Monday, September 14, 2009

Horsing Around with a Manure Spreader

Cleaning stalls is a dirty job - for the core muscles and as an upper body workout - there is nothing like it. (rolling eyes) However, I've got three horses and limited energy. Then there is the lovely issue of where all that bedding goes. Nobody really likes to have a manure pile, even though it's fabulous fertilizer, in the back yard. (Besides the chickens, rooster Sony is King of the Manure Pile.)

We solved it all last week - bought a 'newer' spreader - as in manure spreader, here is the link. If you have horses or any animal that requires bedding with daily/weekly changes - check this gizmo out.

It grinds up the manure and bedding, spits it on the grass in a thin coating, that looks like it will dry up and rot immediately. Its only been a couple of weeks, so I can't claim that manure is the miracle fertilizer that we needed to get rid of ragweed or any of the dead spots. Nor does the thin layer fill in the holes that make mowing a nightmare.

This manure spreader wasn't cheap at $900 - though the nearest thing I've seen locally cost $2.5k. The construction and assembly is in line with the price - I'm impressed so far. It's handy, I can move it empty to the stall, clean up, move it by hand to the next stall. Hook it to the mower and go spread the wealth. (G)

In fact, it chewed up the chicken bedding, a mix of straw, shredded paper, feathers and manure, as well as all the old manure pile, easily. I spent three days filling and spreading just to see if there was something that would clog it up. So far, I haven't found anything.

What impresses me the most - everything my animals eat and all the bedding has become fertilizer. The manure pile that was a dozen feet long and three feet high is a thing of the past. I bought a bag of grass seed to sprinkle on each load.

Disney didn't visit my pasture, darnnit, no overnight 'shazam' but hey, it's not a two or three hour chore any more. I don't have to trundle huge heavy loads of soiled bedding to the pile and wrestle them to the top, then dump the mess.

In my mind, the wheel barrow emptying was always the hardest part. Try it in 6 inches of mud, where the mud sucks your boots off. We'll see if my lawn mower can slog the winter-time mud any better.

Honestly, I can't imagine winter without a sprained back or pulled leg muscles from cleaning stalls. I've spent the greater part of the last ten winters nursing my back and despairing while the stalls become a horrendous nightmare.This winter, when Ned broke my toe, I was laid up four weeks. Can you imagine the mess?

Will I be able to clean stalls, fertilize and seed the pasture all winter without getting hurt? I don't know. Will I have time to find out? Oh yeah.

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