Horse Manure Facts

Horse Manure Facts

If you've got horses, you've got manure. Being interested in manure may seem odd or distasteful to most people. However, horse owners know they need to take an interest in their horse's manure as the consistency and quantity is an indication of their horse’s health. Compaction colic can occur if a horse becomes constipated. Diarrhea can be a sign of a very nervous horse—it's not unusual to see when a horse is on the trailer or show, or it can be a sign of illness. A healthy pile...MORE of manure is not offensive to a horse owner. Rather, it means everything is working well in the horse's digestive system. Manure is very important to horse owners. Here are some horse manure fact you might not be aware of.

  • 01 of 09

    Quantity and Weight

    Horse manure
    Horse manure. Image: K. Blocksdorf

    Horses produce about eight piles a day and about 50 lbs a day. That means one horse creates about nine tons of manure per year. This is why stall and pasture cleaning is essential to horse health. If manure is not cleaned up regularly it makes the perfect environment for producing unhealthy ammonia fumes in stables, as well as a place for moulds, bacteria and parasites to thrive.

  • 02 of 09


    Various types of horse feeds and supplements.
    What goes in, must come out, in one form or other. Image Credit: Spiritartist /Getty Images

    Horse manure contains grass and grain fibers, minerals, shed cells, fats, water, sand or grit depending on the type of soil the hay or grass was growing in. About 3/4 of the total weight of manure is water. It may also contain undigested grain and weed seeds, which is why it should be composted before putting on gardens.

  • 03 of 09

    Manure By Any Other Name

    Close-Up Of Pony Standing In Stable
    Pony pucks. Image Credit:Luann Griffin / EyeEm /Getty Images

    Horse manure is sometimes called buns, road apples, horse pucky, horse chips, horse hooey and horse apples.

  • 04 of 09

    Horse Manure in Your Garden

    Person moving manure with pitch fork
    Garden soil can be improved with horse manure. Image Credit:Francesca Yorke/ Photolibrary /Getty Images

    Horse manure should be aged about six months before using on gardens. Manure tea made with fresh manure can be used to feed vegetable and flower gardens or fresh manure can be used to build a 'lasagne garden'. It doesn't burn the plants, so even if you don't let it compost for six months, you're not going to kill your plants.

    Horse manure should be a pile of roughly spherical shaped droppings. These are formed by the last portion of the large intestine squeezing the contents...MORE into ball-like shapes as it extracts water.

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  • 05 of 09

    If You Fall Face First in a Pile

    Pile of manure.
    Manure pile. Image Credit:Paul Thompson /Photolibrary RM /Getty Images

    Horse manure is unlikely to spread disease to people, including bacterial problems with e-coli which is killed in sunlight. Human and dog waste are far more likely to spread disease and parasites to humans.

  • 06 of 09


    Decomposed horse manure
    Decomposed horse manure. Image: K. Blocksdorf

    Horse manure changes color and consistency depending on their diet. When the horse is on grass, or very bright green rich hay, the manure will be a bright green color when fresh. If the horse is eating paler green hay, the manure will be paler and if the horse is forced it eat brownish hay, the manure will be a similar color. Outdoors, the weather bleaches it all brown eventually.

  • 07 of 09

    If It Stinks

    Bold man holding his nose.
    If manure smells unusually bad, suspect a health problem. Image Credit: Paul Thompson/Photolibrary RM/Getty Images

    Horse manure is not as smelly as cat or dog feces. Most people do not find it overly offensive. Particularly foul smelling manure could be caused by a rapid change in diet, too much fat or protein in the diet, ulcers, salmonella or C Diff, or internal parasites.

  • 08 of 09


    Traditional fire roasting coffee.
    Roasting coffee over a manure fueled fire. Image Credit:microgen/E Plus /Getty Images

    Apparently dried horse manure makes good fuel. You probably may not want to roast marshmallows over it, but it has been used as heating fuel. Backwoods Home has instructions on how to make horse manure bricks to burn as fuel and claims it has a higher heating value than seasoned hardwood. Plus, the resultant ash is an excellent soil additive.

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  • 09 of 09

    Construction Material

    Door in adobe building.
    Adobe is a natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous or organic material such as sticks, straw, and/or manure. Image Credit:Danita Delimont /Gallo Images /Getty Images

    Horse manure has also been used in brick making. It's one of the components of adobe. What would a house made of manure bricks smell like in damp weather? While most people may not find the smell of horse manure offensive, but I think most of us would draw the line here.