Environmentally friendly practices to make your horses healthier and the environment cleaner.
December 30, 2008
There's a lot of buzz about "going green" these days.
From installing energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs to carrying reusable grocery bags, we've made steps in our households toward impacting the environment less and improving the global climate.
Managing horses is generally not forgiving to the environment (visualize brownish streams coming down the hillside from the manure pile in the rain, and fly-spray chemicals running down the wash-stall drain).
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TheHorse.com offers the following ways horse people can adjust their management to be more environmentally friendly:
- Install gutters and downspouts on all buildings to divert clean rainwater away from high-traffic areas and reduce the amount of sediment that gets into the surface water.
- Plant trees as dust barriers and protection for the banks of streams and ponds.
- Use organic fertilizers and natural mineral compounds, such as rock phosphate.
- Use biodegradable and nontoxic shampoos and cleaners around the barn. Channel wash water into grassy areas so it can be absorbed into the soil.
- Mow weeds when you're about to rest a pasture; use nontoxic weed spray or a weed eater; mowing tall weeds also keeps mosquitoes down.
- Install bird houses for purple martins, bluebirds, barn swallows, violet-green swallows and tree swallows, which can eat several thousand soft-bodied flying insects per day.
- Set out shed or trimmed dog and horse hair so the bug-loving birds can use it for building nests.
- Always compost all manure for 24 hours after deworming. Any active dewormer will bind with soil and become inactive in a short period of time during the composting process.
- A barn attracts fewer flies and other insects if it's kept fairly dark inside during the day. A strong fan or breeze can help, and fly masks/sheets are excellent nontoxic insect controls.
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- Test the well water to see what your horses are drinking; filter the city water that they drink.
- Offer organic feed to your horses.
- Put barn lights on timers; convert lights on the farm to solar power.
- Install automatic waterers powered by geothermic heat; this keeps the water cool in the summer and above freezing in the winter
- Reuse lumber that still might be in good shape for other building projects.
- Use wood byproducts (wood pellets or straw pellets), rather than virgin wood for bedding. Always avoid black walnut shavings because of potential laminitis complications.