By Patty Wilber
I was listening to a Stuff You Should Know podcast called “The Wind Cries Typhoid Mary” and it mentioned the unsanitary conditions in New York City in the 1800’s. They estimated the number of horses, determined the amount of poop/horse/day to be about 25 pounds, and concluded that more than SIX MILLION pounds of manure were deposited on the city streets EVERY DAY!
I found an extension site that estimated horses create 37 lbs of feces and 2.4 gallons of urine per day!
That made me think about input vs. output. If a horse that is not gaining or losing weight eats 20 pounds of hay and drinks 5-10 gallons of water (at 8.35 lbs/gallon), the horse is taking in between 60 and 100 lbs of material and excreting 25-37 lbs of poo and 20 lbs of pee for a total of 45 -67 lbs. The maximum input doesn’t quite match the maximum output, but that could be balanced by loss of water mass through breathing, sweating and normal evaporation on the skin.
Right now we have six horses x about 20 lbs of food per day or 43,800 lbs per year. At 25 lbs of fecal output per horse per day x 365 days, we generate 54,750 lbs of manure each year. Or if we go with 37 lbs of manure per horse per day, 81,o30 lbs! Who needs a gym membership if you have horses!
So, what to do with all that waste?
First off, it has to to be picked up. We have dirt pens and use plastic manure forks. We do not have bedding to deal with.
Forks come with a handle and a head. The heads break. It is possible to buy replacement heads.
I recently bought two of this type of head from State Line Tack (6 bucks) and each one lasted approximately two days before snapping.