Whilst some horse owners may clean their paddocks by picking up manure daily, if you cannot collect manure daily, we advise you should clear your paddock of manure at least 1-2 times a week. There are several reasons why regularly cleaning your paddock of manure are beneficial to your horse and its pasture.
- Most horses defecate usually around 6-10 times per day (over the course of a year this equates to around 9 tonnes). Consider this quantity spread across your paddocks over many months and even years. Being selective grazers; horses tend to avoid grazing grass that has been contaminated with manure. This means that not only is your pasture dirty, but your horse has fewer grassy areas to graze. If your horse does not defecate in one or two specific areas, then you even run the chance of having more manure littering your pasture than grass.
- When horses graze around piles of manure, they can easily ingest worms that end up in their digestive tracts. Worm eggs are passed in the horse’s droppings. They then move to the surrounding grass and are ingested again by your horse. Therefore, it is imperative to collect manure from your paddocks on a regular basis, thus reducing the chance of your horse obtaining worms. Clearing your paddock of manure benefits your horse’s health because it breaks the lifecycle of worms and helps to lower the worm burden. Cleaning your pastures at least twice a week, is one of the most effective ways to reduce the internal parasite burden on your horses.
- Another parasite that thrives off manure are flies. You may notice the way flies surround a pile of horse manure especially in warmer weather, these are the flies that could potentially go on to irritate your horse. A simple solution to reducing the number of flies in your paddock is to remove the manure that helps to attract the flies.
- Another health benefit to your horse that comes with regular collection of manure is that you can monitor this aspect of your horse’s digestive health. By collecting manure regularly, you can take note of the consistency, quantity, and appearance of the manure. By visually analysing the manure you can pick out any abnormalities that may be present in the manure, these abnormalities may indicate either health or dietary concerns that need to be addressed.
- It is not only beneficial to your horse to collect manure regularly, but also to the pasture within your paddock. Leaving piles of manure around your paddock may kill the vegetation beneath the manure and discourage re-growth. Cleaning paddock of manure helps keep your paddocks in tip-top condition, as it allows the grass beneath to breath and receive enough sunlight to regrow.
- Manure collection is also a great way to observe the condition of your paddock. While you are walking around your horse’s paddock, take note of any damage or potential health hazards. Early detection of issues such as damaged fencing, potholes, or misplaced rubbish could prevent an accident occurring.
Remember the more regularly you clean your horses’ paddock of manure the quicker and easier the job will be. If you allow manure to build up, it not only increases the chance of affecting your horse and pasture health, but it also becomes a more time-consuming job when it does come time to clean the paddock.