Winter Manure and Composting

A poo.. If you have farm critters you have poo.. if you have bigger critters, you have lots of Manure Piles! My two horse’s alone produce around a hundred pounds of poo a day.

 

Lets break it down a bit.. Now I am rounding up and down to full pounds and I have things on averages.. It will give a good overall look.

My Critters average daily output right now

  • Horse’s- 100 pounds per day
  • Fowl -11 pounds per day
  • Sheep/Goat – 52 pounds per day
  • Pig- 15 pounds per day
  • Rabbits- 5 pounds per day

So on average (not including cats or dogs) my farm critters produce 183 pounds of poo per day, and that’s before you add in bedding.. They will use 1600 pounds of bedding over three months.. It would be more but I try hard to use waste hay as fowl bedding.

So in a month’s worth of poo on the farm right now.. 5, 370..

I am not even going to move things forward because soon there will be lambs, kids, chicks and more rabbit kits.. all the babies that grow up to be moved into freezer camp and to feeding us over the year will all increase the poo production over the growing season.

Right now however I am only talking about the over winter critters and their 5, 000 plus pounds of poo per month.. That’s approx 22 000 pounds over the hard frozen four months of our winter..

There is no outside composting in those hard frozen winter months.

I do use deep pack method in some pens so that does help to a point but overall.. That manure is just sitting there, waiting to be moved, waiting to be piled up, waiting for spring thaw and warm to be added in to help make it active, waiting for the warmth of the spring sun to help warm it up.

By spring, not only will we need to move a good portion of that out of the big barn and the croft but we will need to pile it to compost for garden use and at the same time, spread it over the pastures to rot down for feeding the soil and to prevent the larger piles from preventing the plants from growing up though it.

So often I look at the winter manure piles an pens and groan, the work must be done.. but it’s not a favorite thing..  O, I love it when I need it for my gardens.. I adore saying to hubby, I want x amount from the old pile, the 3 year pile the 2 year or the 1 year.. saying crazy things like.. Get me fowl compost or rabbit compost or pig pen pile compost or goat/sheep compost or horse blend..

Each critters poo and therefore their compost has its own balances and certain types and blends work better for certain plants in the gardens.. this flexibility only comes with years of working these compost piles and from understanding that it should be not all just piled together and considered one but instead respected as their own.

This year however I am looking forward to it, I am looking forward to creating a couple mix blended large compost piles and working them hard this year to get them heated up and working hard and fast as soon as possible this spring as I want that compost for feeding out into the yard for all the new plantings that will be happening.

The second reason I am excited about all that manure and bedding.. the workout.. It will go along way to giving me my daily full body workouts to get in shape for the spring garden work and planting sessions.

When you are looking at the returns on your homestead, remembering to include your finished compost is well worth it.. you can sell compost at the end of the farm gate in 40 pound used feed bags for a pretty penny.

However only consider doing that after you have meet your own garden needs..

Also for those that are in cold climates, manures can and should be used to create spring hot box’s and for those that are building new raised beds, this type of bedding is your good friend for filling the bottom half or even 3/4th way up with soil on top.. yes you will need to add more soil as it composts down but it will be so worth it.

I will be writing more detailed posts on compost and the garden because you can overdue a good thing!  Some manure and composts are more cold composts and some really! need to be hot composted and more fully composted 🙂

So have you done your math? How much manure is your little homestead producing monthly right now in winter?

 

 

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2 Responses to Winter Manure and Composting

  1. That’s a lot of poo – or black gold.

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