Composting horse manure in a tumbler: Is It Possible? So, if you are curious to learn more on this , you could go ahead and read this article till the end. If you are a horse owner, you might already know how much waste they release. If you don’t manage it properly, chances are that it would be unhealthy for the horses as well as on the environment.

Horse manure is something which could be crucial and quite useful in making compost. In fact, you could use a composting tumbler to process horse manure and you could use it later on your flowers as well as on your vegetable gardens. 

Composting Horse Manure In A Tumbler

What’s a composting tumbler?

If I briefly describe what composting tumble is, it is a barrel which you could rotate and turn. Mainly recycled plastic is used to make these and you could fill it with organic yard and kitchen wastages. Further you may use horse manure as well. In fact, horse manure would perfectly fit in here.

In addition to that, you may also use finished compost, commercial starters already finished compost and garden soil. All these materials would start to decompose due to the activities in the microbes and in other living organisms which are driven by oxygen. To speed up the composting process in the tumbler, you may turn it twice or even three times a week. It would allow them to mix the microbes with the rest of other organic material.

Additionally, it would supply a fresh supply of oxygen as well. Tumbler would contain the material and produce some heat as well. You could make fresh compost out of this within a short period ( within one month ) if you practice it right and do it with care.

Composting horse manure in a tumbler: Is It Possible?

Horse manure is a good source of nutrients, and many people tend to use them for their gardening purposes. If you utilize horse manure it would make your compost pile supercharged. You can find horse manure especially in rural areas. They would make such great and healthy fertilizer for the plants. Further it would speed up the growth process of the plants by providing the required nutrient levels. Horse manure has considerable amounts of organic matter and is relatively more nutritious when you compare them with cow manure or steer manure.

That said, you should refrain from using horse manure directly on the plants as chances are that it would make the plant roots burn. However, if you could use it in compost then you can apply it on the plants.

Besides these , keep in mind that horse manure has weed seeds in them. Hence, make sure that you make compost out of it and then apply it on the plants. You could use the composted horse manure in your garden any time of the year. Horse manure composting is very much similar to the way you make the other composting types. You don’t need to arrange any special tools or any other special structures to make these. All you need to have is a small amount of horse manure, some shovel and a pitchfork.

Composting Horse Manure In A Tumbler

Is horse manure good for composting ?

Yes it is. Horse manure compost tends to resemble the same look as soil. Further once it is composted, the manure smell will also be gone. Once you use horse manure in composting, it would improve the soil aeration and drainage too. Consequently, it would pave the way for a healthy growth in the plants. That said, one might find disposing horse manure as daunting. Further you will have to do it on a continuous basis too.

However, If you are a patient gardener, you could make use of horse manure and using horse manure in composting would be really effective and productive. It would perfectly transform the fresh horse manure into the right fertilizer type. You could add organic material for composting to enhance the nutrients value of the compost pile however it is not something compulsory. However, when you use horse manure for composting, you could get fresh compost within a short period ( two to three months) of time.

Composting Horse Manure In A Tumbler

How to make a compost tumbler with horse manure?

First add some brown compost ingredients in the composting tumbler. Ideally , you could add dry leaves for about 6 inches in the compost bin. Next, saturate the layer with some water. Next add the green composting materials. You could add elements such as garden waste and lawn clippings here.

Next you may add 2 inches of horse manure. Thereafter you need to mix this layer with the brown layer and then saturate it with water. Keep adding the green and brown layers to the composting tumble. Furthermore, ensure that you saturate each layer with water as well. Next close the compost bin and tumble it for multiple times to mix the ingredients. Thereafter leave it that way for about three days without disturbing it. Next open the compost tumble and place a temperature gauge and check whether the temperature is around 140- and 150-degrees Fahrenheit there.

Next turn the compost bin once. Once you turn the compost bin, it will cool down the compost and make it heated once again. Thereafter close the compost bin and wait for another three more days. Keep repeating these steps and check after two months’ time whether you could use it now. If you spot the compost is dark in color and seems to be crunchy and smell earthy you can use it.

Keep in mind that when the heating takes place, it would kill all the harmful pathogens. Further when they cure, it would help the compost to break down and make them ready for use. Ensure that you don’t let the temperature exceed 160 degrees as then the vulnerable bacteria may also end up perishing. If the temperature increases, you could turn the compost bin multiple times so that it would cool down.

Benefits and Limitations of Composting horse manure in a tumbler


If you are someone who doesn’t have so much space to use manure and it is not possible for you to haul it off, composting would be helpful for you. In addition to that it would reduce the end product volume as well. Not only that but also it would minimize whatever the foul smell it may release too. This would perfectly fit in for barns which are in residential areas. 

If you use horse manure for composting it would help you to cut down the fly populations too. further it would also help you to get rid of the fly larvae such as house flies and stable flies. If you plan it well and adhere to the aforesaid tips, you could make a productive and effective compost mix. Apart from the above, when you use horse manure for composting, it would speed up the composting process. In addition to that, once you compost tumblers with horse manure it would help you to keep the rodents, raccoons and other irritating pets also out of this.

Tumblers are elevated off the ground and due to these animals would find it difficult to approach them. Furthermore, it would cut down the foul smell it may emit as well. Once you use a tumbler for composting it would be very tidy and attractive too. So, if you live in a residential area, you could make use of these.


It would be very expensive to afford compost tumbles when you compare them to making regular compost bins. Usually, thick material will be used to make these and due to that it would be difficult to handle them. Further they may also comprise of support legs and rollers due to that, it would be somewhat expensive to manufacture them.

Composting Horse Manure In A Tumbler

Related questions

How long does it take for horse manure to decompose?

To answer the question how long it will take for horse manure to decompose, it would take about three to four months. It has a high nitrogen content and can improve the organic matter in the soil and improve soil health. Addressing the need to build organic matter in soils, horse manure can be added to soil. It also adds structure to the soil, which can reduce erosion and allow better water infiltration.

How long does it take for compost to break down in a tumbler?

It would take about three weeks’ time for the compost to breakdown in a tumbler

How long should horse manure be composted?

Generally speaking, it would take about two to three months for the manure to turn into compost.


To conclude ”Composting horse manure in a tumbler”, it is always a wise idea to use horse manure into composting tumbles as it is beneficial in many ways. I hope now you are well aware of how to conduct it properly and get the maximum use of it. So try these methods out and enjoy gardening with these composting methods.

Credit to : Diego Footer

Read Next : How Many Worms Do I Need For Composting?


Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Environment and Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. My mission is to help other. You can use this knowledge to enhance your life THE BEST environments you possibly can.

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