Litter, dung & Co.

Litter and dung is a topic the open stable owner can't avoid willy-nilly, after all the own stable must be kept clean. This not only serves for the cleanliness of the stable but also for the healthiness of its inhabitants. Many horses have poor hooves most notably because they need to stand in poorly mucked out boxes for too long. And many horses have repiratory problems for the same reason. Dung starts to decompose rather quickly. In the process amongst others ammonia is being generated, a toxic, aggressive, penetratively smelling gas. Everyone who entered a poorly vented stable once only knows the characteristic smell. A combination of water with ammonia takes an alkaline effect, the generated leach affects the horn substance of the hooves just as the ammonia gas stresses the respiratory system. For this reason the "mattress litter" often used in the old days and to some extend still propagated today has to be rated as fairly disastrous. You surely won't do your horses a favour therewith! We can only recommend to clean up the boxes daily and thoroughly. Not even one of our horses has problems with mallenders or poor hooves, all horses can walk barehoof completely hassle-free.

So, what to intersperse? Partially we use the all classical straw, in part also wood shavings that do absorb the urine better. Yet since a while we began to use linen straw, with to some extend very surprising results. Linen straw is available as bundles of 20kg. The straw itself doesn't look like regular straw but rather like smallishly chaffed matches. Linen straw is very absorbent, whereby the generation of ammonia is largely eliminated. For although we tidy up our boxes daily ammonia formation starts already during the short meantime. But since we use linen straw this effect is distinctively reduced up to almost gone, as we found out pleasantly surprised.

Now, where to put the dung, removed from the boxes on a daily basis? Beforehand we used to dump it outside onto a pile and every couple of weeks our farmer drove the stuff onto a field. Until the lower nature conservation authority banned this. Since then we must - as we don't have a dung pile with a regular manure tray and thus liquids might seep into the ground - load our dung onto a carriage that is driven onto the fields by the farmer on a weekly schedule. Similar things will likely threaten every open stable owner who is unable to show a proper dung pile or who has placed his stable too close to a water body. Hence, when planning the own stable, it is recommended to clarify the facts concerning the disposal of the dung in a timely manner, because a stable without a dung pile won't keep up for very long...

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This page was last modified on 19/01/2015 from Sabine Brockamp