The Scoop on Poop: Readers' Manure Management Tips

More than 1,350 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "How do you or your boarding facility manage manure?"

results of poll on manure management

Results were as follows: 
  • Spread in the fields:   49.88% (1,017)
  • Compost:    43.50% (887)
  • Sell it or give it away for fertilizer:   23.15% (472)
  • It’s taken away:   18.29% (373)
  • Let the chips lie where they fall:   8.73% (178)
  • I don't know:   0.34% (7)

Readers shared what they do for manure management in the comments below.

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  • It's picked up and used as fuel.
  • I compost our pile by turning on a regular basis. It is then offered to anyone who wants it.
  • We rotor some into the field, some goes into our garden compost & some is given away
  • we pile it turn it and give it away
  • Dry lot is cleaned daily, pastures are harrowed weekly.
  • spread on non-hay crop fields(beans,corn, etc) when fallow
  • 20 horse compost + 1 year = yummy vegies, fruits, flowers for everyone at the barn
  • I never have more than a week
  • manure with bedding is taken away and composted some is spread on fields
  • Not a fan of having it spread close to the barn
  • Personally, I prefer composting, but the boarding stable spreads along the property line
  • I let them lay for two weeks, then harrow the turnout area
  • given away to avid gardeners and kept for use on the farm
  • We are spreading it on a 2 km. eventing track to soften footing.
  • stalls are cleaned and disposed of. pasture droppings are spread on pasture - but we don't board .
  • in a container
  • 1/2 acre and six horses.I rake & spread it evenly across the other half of our property every week.
  • we pile it into large compost piles out in some fields, and water ans grade it into our X-C course
  • a gardening company picks it up for composting garden
  • It's disgusting....
  • Mostly leave it to the dung beetles, some is moved to fill in low spots.
  • I dump it about 1,000 feet away in a field that has no horses on it. My neighbors use it as needed.
  • We have 3 horses and use the waste @ home
  • Why don't we use the co2 and the methane gas that is given of a manure pile to heat our buildings?
  • 80-horse stable collects for truck to haul away in container every 2 weeks.
  • I also spread the shavings on my trails around the farm
  • piles removed from pasture and mowed with rotary mower on tractor
  • Cost to take away just tripled.
  • We compost all of our Manure and then sell or give it away Most of the time it takes one to two
  • We pay our neighbor to spread on her 7 acres, so we can keep our fields clean.
  • Put it on my garden all winter than plow under.Had best garden in the community this summer
  • A new subdivision shows up every spring to take all the composted piles away and pays very well
  • We have an manurespreader under a roof, where we put the manure on and a farmer take it all 14 days
  • It's hard to find anyone to take it for free!
  • Each week a waste removal service comes and the collected barn waste and manure.
  • The compost we keep is used for various areas of our farm's yard and flower gardens.
  • a local farm from me takes it, and uses it for fertilizer, I don't have shavings in it, just hay
  • I spread it in one of my pasture. Then I mow it with my riding lawn mower and then let it dry before
  • IIf it's a grain mix he's on then the birds/ducks help to break it down! this is when it's spread
  • spread in the arena, actually
  • With the high cost of fertilizer, we will be spreading more. We dump manure in field before plowing.
  • horses are in big winter lots, and what piles up around mangers gets scraped & piled away
  • I am a boarder, the manure is composted then every boarder has access for gardens at home, also loca
  • We compost it first, then use it in the garden.
  • I have 20 ac so I compost on my property then use/give away
  • I spread it over the vast amount of desert dirt i have in my arena. it works great! $ soft landings
  • It is thrown over a bank and then after time shovled out from the bottom by neighbors and self.
  • The barn owner takes it to a near by farmer and they use it on their crops.
  • All manure from the barn is spread in fields. Manuare in pastures stays where it falls.
  • Our manure is taken and turned into topsoil by our landfill.
  • I spread it on pasture that won't be used until next year. Don't clean manure in fields used now.
  • We pick clean the area the horses concentrate in twice daily and compost and spread some in pasture.
  • We compost, then either spread in fields or used in the garden(s).
  • WE PUT IT ON AREAS OF OUR LAND THAT WASH-IT FILLS IN THE GROUND-GRASS WILL GROW NOW IN THOSE PLACES
  • I put manure directly into a dump trailer
  • most is piled and later spread in the garden or given away, left overs are spread in the pastures
  • Manure is spread on resting fields while horses are turned out on other fields to graze.
  • WE will start using fly predators this coming spring.
  • I have a bogg land at the bottom of my paddock I have created asmall square muck heap on a corner
  • It's spread in the woods, we have unused woodlands
  • manure is piled for 1 yr minimum then spread on fields as fertilizer
  • Don't use stalls. Manure is spread at intervals by using a spike tooth harrow. Pastures are rotated.
  • I compost and spread in the fields as well as running a rake over whats already in the field.
  • I clean the dry lot every day and spread it on the pasture that's not being used.
  • local farmers use it
  • Taken offsite to farmer's field every day-no manure piles-fewer flies
  • spread over worn out ground as mulch
  • I also have a huge garbage can of "poop soup". it's great for fertilizing plants and bushes.
  • on small acreage, and part of the year I spread it, the other part it's hauled off
  • I compost what comes from the barn, drag the harrow in the field.
  • 2 horses, 3 acres, slight slope with creek on bottom. Heavy rain is like a big flush-all is clean an
  • Our disposal company picks up the manure from a special container and hauls it away
  • We haul our manure and pay to dump it at a lawn and garden compost company.
  • Facility with 45 horses where the manure is taken away to a company who composts it.
  • We are fortunate to have farmers who get our manure pile and then compost it for their ground.
  • Local organic farmers love it!
  • Spread it on the trails and roads
  • only 4 horses, we burn it but we're looking for a better way
  • It composts until fine and black and then it is spread on the fields.
  • I put it in a pail about 200 feet from the barn and use it the next year for the garden
  • We truck our manure monthly to a local farmer who adds it to his manure pile & spreads it on fields
  • I lease a 15 yd. manure bin that is emptied by a company once or twice a month.
  • Healthy colony of red wigglers
  • bag for gardeners in exchange for veggies
  • I mulch it with my mower
  • we usually just put in the garden for fertilizer but sometimes we break it up with a special tool.
  • We compost all the manure for a large vegetable garden
  • I would like to compost, package and sell, but due to limited space having it hauled away is answer.
  • Where I board they let the compost build up and then spread it in the pastures and give it away.
  • spread in field to dry; have tilled into soil twice/year
  • I have 22 acres adjoining 15 acre horse pasture where I haul it, then compost.
  • By City Sanitation
  • would love to know more about managing manure
  • neighbors fight over it for gardens, rose bushes, flowers and even their yards in the spring
  • I know someone who is a worm farmer that takes the manure. He sells red worms and their castings.
  • Manure & sawdust are composted in covered bins, moved once, then spread on pastures not in use
  • pasture's really green and the horses are really parasitized! next summer, it's going in one spot.
  • Horses at home, clean twice daily, husband loads dumpster w/tractor, & manure is hauled off weekly.
  • we keep them on large pastures
  • spread manure perimeter of a 2 acre parcel made a track to pony babies on
  • We use it as compost and we spread it in the fields.
  • cover dirt around the orchard, good for preventing frost bite
  • Spread to help dry. We also put it in the arena dirt to work as a way to keep the clay from forming
  • Rototill it in garden (best gardens!) & bank it around base of trees along property edge.
  • We have a large dumpster. We have three horses, so it gets dumped approx once a month.
  • My horses are always on pasture. They have their roughs. It's spread out through the hay fields.
  • We use paper shavings which compost very quickly, whether in a pile
  • We spread on our own land or a neighbor's land who wants as much manure as we can provide
  • when living in subburbs had to haul away, now in county and az heat and wind does the job
  • I spread poop thinly in pastures and use the wet (sawdust) part for trails and riding areas
  • I can't sell enough to meet demand
  • We use a combination of spreading and stock piling during winter.
  • put in arena to improve the HARD clay footing
  • Spread after composted
  • use as fertilizer on garden after a year of composting
  • compost then use it in gardens and spread over the fields as well as my yard
  • I would like to think we are composting but do not know for sure.
  • I make a fresh pile every month, allow it to compost. then spread it on the pasture or give it away
  • Some we give away for gardners, spread some on pastures and use for compost in spring, gardening.
  • cleaned daily and hauled away weekly
  • This is the chepest fert. you can get along with cond. the feilds
  • Barn takes manure from barn area & moves it 100 ft away & it stays until landscaper uses it.
  • We spread it twice a year on neighboring farmland.
  • some years we spread it and some years our neighbor uses it for his truck garden.
  • pasture manure stays put; barn/paddock pile gets shared by me and neighbors for organic gardens
  • SPREAD IN ARENA
  • Our compost pile dates to the 40s. Our barn manager will load our p/u trucks for garden use!
  • I also compost some in a sunny spot and in the spring plant a couple of tomato plants on it!
  • we also rotate pastures, and let the "chips" decompose naturally Ours is removed to a worm farm.
  • This stable's approach is to hide the manure in low areas between hillocks---not eco-friendly.
  • compost it then spread the compost on the pastues
  • we have a walker and we put the manure around it and the horses walk it down.
  • gardeners love the old stuff from my herbivours!
  • Recycled for organic gardening
  • Trade with crop farmer for bobcat work.
  • have dumpster drop and haul to landfill
  • we also spread it on the trails leading into the woods.
  • Load it in cart and take it to the woods to dump
  • Also spread some on my dirt road to my barn
  • burn it and then spread it
  • my boarding place spreads on the fields horses are on every day. not the best thing
  • As the pile composts, it grows smaller. I add some to my vegetable gardens for the best tomatoes!
  • Horses out 24/7 I do pooper scooper patrol every morning out in the fields and compost it for my veg
  • We let it dry, then spread using a newer spreader what a great product
  • Couldn't give it away a couple of years ago, now organic farmers take what I don't use myself
  • Neighbor uses all I provide
  • daily removal and spreading. All horses MUST be on a dewormer program.
  • I spread the paddocks and remove from run ins
  • A lot of it is spread on dirt farm roads for good footing.
  • I dislike this method of manure management; but I'm a boarder and can do nothing about it.
  • have a dumpster
  • We have a dumpster with a home made ram and the manure is taken away weekly
  • we have unlimited green bins and for now we use four each week.
  • run in cleaned up and composted, but piles in field stay there
  • LAEC composts it for fertilizer. It's a rather large pile
  • We left 6 feet around the outside of our pasture just for spreading
  • We compost the barn manure and then spread it. We drag the pastures regularly to break down chips
  • City picks it up for composting
  • 4 words: Big, Ugly, Manure pile. Add Mountainous and Smelly to that too.
  • Spread in fallow fields leaving 6 mos to break down.
  • My horse is on an acre and a half but we own six so we just fling the manure all over the 6 acres.
  • wild turkeys prove to be the best 'spreaders' in my pasture
  • My old barn used to spread it in the fields. It was awful for the horses.
  • I dump manure off an out of the way ledge and have added 10,000 red worms to help compost it.
  • We compost, then have it taken away to spread on hay fields.
  • We make a large compost pile for us, give away rest to friends for same.
  • Once a year I have someone haul it off
  • we spread 2x a year in neighbors fields, people come get it for gardens also
  • draging your field is the most easiest and efficient way to mannage such an up-keep.
  • Organic farmer plants carrots eaten by the horses, producing more manure for growing carrots.
  • after 2 years compost is spread in the fields
  • no clearing of pastures, but front paddock/run in cleared daily
  • Composted and then used in the garden, blueberry, strawberry and raspberry patches.
  • everyday i use my new spreader to spread all the manure.
  • We use a paddock cleaner, and then give it away to whoever wants it.
  • When the horses dig holes we fill the holes with manure, and they never dig in that spot again.
  • My gardening friends come to get it
  • I use compost worms, Eisenia Foetida, that recuces the amount of manure.
  • It has become a sucessful second business for the stable!
  • I rent a manure spreader from the local conservation district...very handy
  • WE have 5 acres so we spead in on th elast acre,1 horse and a mini ,its manageable.
  • it stays in the pastures, removed from the barn and composted We turn waste into something useful.
  • We collect manure daily, put it in a covered bin and finally spread on fields with a manure spreader
  • the chips in the field are periodically raked over to break up and spread
  • the facility where I board mainly leaves the manure in the pastures which end up very muddy
  • use it to turn into Bocacci, an organic fertilizer.
  • Landscape company takes away container full of manure monthly and brings an empty one to fill up.
  • use as compost and give away
  • corrals are cleaned every day and every thing is piled for later spreading, fields fields are not.
  • Manure is placed in a concrete floored bin with roof; turned with a tractor every 2 weeks or so.
  • pile it till the fall of each year
  • We have a wagon/spreader to dump in the neighboring orchards/properties
  • the manure is composted then spread in the blueberry fields.
  • My horses live at home. I spread and also compost the manure
  • No "other" box available; we spread it on the trails around 150 acre farm.
  • We have 2 acres set aside to spread it.
  • I spread it by hand in an unused pasture.
  • People line up for free manure, organic farming/neighbor also hauls away for his pasture
  • we fertilize our hay field with composted manure.
  • I have a service that comes about every 3 weeks and takes the horse manure away to a dump that proce
  • I have one horse on 8 acres and pick the manure out of his pasture at least once per week
  • harow in large fields and clean small paddocks
  • We compost manure/hay WITHOUT bedding (pine shavings), turn 5-6 times w/tractor. Excellent product!
  • The nice people from Waste Management empty my dumpster every week and take it away.
  • it gets thrown in the dumpster
  • By State law, manure mgmt act requires proper disposal of manure. Business plan updated every 2 yrs
  • Twice daily manure pick up and contained composting pile removed twice yearly.
  • Compost it for a two weeks and then spread in the pastures Every fall my neighbors put on their gardens
  • harrow
  • I don't board
  • manure collected from stalls are composted, manure in pasture is spread either by harrow or manualy
  • Neighbor takes away full wagon, brings it back empty. I don't ask any questions.
  • We put our manure in a dump trailer which is hauled to a nearby nursery & dumped
  • we have a newer spreader that we use on our fields
  • SPREAD ALONG MY FENCE LINES ONLY
  • We use a manure spreader. It works great!
  • Trash company pick up; supposed to recycle, but I doubt it does.
  • I spread my manure over the arena, we have very sandy soil, it disappears in no time.
  • Turned over and produces billons of worms,
  • The manauer we compost is used on our own garden for fertilizer as well
  • We have an organic Avocado ranch and need to let the manure sit for 6 months before spreading.
  • we stack it in a cememt box near a roadway for people to use for gardens
  • I have 2 donkies and compost all the manure. I'll offer it to community gardens.
  • we remove manure from pastures, put it in a pile behind the barn then move it to a pile in the woods
  • I compost for two horses and two ponies. We make more than enough for our gardens and neighbors.
  • I used to spread it but I am going to try composting and see if I can sell it to landscapers and nur
  • no room NOT to compost - it's best for the fields and water, etc...
  • I load the manure into large tubs and haul it to the dump.
  • we use manure on our gardens in the fall and give some to neighbors
  • We throw our in the garbage, since no one in our neigborhood wants it for their garden.
  • Spread around out hay fields to make a super galloping path!
  • I use the newer spreader and it takes care of any manure pile in no time flat.
  • The facility I boarded at put it in the riding arena. Over the years it got too deep.
  • manure sure beats unhealthy chemical cost
  • I fill in the holes in the paddocks that the horses dig then flatten down then the grass grows over.
  • advertise in local paper "free"
  • with a 10 stall barn, we empty the manure spreader 2x/week Use for erosion control
  • use mill sawdust (oak/pine)with the recycled hay it makes awesome compost/fertilizer
  • We take it to a farmer/landscaper who composts it
  • I live in the suburbs which provide "green" cans that is hauled away weekly.
  • drag pastures to break up
  • we spread, it dries, then we drag over it. It turns into powder and blows nutrients into the soil
  • 3 geldings on 5 acres, no real problem except around hay feeder. Kick it around to spred it out.
  • Dump it in a big pile , compost and put on our garden .
  • we compost all we can. What is taken away is composted and used on blueberries. We spread our compos
  • We compost piles monthly, then spread the oldest in unused paddocks
  • city ordinance requires weekly removal
  • The community comes and gets it for their gardens/orchards
  • Local dump happy to take it for the mulch pile
  • It is put in a dumpster and hauled off once a week. This really cuts down on the flies.
  • Occasionally burn it.
  • this way my muck is turned into beautiful sterile fertilizer for my fields.
  • It is getting out of hand. The owners need to move the pile before it takes over.
  • spread it on the trails surrounding the property
  • My neighbor come and get the manure for the flowers and gardens
  • spread in the spring, summer & fall, compost in winter
  • We live in an area that is VERY sandy and the soil quality is poor.
  • We spread the manure in the gard
  • All the manure from the stall is recycled by a large garden in the area
  • The barn man spreads it daily. weather permitting.
  • Compost pile for 2 years then spread on pastures
  • Muck the paddock and move manure to a pile in another field We try to compost manure for a year, then spread it.
  • We have a field just for the manure. It gets leveled out periodically.
  • From or around barn, put in burn pile otherwise leave it in the field
  • I use a manure spreader pulled by my tractor mower and spreak it in my 30 acres of pasture.
  • We put the manure around our trees, shrubs and driveway. I trucked away for composting. but they don't take ALL leading to fly prob. No leftovers=few flies.
  • Manually clean up pasture and then spread in back unusable pasture.
  • Keep multiple compost piles going so can spread when fully decomposed.
  • would love to compost but don't have the time to do it right
  • During the winter we also spread in the garden to be plowed under in the spring and on our "lawn".
  • piled,turned,composted,spread on pastures
  • 6 stalls so we compost & sell it by the truckload once it's been "aged"
  • use a section of land to drop it then go over it on a regular basis with a tiller to compost it
  • use it on my garden of flowers and veggie garden
  • not fields they're in.
  • paddocck & pastures are rakes, stall bedding is spread, most piles composted to give away
  • Spred and harrowed to dry and scatter
  • pay a manure hauling company that comes in 3 or 4 times a year.
  • I shovel it daily into my spreader and spead it on the pastures about once a month
  • We compost some but most is taken away
  • Harrow our field twice per year, pickup under shelters, give away free (load themselves)
  • my boarding facility has it's own place to dump manure.. :)
  • It's taken away and used for compost.
  • where ever they land in the pasture. :)
  • dumpster
  • Spread in fields unless it's too wet to drive tractor. Free compost to anyone.
  • Lots of Compost and free loading
  • In the high desert we're spreading it on an arena-sized sandy area for a better riding surface.
  • A bit stays for use. Have an agreement with nearby ag biz. They use it for compost. win/win
  • Makes nice black dirt for our own use.
  • Compost manure from stalls, leave pasture droppings alone, then run grader over once or twice a year
  • The owners of our barn do a terrific job of composting & us gardeners get to reap the benefits
  • My neighbor with no horses actually wants it for compost, yeh!
  • We rotate and drag unused fields and barn manure is taken away about once a week.
  • We sell it - $ 150 per load to mushroom growers. Straw only, one load a month.
  • dumped in the woods
  • Spread the piles with a rake.
  • Pay to have it hauled away
  • We let it lay in pastures and compost what comes out of stalls.
  • Placed in piles and burned
  • piled low in woods away from barn & mixed w/leaves from property clearing & fly preditors - awesome!
  • very poor manure management. huge piles of steaming manure sit infront of the barn. ugly.
  • I compost it and put in flower beds.
  • i need a spreader!!
  • We have 2 horses, pile manure 1-2 weeks and spread with small spreader in field
  • Our barn owners spreads the manure on riding paths. It keeps them from pitting and softer to ride on
  • I use some in compost pile and the rest goes in the dumpster & picked up every week
  • first we compost then we spread
  • compost in rows 4ft deep and 6ft wide for one year then use as fertilizer.
  • Farm owner composts it and gives it to organic gardeners.
  • on site composting & spread on fields
  • spread in the arena...very dry in AZ
  • Local farmer picks it up.
  • The Master Gardners organization is happpy to use it for public gardens
  • Actually I spread it with a Newer Spreader in my personal yard nice site
  • from stalls - spread in cow pasture, from horse pasture - it's left there
  • my compost is a pot of gold for my gardens!
  • Manure is piled; spread in sun; disked and spread in pasture.
  • we use straw and it decomposes quickly in the pile

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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