By Patty Wilber

Seven hundred bales of hay

Will make tons of….poo.

I feed alfalfa and grass hay and not much else (although I just added that food grade diatomaceous earth).  Hay is leaves and stems, so it has a lot of “fiber” (cellulose).  A fair amount of it passes from mouth to exit incompletely digested, and comes out as…manure… lots of manure.

As soon as you pick it up, more appears!

Cellulose is the most abundant organic molecule on Earth and it makes up cell walls of plants.

Animals do not make the enzyme necessary to digest cellulose, but herbivores like cows and  horses have a wealth of microbes in their guts that DO make that enzyme (cellulase). (And so do wood eaters like termites…speaking of which, termites produce methane as a by-product of cellulose digestion, so are a significant source of air pollution…)

Cows have a rumen (the ol’ four-parted stomach) where the major cellulose digesters live.  Lots of cellulose is broken down into glucose there and then absorbed in the small intestine (where most nutrients are absorbed).  This is pretty efficient, so cows can live on diets very high in cellulose.

Horses, on the other hand, are “hind gut digesters”.  Most of their cellulose degrading bacteria live in their cecum which is AFTER the small intestine. Thus, horses are not as efficient and for optimal health, require a higher quality diet (i.e. less roughage)  than cows.

There are many newer pelleted feeds on the market for horses.  They provide nutrition that is more digestible  and thus there is less…poo.

They are also costly.

So, I feed lots of hay and get lots of …by-product…which has to be picked up every day.

It is put into the compost bins, watered and covered.

One nearly empty bin and one full waiting for water and then covering.

As the manure degrades, the pile shrinks! The pile to the right is the oldest.

Due to our dry weather and the fact that I do not re-water, we do not get total breakdown, but not bad.

After a few months, the bins get emptied and the compost is spread around the property using the tractor!

What is that on the tractor?



Manure, spread around. If there'd been more rain, more would have grown here.

Brings a whole new level of meaning to “crappy job!”

How do ya like them road apples?

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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4 Responses to Poo!

  1. Doranna says:

    Poo-ology. It’s a science.

  2. Patty says:

    LOL! Crapology? NO!

    Seriously. It is SCATOLOGY. Not kidding.

  3. Sherry Meagher says:

    Should have had a picture of the poo picker upper dude!

  4. Patty says:

    LOL! No kidding!

Comments are closed.