Keeping Barns Clean
Keeping a barn clean is paramount to your horse’s health, and your own, especially when you consider that a 1,000-pound horse produces roughly 50 pounds of manure and anywhere from six to 10 gallons of urine a day. Between the manure and the
Keeping a barn clean is paramount to your horse’s health, and your own, especially when you consider that a 1,000-pound horse produces roughly 50 pounds of manure and anywhere from six to 10 gallons of urine a day. Between the manure and the soiled bedding, the resulting waste is estimated at 20 tons a year. And, when you include the accompanying pests–from stable flies to parasite larvae–it’s a sure bet that you need to keep your barn clean to keep your horse healthy.
Effects of Waste
The daily accumulation of waste from horses living in a stabled environment opens the way for bacteria and parasites to do their worst. And, if horses are left to stand in urine-soaked bedding and manure, the adverse affects can wreak havoc with delicate lungs and seemingly tough hooves.
Betsy Greene, PhD, an equine specialist at the University of Vermont’s (UVM) Extension Service, explains, “Urine contains urea and hippuric acid, which as it breaks down, produces a volatile gas containing ammonia that can irritate sensitive tissues in both the eyes and lungs of horses and people alike.”
She emphasizes the importance of keeping the barn well ventilated to minimize ammonia buildup. “If you walk into a barn and feel comfortably warm, chances are you’ll also feel a sharp stinging in your eyes and nose from the by-products of ammonia and manure–that’s what your horse is living with all the time,” Greene says. “As a consequence, it’s not surprising he may experience a host of health issues.”
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