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 that should not be ignored. So, a healthy pile of manure is not offensive to a horse owner. Rather, it's a very important indication that everything is working well in the horse's digestive system. Here are some horse manure facts you might not be aware of.
01 of 09
Quantity and Weight
Horses produce about eight piles of manure a day and about 50 pounds 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 mold, bacteria, and parasites to thrive.
Horse manure should be a pile of roughly spherical shaped droppings. These are formed by the last portion of the large intestine squeezing the contents into ball-like shapes as it extracts water. If there is too much water and it is runny, this 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. Veterinary attention should be sought as soon as possible.
02 of 09
Horse manure contains grass and grain fibers, minerals, shed cells, fats, water, and sand or grit, depending on the type of soil in which the hay or grass was grown, and the paddock or pasture on which the horse is kept. 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 fertilizing your garden, because these seeds could still germinate.
03 of 09
Manure by Any Other Name
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
Horse manure should be aged about six months before being used 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 "lasagna 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
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, horse manure is not typically harmful. It is, however, good manners for you to stop and get the pile out of the way if your horse poops on a shared trail or parking lot.
06 of 09
Horse manure changes color and consistency depending on their diet. When the horse eats a diet of 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 to 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
Horse manure is not as smelly as cat or dog feces. Most people do not find it overly offensive.
08 of 09
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
Horse manure has also been used in brick making. It can be 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.
Overview of Colic in Horses. Merck Veterinary Manual.
Horse Stable Manure Management. Penn State University Extension.