Worms eat horse manure! This is potentially very good news for every horse owner. Horses are amongst
the favorite domesticated animals of people all over the world.
Horses give great joy and excitement to those who ride them and those who watch them. One of the problems
that all horse owners face is the fact that horses
are big animals that produce a lot of waste.
A fully grown horse produces between 9 and 12 metric tons of feces per year. That is a lot of waste to deal with.
Now taking into account that many horse riding schools, Race horse stables and mounted police units have not just one but rather 20, 30, 50 or more than 100 horses to maintain it is obvious that the waste that the animals produce is a challenge that has to be handled one way or another.
A Racehorse getting ready for a race
Apart from becoming quite a physical effort to remove the horse manure and possibly dump it on landfill sites it will be quite costly to dispose of those large amounts of waste.
Compost worms can be the answer to solve those problems.
This way the horse waste can be recycled on the premises and the finished product is commercially valuable and can be used to improve the soil and plant life or sold for profit.
The way to do this is quite simple.
To start to recycle manure you will need at least an area of 2 meter / 6.5 feet width and 5 meter / 14.25 feet length.
This can be just a plain open area on a field. It would be a good idea to have the option of extending the composting area if needed.
Do not add worms to manure that is hot as this could be potentially lethal for compost worms.
If you want you can use a piece of land that is fenced in but this is not essential for the success of the process.
Before you add the horse waste to the recycling area it is advisable to rinse it well to give it the needed moisture levels.
Place the horse droppings or other manure in a
woven bag or big bucket with drainage holes in a concrete basin or on an open piece of ground and wash and
rinse it with a hosepipe or a few buckets of water.It will be just fine if a little water starts to run out at the bottom of the bag or bucket.
Let the manure drain for a few minutes.
Once liquids stop dripping out of the bag / bucket the manure should have the perfect moisture level and be ready to be added to your worm composting area.
Place it evenly over the area up to a height of about 40 cm and let it stand for at least 24 hours. Should the manure heat up due to the bacteria initiating the decomposing process wait for another 3 to 4 days before you add worms.
Freshly harvested worm castings
Place 1000 compost worms for every 2 meter square / 20 square feet on top of the manure. The worms will quickly dig down and start feeding on the horse manure.
Compost worms moving down into their worm bed
The worms are prolific breeders and will multiply rapidly.
It is a good practice to cover the surface of the composting area with a sheet of opaque plastic.
This will help to keep the moisture level of the manure high.
The volume of your manure pile will regularly be reduced through the constant conversion of manure into much finer worm castings.
Keep feeding the worms regularly for several months.
When your compost area is higher than 1.2 meter / 4 feet you should add manure to its sides to enlarge the feeding area for your worms.
The best time to harvest your worm castings is usually during spring.
The worms need moderate temperatures to survive.Note: Never feed manure to your compost worms from horses that have been treated against worms. Wait for 48 hours before you feed the worms again!
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