Composting Horse Manure

Asked November 2, 2016, 3:50 PM EDT

We live in South Salem and we have one horse on our property. While we try to figure where to setup our compost pile to avoid run-off issues and avoid bothering the neighbors we have been using a small dumpster and putting the manure and shavings into it for disposal - which is both a waste of resources and a contributor to climate change in the landfill. I have enjoyed having very few flies on the property, though. To keep flies down I would prefer all manure to leave the property and be composted elsewhere and wondered if there is somewhere close by that I could haul manure and pelleted/sawdust bedding to, prefereably for free? Alternately I have been researching manure pile options and am now considering building an enclosed pile covered with screening to reduce flies. if you are aware of another fly free manure pile approach I would be very interested in that as well.

Marion County Oregon

2 Responses

Have you contacted some of the area nurseries or businesses that sell compost? Quite often these businesses will come in and remove the manure and bedding for free. If the manure is free from any medications, the organic nurseries and farmers really like horse manure. That would be a place to start.
Have you heard of "fly predators"? They are small bugs that eat the fly larvae in the horse manure. You place the fly predators around the property where the horse resides, whether a corral or pasture, and they do their job. We use these predators at the OSU Horse Center. Several years ago I wanted to see if they really made that much of a difference and oh, yes, they do. I couldn't stand the number of flies the spring we didn't use the predators. The Horse Center houses 15-30 horses, depending upon the time of year.
I am not familiar with using the screening. Once the manure begins to compost the fly population usually reduces. I will do some more research and be in contact.

Hi Dawn,
Thanks for your quick response and sorry for my slow thank you. I will definitely contact the local nurseries. If those don't pan out and I end up with a manure pile I'll get the fly predators and build a screened manure pile. It shouldn't be too tough. I already use a wood framed screen over the manure bucket in the barn and with only one or two horses, to create a manure pile with walls on three sides and framed screens over the top and side. If it works out I'll definitely let you know and send the plan.
Best Regards, Dave