Horse in compost pile?

Hi have a large collection of leaves in which I have mixed lime, cow manure and green waste but I have more leaves than anything. I can get all the horse manure I want, sawdust bedding. Does anyone have any experience with horse in compost?
TIA
John
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John Bachman wrote:

depends a bit on how often the bedding is changed. If it's changed frequently, it's high in carbon. If not, the nitrogen will be enough to compost it on its own. Most horse owners change it frequently, so you will have to add a nitrogen source to get it to compost quickly. If you don't it will still compost, but it won't get hot enough to break down quickly and kill weed seeds. Horses' digestion is much different than cows'. Horses are basically shredders, and the form of the input is visible in the output. Cows do more processing.
The same comment applies to "more leaves than anything". Cow manure has a fair amount of nitrogen for composting. The lime probably doesn't add anything useful. Compost tends toward neutral pH, even if you start with oak leaves and pine needles.
If you want a hot pile, throw on some fertilizer.
If the sawdust bedding isn't completely broken down by the time you spread it on your garden it will tie up available nitrogen while it breaks down some more.
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Are you hot composting? If you arent, the main difference between cow and horse manures is the way each animal digests food (as the poster above me has said). Why this may be a problem is because of weed seeds. People who use it say the they have few problems with weeds and are easily able to pull them if present. Ask the horse owner what the horses eat.
As far as sawdust, hot composting will solve that problem.
Fito
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I would urge you to find out if the horses are being fed alfalfa hay, or coastal bermuda hay. You want manure which has alfalfa digested. Bermuda most likely has picloram, a rather persistent herbicide which will cause problems with members of the nightshade family...as well as other families of plants.
The measure I've used over the years is 10% nitrogen to 90% carbon. It's enough to heat the pile and cook the weed seeds, but with manure it is always best (IMO) to turn it and allow the compost to cook about 5 times after turning to get rid of weed seeds.
The upside of all the urine and manure in the bedding is that it activates actinomycetes, a fungus which aids in the decomposition process and is very desirable for most soil.
Victoria

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Just to add my 2 cents. I would only use horse stable cleanings if they had already gone through the heat and are black looking. If you start adding fresh horse stable cleanings to your compost pile on your property, you'll introduce more weeds than you ever care to have.
Following those rules, I've hauled many loads of "black gold" horse stable cleanings and put on my garden, and they all had hundreds of earthworms running all through them. That's when you know you have good horse stable cleanings.
Tom J
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had
Tom, can you please describe the area where you got your manure? I also have an unlimited supply and havent seen any worms. I get mine from a "mountain" that steams when I poke through it.
Fito
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The stable where I get mine has a pile that is about a hundred feet long and up to a twenty feet deep in places. I go around to the back side where nobody else goes, and get the stuff that is 2 or 3 years old, or more. Beside the worms, I never have to worry about live seeds.
Tom J
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they
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nobody
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they
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earthworms
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nobody
Amazing. Even bigger than my pile. I didnt see any worms though. Will check ths weekend. If only the stable owner wouldnt make it so hard to drive up to the pile. As cold as it it is here in NYC I am thinking of dropping a few worms in my pile to speed up the decompositoon rate. Thanks.
Fito
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Worms help, but what breaks compost down are micro organisms, proper moisture to support them, and a good ratio of nitrogenous material and carbon material (leaves for example).
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Does anyone have

Seems like it might take up quite a lot of room........and would probably prefer a stable :-)
pam - gardengal
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Pam - gardengal wrote:

When I was able to get chicken, I used to mix it with horse in my compost pile. Two horses to one chicken (by volume).
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On Thu, 20 Nov 2003 00:02:44 GMT, "Pam - gardengal"

My thoughts exactly. Not to mention the smell as it decays. :-)
I *have* used semi-aged horse manure in the garden. It is excellent fertilizer, but tends to pass along a lot of weed seeds. Hot composting ought to improve this situation, depending on what the horses have been eating.
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Hi,
I have a large collection of leaves in which I have mixed lime, cow manure and green waste but I have more leaves than anything. I can get all the horse manure I want, sawdust bedding. Does anyone have any experience with horse in compost?
TIA
John
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John Bachman declared:

You might have a little trouble persuading a horse to stay in the heap....
--
You can't have it all....
Where would you put it anyway ??
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I used horse manure in my compost and it worked fine. You just may have weeds growing up when you spread it if there is not enough heat to kill the seeds that are in it. And of course you have to let it age enough so it won't burn your plants.
Trish K.

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I don't know what horses in the US are feed, but we always recon that Horse manure is cleaner than most manures as Horses tend not to eat seed heads, and the hay fed to them is of better quality than that feed to Cattle so has little or no weed seed in it. Also the straw used is also almost weed free, and if they are bedded on shavings or saw dust then that is weed free. Mushrooms are chiefly grown on Stable (horse) manure which is very rich in straw, and the resulting compost is just about 100% weed free. Could the weeds be because the soil fertility is improved from the manuring?
--
David Hill
Abacus nurseries
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Not here in the SE USA. Horses are fed hay that contains a large variety of seed, all the way from morning glory to wheat and rye, cockleburs and sandspurs. Like I said, for me, it has to be well aged to the point it's black and crumbles in the hand. In other words, it has to be fully composted when I pick it up at the stable, and they have plenty!!
Tom J
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No. Horses, when out in the pasture do not distinguish seeds from grasses. All grasses have seeds and horses indeed do eat them. They don't seek them out as a bird will do, but all grasses and forbes have seeds.
On Thu, 20 Nov 2003 22:52:26 -0000, "David Hill"

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I am in Michigan and I have alomst the same experience with horse manure that you have. Just the same I got semi-flamed a couple of times because many others find it to be seed-rich. My HM has sawdust bedding and the horses were certainly well treated, so that mayt have helped too. It is not totally seed-free, but the weeding effort is very modest. It is more difficult to weed my composted kitchen scraps, what with all the little tomatoes and watermelons growing through it.
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