Okay, so how many times a day does the average 1,000 pound horse poop? According to the UMass Extension Center for Agriculture, it’s between four and 13 times, depositing approximately 35 pounds of manure. Add to that 6-10 gallons of urine and you’re looking at 50 pounds of waste per day!
Reading that study made me very, very glad that our horses now live outside. In fact, unless it’s very hot or rainy, we don’t put shavings in the stall any more. Just as well because soiled bedding is heavy, adding another 15-20 pounds of waste. I guess that every time we clean stalls we should look at it as a workout instead.
No matter where you pick it up, the sheer amount is staggering — each horse produces about 9 tons of manure per year and 3.5 tons of urine. If you add in bedding, you can count on moving 12 to 14 tons of waste per stall. That’s a pretty good reason to encourage them to use the great outdoors.
Certainly it’s a sisyphean task to keep our pastures clean. Every time I go to the barn I remove at least one wheelbarrow of waste, sometimes two. And yet every day when I return it looks as if I were never there.