Muck Management

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
20,768
10,852
113
38
Suffolk, UK
How do you manage your muck? do you have just 1 muck heap, or several? close to the stables or further away? do you them spread it or have it collected?

I've had 1 pile for the last 2 years in the middle of the field in a blackberry bush :) but this summer the weeds got too tall and I couldn't get to it so I started putting it under the hedges in a couple of places, which is SO much easier but it doesn't rot down well, especially under the leylandii as it just doesn't get damp. So I was thinking about building a couple of boxes to put it in to rot, then spreading it eventually.
 

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
50,779
10,668
113
49
On an island
Oooh this thread is close to my heart atm! Our muck heap has gotten out of control. It started off okay and a year or so ago we had it shoved up and compacted and it looked good. But it's got silly because (bad me partially) I ended up using the part that I wasn't meant to. The idea was to have one half well on it's way to being rotted and the other next to it with a path in between. It's on my list for this week to contact our a guy who moves them - I'm going to get some taken away and some of it compacted and neatened up. The trouble is, that the darn thing is so easy to let get away. I use mainly straw - which allegedly rots faster than shavings - but it still does seem to take a long while.
Ours is fairly close to the byre and the cat barn - but at the mo, pushing the barrow is a nightmare - as I've let the mound get silly and Mr T needs to dig a path through it - and if we stick to that for a few days it will make life easier. I sometimes wonder how it ends up such a monster :oops: same thing happened at old house, despite having a fancy concreted fenced off area. Grrr. Life would be so much easier if we had a button to press inside the stables and the floor opened up swallowing all the crap......................:p:p
If you spread yours @Jessey will you wait until it's really rotted or not? I know a yard we were on spread it on fields they didn't use and it didn't look much rotted at all. I've never spread ours.
 

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
20,768
10,852
113
38
Suffolk, UK
I have tried spreading it to some extent without first rotting it down as the grass guy said I needed to increase the organic matter in the soil as it is so sandy, It hasn't really worked so I'm thinking I'm going to try rotting some first. My thought was to build perhaps three 3-bay compost areas, so I don't have to lug the poop too far and I can rot each bay down pretty well before spreading, but I'm not entirely sure if they are just going to stink and/or encourage flies to the areas so I'm still a bit undecided.

ETA I just thought, for your current predicament, years ago we had a huge muck heap that ran away from us and I found some compost accelerant in a garden center, sprinkled on it really did seem to expedite the rotting of bedding :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trewsers

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
50,779
10,668
113
49
On an island
I have tried spreading it to some extent without first rotting it down as the grass guy said I needed to increase the organic matter in the soil as it is so sandy, It hasn't really worked so I'm thinking I'm going to try rotting some first. My thought was to build perhaps three 3-bay compost areas, so I don't have to lug the poop too far and I can rot each bay down pretty well before spreading, but I'm not entirely sure if they are just going to stink and/or encourage flies to the areas so I'm still a bit undecided.

ETA I just thought, for your current predicament, years ago we had a huge muck heap that ran away from us and I found some compost accelerant in a garden center, sprinkled on it really did seem to expedite the rotting of bedding :)
Now that would be a good thing - it seems to take forever to rot.............................
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jessey

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
3,774
1,572
113
...la la land
When I was on the yard I tried various methods. I tried piling it up, which was lovely to start with but then the rabbits got on it every night and my square pile just got spread. I'd tidy it, they'd spread it out so I gave up keeping it tidy. Then when pile got too large I got my brother to come and move it with tractor and loader and take it to an arable farm, but Id cursed him as the pile was on the bank when he came to load it cut the field up, even in the dry. So I had wheel ruts to contend with.
I tried spreading a well rotted pile back on the field a couple of wheelbarrows a day and raking it in which did work but was alot of effort on my part. It must be well rotted. If only semi rotted I felt it was a waste of time poo picking the field in the first place as I'd find it stayed on the surface and made the ground stale. If it goes on well rotted it does go back into the soil much quickly and you dont get the stale bits.
I've also tried not poo picking and just hand racking the poos round on the field with a rack. But if you have a couple of horses who poop in the same area. You just get a build up on that patch, which is then stale grass. It's fine if you can do field rest and rotation but if you only have a small field poop removal is definitely a must.
Since the boys have been home I haven't done any poo picking. My plan was to chain harrow it in with chunky after I took them off each monthly grazing rotation. We need to put a bit of substance back on our banks as there isn't much top soil. I did some but too be honest as most of our fields are on steep banks I found chunky was struggling to pull the harrows on the banks. But I've got enough ground that I have been able to manage to rotate and just rest.
I do have a new little machine which I'm hoping to put the horse harrows behind so I might be able to use to spread some of the less steep areas, but I haven't got round to testing it out yet. I'm just not that brave driving across the banks. My brother was suppost to harrow the cow and sheep poos in on the hay field areas with the tractor and big harrows but he hasnt bothered the last two years. I can see me doing it with my little machine and the horse harrows soon.
The muck we have from the sheep sheds which is all straw and sheep and a bit of cow poop. I just muck out once a year before lambing and that just sits in a pile in the field for about two years. I haven't spread that on the fields for about 5 years. As the muck heap is near the yard at the top of the steep field we cant have anyone in with a muck spreader plus there isn't enough to warrant spreading by machinery. I did spread some by hand on the banks but it's so back braking I gave up. Weve just used it on our garden veg plot. I've also had friend ask for large trailer loads for her allotment and some of the other allotment holders see it and want for theres so we manage to get rid of what we produce.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trewsers and Jessey

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
20,768
10,852
113
38
Suffolk, UK
Ive only got a few acres, that's what I've found with spreading it too fresh, you end up with 'chaff' left on the surface. I was thinking the spreading by hand would be tough, I thought about using something to create 3 sided containment so that it rots properly and that could then removed from around it and the rotted pile just spread out from where it sits, then move it along a bit so it would gradually all get fertilised.
 

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
20,768
10,852
113
38
Suffolk, UK
I'm impatient as ever :D so last night I whacked up a simple compost bay, from pallets and baler twine, so that it can easily be removed once composted to aid spreading :)
70557933_10157530093362246_5206863151580053504_n.jpg
Its by the Hank hut and hay poles which is an area heavily used in winter in the hopes that poo picking will be super quick. It is the same spot where the poo wasn't rotting down because of the leylandii cover, but I'm hoping with it contained I can pretty easily keep it warm and damp with a simple carpet (yet to be acquired) cover :)
71171059_10157530093487246_7965105880809078784_n.jpg
It amused me that it is nearly as big as the Hank hut :D I don't know why
 

Toz

Active Member
Jul 14, 2019
166
78
28
40
For the stables I used to have a tractor muck shovel thing which I’d fill and it would get taken every few days but they got bored of that! So now stable muck gets piled up on a concrete pad til it no longer fits then the farm takes it to a main secret muck heap (I never actually know where it disappears too!) It gets spread when it’s well rotted. Not on grazing but arable land.
Shavings and wood based bedding is becoming an issue though as they no longer want to spread that.
Field wise I have a few small heaps dotted round. Some get moved some don’t.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jessey

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
3,774
1,572
113
...la la land
My only criticism is that I wouldn't put it near the hay feeding areas. But that's just me. Will you shovel the muck onto it as you've put string in front and cant tip wheelbarrow. A suggestion could you put some boards lower down in front to stop muck falling out back onto ground. Rabbits would have a field day left open at the front in my fields. Oh but then on second thoughts you couldnt push wheelbarrow up.
For me I'd fill that in about 4 days the about my two poop. Lol
Curious, Is that your ground now. Will that get muddy over winter or because its sand will it not get too bad.
 

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
20,768
10,852
113
38
Suffolk, UK
My only criticism is that I wouldn't put it near the hay feeding areas. But that's just me. Will you shovel the muck onto it as you've put string in front and cant tip wheelbarrow. A suggestion could you put some boards lower down in front to stop muck falling out back onto ground. Rabbits would have a field day left open at the front in my fields. Oh but then on second thoughts you couldnt push wheelbarrow up.
For me I'd fill that in about 4 days the about my two poop. Lol
Curious, Is that your ground now. Will that get muddy over winter or because its sand will it not get too bad.
I wrestled with weather or not to put it near the hay area, I don't want to encourage flies in their rest areas but equally that's where they poop most and if it's easy I can poo pick twice daily, talking to people if covered and rotting fast flies shouldn't be an issue so I decided to try it. It is positioned between the solid perimeter fence and the track perimeter electric fence but there is handles to disconnect it just a few feet to the right so won't be an issue for getting the barrow in but so far it's in just the right spot that I can launch poop directly into it :) I may possibly put boards in the front eventually, it's actually quite big, 6ft x 6ft so I hope won't fill too quickly and it isn't the sole place I will put muck :)

Yep that's our natural ground, and what happens if it's over used (friends horse came to stay for 2 weeks when they lost their grazing and they didn't get anywhere new for 5 months!) It gets wet but not 'muddy' as it drains fast being sand, it is nothing like being on muddy clay etc. Its a bit like sand on the beach, all deep and fluffy when it's dry and then packs down harder when it gets wet. I plan to reseed this area in the spring.
 

Huggy

Well-Known Member
Nov 11, 2018
1,047
986
113
63
Our muck heaps are dotted around the outside edge of the field, always have been. One in each of 3 corners. They've always just sort of sat there, but are more noticeable since Hogans arrival - he poos to Olympic standards! I'm told it's a cob thing.....
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jessey

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
50,779
10,668
113
49
On an island
@Jessey very neat and nice! I love your ground too - looks good. We have lots of grass and no mud, but it's very soggy. Our yard gets muddy just by default even though it's hardcore. I think I'd fill your muck heap up fast though :oops: ours are in competition for pooing.................
 

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
20,768
10,852
113
38
Suffolk, UK
@Jessey very neat and nice! I love your ground too - looks good. We have lots of grass and no mud, but it's very soggy. Our yard gets muddy just by default even though it's hardcore. I think I'd fill your muck heap up fast though :oops: ours are in competition for pooing.................
Jess poops for England, I pick up 1 - 1.5 barrow fulls a day from her alone, bare in mind I don't have any bedding going in there and poop will be spread between several piles and I am hoping with a little effort on my part I will be able to really accelerate the rotting (I seem to be an expert at making it happen in my fridge at home ;) )
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Trewsers

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
50,779
10,668
113
49
On an island
Jess poops for England, I pick up 1 - 1.5 barrow fulls a day from her alone, bare in mind I don't have any bedding going in there and poop will be spread between several piles and I am hoping with a little effort on my part I will be able to really accelerate the rotting (I seem to be an expert at making it happen in my fridge at home ;) )
Lol I know what you mean on the fridge items - we have "science experiments" in ours................. :eek: :p
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jessey