Horse Tack Review
© 2004-2012 Horse Tack Review
Less time cleaning stalls. More time with your horse.
Located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, home of a rich and dynamic agricultural tradition, Millcreek began making mini spreaders and compact spreaders in 1986. Their spreaders have gone through many cycles of product improvement over the years. And they just keep getting better. Today, Millcreek spreaders are made with that same old world craftsmanship, using state-of-the art manufacturing facilities that include high production laser cutting and computer automated stamping equipment, an automated powder coating line, dynamometer (that tests every spreader for functionality right in the factory), and other high efficiency equipment.
But they never take quality for granted. There is no substitute for the close visual inspection by a highly qualified craftsman who cares about the product going out the door. That's what you get with a Millcreek spreader.
WHAT A MILLCREEK SPREADER WILL DO FOR YOU
A Millcreek mini spreader will save you up to 8 minutes on every stall you clean. That's because (1) you take the spreader right to the stall, which saves steps; (2) you eliminate the need for a wheelbarrow and the time it takes to travel between stalls and the manure pile with the wheelbarrow; (3) you spread the manure on a nearby field or pasture, which eliminates the time needed to tend a manure pile and/or arrange disposal; (4) the actual spreading of manure takes just a minute or two. People are amazed at how fast the job is done. It all adds up to less time cleaning stalls, more time with your horse.
Saves Hard Work
Many people have a hard time lifting and pushing a wheelbarrow full of heavy manure. A Millcreek mini spreader eliminates this wear and tear on your back.
Helps Maintain Cleaner Environment
Because spreading manure is so fast and easy, you will not have the nuisance of a manure pile near your barn or stable. Manure piles are breeding sites for flies and parasites. Eliminate the pile, eliminate the breeding site. It helps keep pests to a minimum.
A Millcreek mini spreader makes a terrific utility wagon. You can easily clean it out with a hose to remove any manure debris, especially models with the Rhino Lining, which is smooth and washable. Then you can load it up with any manner of heavy or bulky items you need to move around the barn or stable, such as shaving bales, feed bags, straw bales, hay bales - you name it. Always be sure to avoid direct contact of manure and any food related products. When hauling hay or feed bags, thorough cleaning of your spreader is necessary, and the use of a temporary plywood floor (cut to size to drop into the bottom of your spreader) when hauling may also help.
Also, the exclusive Dolly Wheel option lets you move your Millcreek mini spreader around very easily without having to pull it with power equipment. It can be used just like a cart, in other words, to move bulky or heavy items, or even to clean stalls when the power equipment is elsewhere. A Dolly Wheel provides extra versatility for Millcreek Models 25 and 35 (shown above), our most popular spreaders.
MANURE HANDLING OPTIONS
Manure happens, some 40 to 50 pounds per horse per day. There are anumber of ways to handle manure disposal. Here is a quick look at your options.
1. Recycle it.
We're talking compost here. To your manure, you can add grass clippings, garbage foodstuffs, peelings, etc. In a matter of months you can have rich compost for use in your pasture, garden, flower beds - or you can sell it.
- Environmentally friendly manure disposal solution
- Heat can kill parasites, weed seeds
- Composting helps reduce odor and flies
- A good deal of time and effort required, depending on the scope of your commitment
- Speed of decomposition depends on temperature and moisture, can take months
- Compost piles require turning for aeration to keep the process active; some heavy lifting required
- Special facility, such as concrete slab, cinder block walls, treated wood walls, etc. are advisable
2. Spread it.
Get a good spreader, which applies manure directly to a field or pasture, where it begins to break down and recycle back into the soil.
- Because you eliminate the wheelbarrow trips to the manure pile, you save that time and labor, up to 8 minutes per stall cleaning according to experts.
- Some spreaders can be taken directly to the stalls, helping eliminate steps.
- No composting required.
- Manure piles are eliminated, along with any disposal costs.
- A spreader can be a terrific wagon for hauling hay bales, straw bales, shaving bales, feed sacks, and other bulky items around the stable and farm.
- Some spreaders, like a Millcreek, work with a wide range of power equipment, including garden tractors, ATVs, utility vehicles, and small tractors.
- Because manure piles are eliminated, fly and parasite breeding habitat is reduced.
- Less manual labor is involved in manure disposal, making it easier on the back.
- You have to buy a spreader. Selecting the right one can be a challenge, since the investment may run from several hundred dollars for the cheapest versions with questionable utility, to a couple thousand dollars for one that will last a long time and be reliable.
- Once you have a spreader, you have a machine that will require maintenance. Be sure you know what kind of maintenance is required, then commit to doing it in order to protect your investment.
3. Use four legged spreaders
When you turn your horse(s) out, they become natural spreaders of their own manure. Of course, manure then occurs in "mini piles," which has to be taken into consideration.
- Horses get daily exercise when turned out.
- Manure disposal is "automatic."
- Decreased work load for cleaning stalls.
- Reduced stall bedding cost.
- Access to grass, the natural equine diet.
- Parasites may be reintroduced into the pasture, which could re-infect your horse(s).
- Treatment of the pasture with a harrow (a toothed drag mat) is generally required to help break up manure "mini piles" and help it dry out more quickly and incorporate into the soil.
- If you rely entirely on this method, weather can become a factor for the health of your horse(s). Many people prefer to turn horses out in fair weather, keep them in stalls when necessary. This is usually a good compromise solution.
- Injuries can occur, usually relating to problems with fencing.
- Inadequate fencing can result in a runaway.
- Depending on your environment, horses can be exposed to unwelcome "visitors" to your pasture, including dogs, deer, vermin, or those with mischief on their minds.
4. Give it away.
Some are fortunate enough to have neighbors who relish the prospect of free manure. Of course, they won't know about it unless you tell them, which means advertising in some form.
- Manure disposal is free to you.
- Some may be willing to pay for manure.
- Continued advertising is generally required, since your steady supply will quickly outpace the specific needs of any individual "taker." You will usually need to find a stream of new prospects for your free manure.
- You'll need a program of ads in local "penny saver" type publications, a flyer, and perhaps a sign at your driveway entrance.
- You usually want to be there when someone shows up. So you'll have to be making scheduling adjustments to accommodate them.
- You must still maintain a manure pile, even though people come and deplete it from time to time.
5. Bury it.
Let's say you have a huge gully on your property, and it's not too far from your barn, or maybe a low spot that needs filled in. That would be a great place to haul manure and dump it. You could use a bucket loader attached to a tractor, or maybe have a neighboring farmer with large equipment come and help you out for a few dollars.
- It's free and relatively easy, provided you have the right equipment.
- Be careful that neither people nor horses have access to the dumping area. Manure is not good footing.
- Fencing may be required to isolate your manure dump.
- A concentrated pile of manure continues to be a breeding habitat for flies and parasites. Make sure your horses and animals are well away from the dump site.
- If you don't have the natural topography for a manure dump site, you'll need a contractor with heavy equipment to dig a pit in an appropriate spot. Once it's full, you'll likely need to repeat the process from time to time.
6. Reduce it.
You can minimize the amount of bedding material you use in order to reduce the overall mass of manure/bedding mixture you dispose of. The less bedding mixed with manure, the easier the cleanup and smaller the manure pile.
Stall mats to help reduce the amount of bedding material needed. Once installed, put bedding only where the horse urinates rather than covering the entire stall.
Choose bedding material that breaks down rapidly , such as straw, shredded paper, rice hulls, or other absorbent organic material that may be unique to your area. Check with local manufacturers to see if they have suitable bedding materials available as byproducts of their process. Such materials might include wheat residue, paunch from breweries, non-synthetic fabric shreds...who knows what you might find.
- Stall mats can help reduce the amount of bedding material you need.
- Alternative bedding materials often decompose faster than shavings, and can be more absorbent.
- Suitable alternative bedding material is usually free for the taking once you find it.
- Stall mats can be costly; savings can take a long time to appreciate.
- Alternative materials may not be consistently available.
- Use of alternative materials may have unforeseen problems, and require a trial to test their suitability.
- You may have to try a series of alternative materials before finding a suitable one.
7. Dispose of it.
You find a local waste removal service, make the call, set the schedule, agree on the cost, and let them handle the whole thing.
- You simple pile manure in a receptacle, such as a dumpster. The service hauls it away on schedule.
- No-muss, no-fuss convenience.
- Fly and parasite eggs are hauled away with the manure.
- You have to figure out how to put the manure into the dumpster.
- You may have problems finding a service that handles manure waste.
- Cost can be high, especially for a permanent on-site dumpster.
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