Can I use fresh horse manure as bedding for my bin, or does it need to be aged?
fresh will heat up initially. After it heats and returns to a cooler state it should be fine. I wouldn't consider it as bedding though but I have no experience with manure as I have indoor bins.
I have read about some people keeping bins in cold garages and using fresh manure (and the associated microbial heating) to keep the bin warm during the winter months.
no. horse manure will heat up and kill your worms. age it a bit and then use as bedding. they will also eat the manure so it will act as both bedding+food.
Our family has had a horse for a few years now. we just traded a LARGE harse for a small horse. My worms are not happy at all, as their daily food supply went from about 70lbs to 40 lbs. I expect a dieback soon.
We have had 4 different horses and not all horse manure is the same. It depends on the horse and its diet. Also, pure manure is quite different than manure that is mixed with stall bedding, pellets, straw, and hay. Pure manure produces little heat, but mix it with high carbon stall beddings and it will get real hot. Maybe a plus in cold outdoor wormbeds.
I have 2 big outdoor windrow-type worm beds, with about 220 sq. ft. of surface space. They are covered by old carpets. Contrary to what is often written, I feed only fresh manure (less than 24 hours old). By using it fresh before it dries out, I don't need to wet it. Dried out horse manure is hard to re-wet. I have been rotating feeding areas so they get a fresh layer of food every 10 days. By that time it is black and not recognizable. No smell and no flies. My worms LOVE it!
I must warn you I live about 2 miles from the ocean and rarely gets over 80F.
He says it has rice hulls and wood shavings in it. I live near the ocean and it normally stays between 50 and 80. I guess I'll have to age ut myself. Do I just wait until it cools down?
For a small wormbin you can use it without pre-composting in small amounts. Try a few handfuls on top in a corner and observe. It usually takes some mass to cause heating.A little heat on top is ok anyway.
To compost it, wet it if needed and put it into a large pile, at least 3'x3'. It should heat up quick and then cool down in a few weeks. You can then use all you want.
You will need to add nothing else unless you wish to. Both bedding and food, horse manure is the perfect worm habitat that those guys selling worms use! Having an ample supply of horse manure will make you a successful worm farmer.
If I were a machinist, I would build a wonderful flow-through with a harvest bar/knife! All stainless. :)
Ha, came across this old thread via the gods of google.
Pete, if all goes well we will start hauling HM in two weeks. Going by the average of 50lbs a day and the number of horses kept by the folks we are getting it from they have about 500 tons a year so pretty much all we want.
The 40 mile round trip is going to be tough on the fuel bill but it is what it is when you live in the sticks. I will be getting composted rather than fresh which will help us in terms of the hauling since it has already reduced considerably.
Was just watering the one comfrey bed which is about 20' squared and thought this would be a great wormin bed. The worms love the comfrey by the numbers I see in there, last fall I put in about 3" of home depot steer compost with about the same in woodchips on top. Last month it was pulled for making garden beds and was full of worms.
Think I will put in 6" or so of the HM since comfrey loves heavy feeding and the worms are already there, then I can just cycle out the VC as needed. Will also be spreading the comfrey a lot this year so maybe we will have 10 or more beds this size by the end of the growing season. From the two plants I divided so far I planted out 4 crowns that are doing great and have at least a dozen large roots in a plastic bag that are now sprouting.
Just seems like a great match as the comfrey will spread its leaves for cover to hold moisture and keep the worms cool in the heat of summer then when it turns cold we can just double up on the HM to bed down both the worms and comfrey for the winter.