Keeping livestock means making manure. It’s one of Rus’ favorite lines: “Jennifer makes it and I move it.” The outputs from 2 horses, 10-20 goats (depending on the season) and 40 chickens, along with their bedding and wasted hay, create a sizeable quantity of rich, composted manure each spring and fall.
With the help of an Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program grant from the MA Department of Ag Resources, and NRCS we have built a Manure Composting Facility to enable more efficient and consistent composting of our animal and hay waste through a 3-bay revolving system. By covering the bays, we’ll save valuable nutrients from leaching out in the rain and keep the piles hot and wet enough for fast composting, and more importantly protect our pond and neighboring waterways from waste outputs that are harmful to water.
Composting is fast and fascinating! A deep pile reaches 125 degrees in subzero weather, and needs to maintain 140 degrees for 30 days to kill off seed heads and any bad bacterial. You can always count on warm feet if you’re forking the pile back from the dump off point!
It’s beneficial to add compost to your vegetable or flower gardens before the growing season and again before winter, and we’ll be timing rotations to match the seasons.
Since goats are ruminants and the horses spend most of the year living outside (therefore not contributing to the manure pile), most of our compost will be weed-seed-free and ideal for garden use. We call it “black gold”.
We can load a pickup with the tractor if arrangements are made ahead or bucket/bag pickup options are available as well.