Nordo
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Fresh Horse Manure in Sawdust.

I've just brought back a trailer load of fresh horse manure mixed with sawdust from a friendly owner of some stables.

I'm not too sure what to do next. :?

The load is from this weeks muck-outs, so it is very fresh. The majority of the sawdust is soaked with urine. The horses are prize show horses, so I'm sure that the sawdust would be free of chemicals. At the moment I have the lot loosely wrapped in a plastic tarp.

I believe I have to wait for it to break down first before I put it on my vege garden. The rows are dug over, but nothing is planted at the moment. I live in a sub-tropical area in SE Quensland, Australia. Currently it is mid-winter, with temps from 10 to 20 deg Centigrade, so I probably won't be doing much planting for a couple of months.

Should I separate the dung from the sawdust?
Should I let the dung and the sawdust all break down together?
Is there anything I should do to help it break down?
How long before adding it to the vege plots (or the rest of the garden for that matter)?
I was also thinking about adding some dolomite to the plots?

Sorry about all the questions. I'm pretty new at this. :oops:

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applestar
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It's best to compost them first. Horse contributions are GREENS, sawdust is BROWNS. Check out the stickies at the top of the [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=35]Compost Forum[/url].

FWIW -- As for chemicals.... I helped out at a co-op boarding barn for a while and learned a few things about horsecare.
• They're "wormed" at regular intervals -- medicated with vermicide to kill intestinal and inter/intra-muscular parasites. This will pass through their bodies and can kill earthworms and other organisms. Good news is that all the horses at barn are usually wormed on the same schedule.
• Some horses are given systemic vermicide in their feed.
• During the warm months, the horses are regularly sprayed with insect repellent and/or insecticide to keep away flies, midges, fleas, and ticks
• Some stables/barns have periodic-release insecticide dispersal systems that regularly spray insecticide into the air
• During the winter months when the horses wear blankets, the horses are often sprayed with Static-Guard or some kind of home-made fabric softener mixture because the nylon/woolen blankets build-up static which bothers/scares the horses
• Horses' hooves are often painted/pedicured for shows
• Best remedy for fungal hoof problem is Gentian Violet, which is poured into the hoof cavities
• Some owners are more liberal about medicating their horses than others. There was one horse there that *needed* to be sedated for practically everything -- worming, injecting, shoeing, loading, etc.
• Some horses have regular stomach problems -- one horse had a "nervous" condition that gave her diarrhea every weekend before and during shows

It was only a short stint -- others with more horse experience may have other observations.

(Oh, don't forget the manure scare/disaster in Britain last year.)

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rainbowgardener
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composting manure

Since as applestar pointed out your manure with sawdust is already a nice mixture of green and brown, you don't need to do anything to it (what a nasty job that would be to try to separate it! :) ). Just let it sit in a pile. If your weather is above freezing and dry you might water the pile every once in awhile, you want it to stay a little bit damp. You can tell it is ready when it is no longer manure + sawdust, but a nice soil-like substance with no recognizable ingredients. It's likely that the stuff on the bottom of the pile will be ready first, so in spring when you are ready to use it, you might need to take the top of the pile off and put it somewhere else, to get down to the part that is finished composting...

Nordo
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Gees Applestar, what are you trying to do to me? :?

I drove 40 km, shovelled a full trailer-load on board, drove slowly all the way back, shovelled it all out of the trailer, wrapped it up in plastic to prevent weeds growing through it. Now you tell me it's all full of chemicals!!! :( :lol:

By the time the pile has composted, would the chemicals (if there are any) have lost their potency?

We never drop below 5deg C, even in winter, so as you say, I will probably have to water the pile every now and again.

I realise now that I should have posted in the Compost Forum. I knew you weren't supposed to put the fresh manure on the garden, but I didn't realise the delaying process is actually composting. Sorry. :oops:

Thanks for all the help and guidance. :D

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Kisal
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As a past owner of show dogs, I have to agree with Applestar. Show animals are about as heavily treated with chemicals as an animal can be. They have to be kept looking as though they're in tip-top shape, even though they might not actually be at their best when an important show is scheduled.

I showed Komondorok. They're always white. The last thing you want is for a giant-breed dog with a white, heavy, corded coat to have an attack of diarrhea moments before it's due in the show ring. To prevent that when we were on the road, my dogs were fed a diet of instant rice cooked with a little hamburger.

I treated them with flea and tick killers, and god only knows what chemicals were in the shampoos that were needed to keep their coats bright and white. :roll:
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cynthia_h
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Nordo, no harm, no foul.

You haven't harmed any earthworms or compost organisms simply by bringing this treasure home.

Leave it to compost by itself. Maybe add some greens/browns which would otherwise go to your (established?) compost, just for variety. But even this isn't necessary.

Ensure that the pile stays moist by periodic applications of water and that it's forked occasionally to maintain oxygenated (= aerobic) conditions.

You'll be really pleased with it in a few months. :)

If it attracts worms and composting organisms, well, then: they knew the job was dangerous when they signed up for it! :lol:

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applestar
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Nordo, I'm sorry -- I realize my post was less than encouraging... but I did want to give you a heads-up about possible downsides.

I'm not entirely sure about how well the composting process will neutralize. Hopefully others more well versed in the science behind composting will respond. This question *may* be better served in the Compost Forum.

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rainbowgardener
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chemicals in the horse manure

You might want to post that question under composting. I don't know the specific answer re specific chemicals, but the general answer is yes, a whole lot of chemicals will break down over the time the pile is sitting there, through the action of sun, air, water, and all the biologicals in the pile. These days composting is being used as a way to get rid of pollutants.

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stella1751
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Consider asking the friendly owner when the horses were last dewormed. He will have noted this on his maintenance calendar. I had mine on an every six-week schedule. Show horses probably are on every four weeks. If they don't deworm with the daily stuff and if the horses were dewormed over a week (maybe less) before you picked up the manure, you are probably safe. You will worry less if you know :-)

BTW, some horse owners do only a fall and a spring deworming.
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Nordo
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Thanks everyone for all the help. :D

I rang the stable owner and the horses were wormed two weeks ago. She said the worming medicine had a withholding period of two weeks, but I don't know if that would change matters regarding the effect of the chemicals on the garden.

As some of you have suggested, I will raise this in the Composting forum.

Thanks again. :lol:

bcomplx
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It's not the worming medicine that will hurt you, but herbicide residues from weed killers used in pastures -- or in hay fields. If your stable says they are sure their horse's food was clean of aminopyralid, then you're okay, but this is a growing problem.

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Sage Hermit
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Great I have the same thing my neoghbors have 6 horses and the go all over the fields on my property. I was wondering how I could use it. Thanks for the feedback mods.
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

khrissy
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I have used horse and cow manure for thep past 30 years and I fill the garden beds up with fresh manure and it breaks doen while growing veges etc... the manure does not burn the plants and the worms make short work turning it all into compost. the sawdust takes a lot longer to breaK down but it soaks up spare water and releases it when needed, so go for it :roll:

khrissy
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Morning Light
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Sage Hermit wrote:Great I have the same thing my neoghbors have 6 horses and the go all over the fields on my property. I was wondering how I could use it. Thanks for the feedback mods.
My friend has a pasture with three horses. I get the manure by the bucketful and turn it into the beds that are currently being overhauled; the bed is prepped with the manure and left for a whole season before any plants are put in.

The bottom of the composter gets filled to 2 inches with manure after it has been emptied of the previous season's compost; the composter is then filled over a season with garden waste and kitchen scraps and left to its own devices over winter. With an occasional turn of the composting material, this works well, if you are willing to do a slow compost; the process takes about 15 months (including a long, frozen nap during winter) from the time the manure goes in to the composter until the compost is suitable for the garden.

As another poster has said, you can just leave it in a pile on your property until it is done. However, with a smaller lot I've found it to be a waste of useful garden space.

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thanrose
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khrissy wrote:I have used horse and cow manure for thep past 30 years and I fill the garden beds up with fresh manure and it breaks doen while growing veges etc... the manure does not burn the plants and the worms make short work turning it all into compost. the sawdust takes a lot longer to breaK down but it soaks up spare water and releases it when needed, so go for it :roll:

khrissy
I don't have your years of experience, Khrissy, but agree with you.

I'd get mostly horse manure, but some cow too, fresh from mucking out the stables down the road and add as much of it as I wanted to my plantings, including many of the edibles. The oats in the feed might sprout, but it's too hot where I live for oats to thrive. As far as I was concerned it just became more green manure, like a cover crop.

The Helpful Gardener
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Chemicals in manure is a real issue, to be sure. Animal husbandry is still in the age of better living through chemicals, and worming is just one of many issues that are "solved using pesticides. I know my sourcing well; one of my guys is USDA registered organic and the other uses drugs in curative dosing, not preventative. I feel pretty comfortable about both.

Do your homework, though. At least ask the questions. Are these animals medicated? With what?

From [url=https://www.amazon.com/compost-tea-brewing-manual/dp/B0006S6JVK]Dr. Ingham's Compost Tea Manual[/url]... from the section on manure tea...
Antibiotics used in the animal feed are soluble and so normally extracted into the water and can cause significant trouble for microorganisms in the liquid extract.
But manure ain't compost, it's manure. Composting has been shown to [url=https://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/05/HOGD3PJOUT1.DTL]break down antiobiotics[/url], but pesticides are sterner stuff. Take B's aminopyralid (an herbicide often ingested by livestock). My understanding of chems is very weak but these [url=https://scienceblogs.com/moleculeoftheday/2008/06/aminopyralid_you_got_herbicide.php]geeks seem pretty freaked out[/url]by it's persistence in the environment. When science heads who do know chemistry say things Like "This is scary", then I'm scared too. :shock:

The most commonly used wormer, [url=https://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC42017]Ivermectin[/url] (used by humans, dogs, cats, livestock for worms, lice, scabies, and more) is an isolate from a naturally occuring soil bacteria, [url=https://www.ebi.ac.uk/2can/genomes/bacteria/Streptomyces_avermitilis.html]Streptomycetes avermitilis[/url], the source of many antibiotics, so likely that one is not a toxic issue for us, but there are indications that [url=https://www.springerlink.com/content/387363451x5k227w/]Ivermectin treated manures break down slower and have reduced biologies[/url]. Not what we have in mind when we compost... but organic... :?:

You decide...

So ask...

HG
Scott Reil

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Morning Light
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Great question about how long Invermectin is active. Certainly not one I considered when working with horse manure.

IN PEOPLE, Invermectin peaks in the blood stream 4 hours after being taken. It has a half-life of 3-4 days and it is excreted in stool in humans over 12 days.

The kicker is that it is active for up to 12 months, but in very small amounts.

It makes me wonder about horses. If they are treated every two weeks they might be excreting Invermectin in manure all the time if it takes more than a week to excrete it all.

Guess the manure I get from my friend will have to sit by itself for at least a year before thinking about putting it on the garden.

It's always something, isn't it????

Emma
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"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." -- Aristotle

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applestar
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I *think* the usual dosing schedule is 6~8 weeks, and good horse people rotate wormers. On the other hand, there are there are "multi" kind of wormers too, as well as the systemic kind that somebody mentioned and the kind that already comes in the feed or added as supplement to feed, so are taken daily.... :roll:

By the way, one of the "natural" alternatives for gastro-intestinal kind (as opposed to the inter/intra-muscular kind) of worms is feeding Diatomaceous Earth, another is feeding Bentonite clay. Proponents of the clay say that clay is "live" biological supplement while DE is "dead" (skeletons, really). In either case, I thought that was kind of neat. 8)

The Helpful Gardener
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Even neater is that [url=https://jinrui.zool.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ChimpHome/Mahale/MedPlant.html]some animals figure the trick out for themselves[/url]...organically, of course... :lol:

We could learn a thing or two from the cousins... 8)

HG
Scott Reil

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Gary350
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Compost it for about 3 years before you use it.

I use to get the same stuff free most people give it away free to get it hauled away for free.

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Morning Light
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:.........

We could learn a thing or two from the cousins... 8)

HG
We could. We could!!

Emma
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"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." -- Aristotle

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