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Author Topic: Muck heap not working  (Read 2589 times)

KirinChris

  • Joined Apr 2022
  • Bishop Auckland, Durham
Muck heap not working
« on: September 02, 2023, 05:38:30 pm »
I never thought I would gaze longingly at steaming muck heaps in fields and think ĎI wish I had thatí but there you go.

My muck heap is just crap, literally.

Itís mainly horse manure, a little straw bedding from winter and also some hay and duck manure from their run but Iíd say +90% manure. The problem is it just stays cold and wet. Sometimes a few patches start to generate some heat but it doesnít spread and they eventually cool. There are things living in it, worms and larvae of various sorts.

Itís not on hard standing but it is at the top of a slope so should be able to drain. Iíve been turning it as best I could  - itís about 4-5 ft deep - and I tried taking about a third of it off into a new heap. The new heap has improvements like several PVC pipes going into the centre to help it aerate, but it isnít doing any better than the original.

How can I not even manage basic s**t ! Every other stableyard Iíve seen just throws their muck on a heap and it does its muck-heap thing.

Any thoughts on getting it going? Is there something I can add that might put it in the right path.


chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Muck heap not working
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2023, 05:57:19 pm »
I'd say you have far too much poo in it by percentage. For composting our chicken poo I aim for 1:5, poo to organic material. In our case it's grass cuttings and weeds with a thin layer of poo on top and then the layers are repeated. Grass as it composts creates a lot of heat. A pile of chicken poo, from experience, just sits there and does nothing apart from turn to sludge in the rain.

SavageU

  • Joined May 2023
Re: Muck heap not working
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2023, 10:05:37 pm »
Iím new to it too.

Got hard standing and sheep 💩 itís exposed so itís got wet and dried out. Put some more on the other day and think it needs turning, especially as we are due some warmer weather.

As an aside, is it really only cow manure for grass fert?

Not sure how Iím gonna spread mine as not got a tractor but at this rate it will be a bucket. Do I target bare areas first?

Backinwellies

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  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: Muck heap not working
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2023, 05:15:18 pm »
I think maybe there is a confusion here between muck heaps (which are just muck removed from a shed/barn which housed cattle or sheep dumped or spread in field)   and compost heaps which are a mixture of organic stuff .... is turned and played with.

We do our muck from cattle shed by hand into a quad trailor and spread from there by hand using  muck fork .... not ideal but a few days a year it works.

Our compost heap is a collection of veg, poulty cleanings, some sheep poo , garden waste etc! .... this shold be turned (but isnt!)
Linda

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doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Muck heap not working
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2023, 01:37:51 pm »
I think maybe there is a confusion here between muck heaps (which are just muck removed from a shed/barn which housed cattle or sheep dumped or spread in field)   and compost heaps which are a mixture of organic stuff .... is turned and played with.

Our compost heap is a collection of veg, poulty cleanings, some sheep poo , garden waste etc! .... this shold be turned (but isnt!)
That's my understanding too.  Pig slurry spread on fields is just that - straight from the pigsties into a collecting tank and then spread about to annoy all the neighbours  :innocent:

I have a Hotbin, which takes weeds, chicken and quail poo and bedding, vegetable peelings, but nothing cooked - it works very well - I empty it about two or three times a year, its good compost, and it doesn't need turning.

Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

KirinChris

  • Joined Apr 2022
  • Bishop Auckland, Durham
Re: Muck heap not working
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2023, 01:56:26 pm »
I think maybe there is a confusion here between muck heaps (which are just muck removed from a shed/barn which housed cattle or sheep dumped or spread in field)   and compost heaps which are a mixture of organic stuff .... is turned and played with.

We do our muck from cattle shed by hand into a quad trailor and spread from there by hand using  muck fork .... not ideal but a few days a year it works.

Our compost heap is a collection of veg, poulty cleanings, some sheep poo , garden waste etc! .... this shold be turned (but isnt!)

No I do distinguish between them.

We have a compost heap which is stuff like kitchen and garden waste, cuttings etc. and I've been putting some of the duck bedding into there as well. It gets turned and will rot down (and is doing OK).

The muck heap is partly from the stables but also just the poo picked from the horses' (and pigs') fields. It has to be collected from the field (also helps to prevent worms) and horse manure should be rotted before it can be spread or used as fertiliser i.e. it needs to compost. AFAIK it is universally known as The Muck Heap on every stable yard.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
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Re: Muck heap not working
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2023, 01:20:49 pm »
Quote
Iíve been turning it as best I could  -
Our muck heap at RDA Dunfermline is never turned.  It's just added too.  It's in a spare field
When the heap gets too long - we add to the length not the height - we start a new one.

We have a system - 9 horses drop in field, us volunteers lift the heaps daily and put in a wooden slatted three sided uncovered field bin - then our digger empties that to the line in the spare field when it's almost full.
The same system operates in the arena - from arena to three sided container outside, then to spare field

I honestly don't know it's temperature as I don't get too close to it. But the first heap is reduced by anyone who wants it takes some - neighbours, local farmers etc (not enough though so it doesn't go down fast enough  :innocent:) and when that's sufficiently reduced they'll go onto the next line.
It is pretty dry cold stuff almost like compost from teh shops and doesn't smell

I don't know if that helps you, but I did also wonder if the duck poo has any effect?
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

KirinChris

  • Joined Apr 2022
  • Bishop Auckland, Durham
Re: Muck heap not working
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2023, 03:18:34 pm »
Thanks [member=26320]doganjo[/member] Iíve been trying something similar with a third heap - out in a field and not contained like the others. it certainly seems to be drier.

How much other material do you have in yours? I mean is there bedding straw, hay etc. General opinion seems to be thatís where Iím falling short.

It was a problem before the duck muck was added so I donít think that is contributing. Itís a relatively small amount anyway, compared to the volume of horse poo (how can 2 horses poo so much?) If anything the duck stuff should help because it is a lot of hay mixed in And I had previously been adding it to the vegetable compost pile which has been working OK.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
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Re: Muck heap not working
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2023, 06:16:26 pm »
There's nothing added to it - it is purely horse dung.  We keep the ponies outside all year - no mucking out of stables.  They do go into their field shelters and poo in there in winter but they are all on either well flattened hardcore or grass

I'm no expert but I was told they poo twelve times a day and can produce about 15 kgms of poo - I don't know if that's true or somebody winding me up  :roflanim:
« Last Edit: September 06, 2023, 06:18:40 pm by doganjo »
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

KirinChris

  • Joined Apr 2022
  • Bishop Auckland, Durham
Re: Muck heap not working
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2023, 10:05:34 pm »
I would absolutely believe thatÖ

 

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