 of 09

    If It Stinks

    Bold man holding his nose.
    If manure smells unusually bad, suspect a health problem. Image Credit: Paul Thompson/Photolibrary RM/Getty Images

    Horse manure is not as smelly as cat or dog feces. Most people do not find it overly offensive. Particularly foul smelling manure could be caused by a rapid change in diet, too much fat or protein in the diet, ulcers, salmonella or C Diff, or internal parasites.

  • 08 of 09


    Traditional fire roasting coffee.
    Roasting coffee over a manure fueled fire. Image Credit:microgen/E Plus /Getty Images

    Apparently dried horse manure makes good fuel. You probably may not want to roast marshmallows over it, but it has been used as heating fuel. Backwoods Home has instructions on how to make horse manure bricks to burn as fuel and claims it has a higher heating value than seasoned hardwood. Plus, the resultant ash is an excellent soil additive.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Construction Material

    Door in adobe building.
    Adobe is a natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous or organic material such as sticks, straw, and/or manure. Image Credit:Danita Delimont /Gallo Images /Getty Images

    Horse manure has also been used in brick making. It's one of the components of adobe. What would a house made of manure bricks smell like in damp weather? While most people may not find the smell of horse manure offensive, most of us would draw the line here.