horse compose

Hi, I'm starting my garden and my neighbors have horses.
Does horse manure make a good compost for the garden? Are there any special steps I should take before using it? Is it possible to use too much? I have really bad soil where almost nothing grows.
I located in the high desert of Az, 5500ft. Al
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Compost well before using. I got a lot of weeds using fresh horse manure once. Steve

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That's probably because horses have simple stomachs; they get to chew their fodder only once, and have a one-stage digestive system. Ruminants chew twice, therefore more finely, and food spends much more time in the acid environment of the stomach, all of which is likely to break up seeds machanically and destroy them chemically.

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Stan Goodman
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It can be seriously stale and broken down, and some grass seeds will still come through. I've found you don't want even the most composted horse manure IF the horse was fed bermuda grass hay -- unless the object is to start a new bermuda grass lawn!!
~REZ~
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snipped-for-privacy@redilynx.com writes:

What I've used in the past was well composted before I got it so I didn't have problems with weeds, etc., but did get *lots* of earthworms! That was absolutely 1-A.
Today, I received some good advice from someone who knows. With reasonably fresh manure, put it in the chicken pen area, let the chickens pick out all the seeds, worms, etc., then put it in the compost bin/area, then to the garden in the spring/whenever. That way, there are no weeds coming with it.
Bovine manure shouldn't have that problem since the grass/hay goes through a more involved digestive process.
Glenna
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snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote:

The soil here has a natural earthworm population of -- NONE. I've managed to get some going in areas where I've added tons of organics (worms need food, ya know).

I once read that about 75% of the average chicken's diet is -- chicken manure. Which is exceedingly high in urea (hence the high nitrogen component for our gardens :) Chicken manure is sold by big farms for use in livestock feed (cattle can use the urea to produce protein).

Haha, depends what they eat. I've seen plenty of weeds come from cow manure. Horses simply won't eat weedy hay the way ruminants will, so your major problem with horse manure is usually grass seeds.
I suspect that a lot of the blame for "weed seeds in manure" comes from the fact that weeds are seldom cleared away from the fringes of manure piles, so are constantly seeding INTO the manure pile... especially around the edges, where folk with a shovel and a pickup truck are most likely to get their compost.
~REZ~
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wrote:

Yes, horse manure is excellent. As others have mentioned, it does tend to carry weed seeds unless thoroughly composted.
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Thanks for the replys. Now I have to get my pickup working and start hauling. Al
Alpinekid wrote:

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You can get some of the benefit of horse manure without the weeds by making manure tea.
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What everyone failed to mention to you in regards to horse manure :
If the horse's have recently been wormed, the manure will also kill any worms you have in the garden if applied directly. Check with your neighbour when they wormed their horses last. If recently, use the manure, but only in a heated compost pile, not directly onto the garden.
To get your compost to heat up : Add a equal mixture of manure, dry leaves straw etc, green manure such as grass clippings, water well and cover with something. (plastic/paper/cardboard etc)
Kirsty

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grass and leaves uncovered (even these days of relentless rain around here) get hot just fine, no need to add manure. In fact, I usually find that grass clippings kill their own seeds.
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