Stall Waste Production and Management

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How Much Manure Will a Horse Produce?

A 1,000 pound horse will defecate approximately four to thirteen times each day and produce approximately nine tons of manure per year. The 1,000 pound horse will produce, on the average, 37 pounds of feces and 2.4 gallons of urine daily, which totals about 50 pounds of raw waste per day in feces and urine combined. A horse kept in a stall may require fifteen to twenty pounds of bedding per day. Bedding products include: wood by-product (shavings, chips, or pellets), straw, hay, or paper. Bedding must be provided in stalls with cement floors, kept reasonably clean, and changed periodically. Manure plus bedding will have a volume of between two and three cubic feet per day.

Soiled bedding can equal almost twice the volume of the manure, but will vary based on management practices. A stalled horse will require the removal of 60 to 70 pounds of waste per day. This results in between 12 and 13 tons of waste per stall per year with 9 tons being manure, 3.5 tons urine, and the remainder bedding. The density of horse manure is about 63 lb/cubic foot. Annual stall waste from one horse will fill a 12 foot x 12 foot stall about 6 feet deep. This leads to a steady stream of manure to handle.

Daily manure and waste production from a typical 1,000 lb. horse
Manure Daily 37 lbs feces 2.4 gallons urine 51 lbs manure
Stall Waste Daily 15-20 lbs bedding (1.6 cubic ft) 51 lbs manure (0.8 cubic ft) 60-70 lbs stall waste/day (2.4 cubic ft)

(Table adapted from Pennsylvania State University, 2000, Horse Stable Manure Management)

Choosing a Bedding Material

Although straw, wood shavings, and bulk and pelleted sawdust are the most popular bedding materials, other sources may also be used. Pine shavings or sawdust will result in less disposable material than straw, and cannot be disposed of with mushroom producers. Disposal with the mushroom industry is an option in some parts of the country if horse are bedded with straw. Wood shavings, sawdust, and straw are relatively absorbent. Many horse owners, particularly owners of racing or performance horses, prefer shavings over straw because they are less dusty and may result in less respiratory irritation. Shavings produced from black cherry and black walnut should not be used. Even very small amounts of black walnut in bedding products can cause laminitis and founder in horses.

Bedding should be absorbent, dust-free, easy to handle, comfortable to the horses, readily available, easily disposed of, unpalatable (i.e. the horse will not want to ingest it), and affordable. The more absorbent a bedding is, the less matieral will need to be used. All beddings should be stored in well-ventilated areas to remain as dry as possible prior to use. For more information, see the following factsheet: Horse Manure Bedding Use.

Additional Information on Horse Manure Management

Author: Michael Westendorf, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey