How to Compost Bedding Hay


Composting material like bedding hay allows you to recycle it. Once it spends three to four months in your compost pile, organic material breaks down into rich, friable humus. Composting is traditionally done in a bin. There are many types of bins available. Look for one that is at least 3 cubic feet and allows the compost to come into direct contact with the soil. It contains the microorganisms that decompose the compost.

Step 1

Cut the bedding hay into the smallest pieces possible. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they will break down. Cover the bottom 3 to 4 inches of your compost bin with hay. If you do not have enough hay to accomplish this, you can also mix in other dry, woody or fibrous plant material like small twigs.

Step 2

Add 6 to 8 inches of kitchen or plant waste to the pile. Almost anything organic can go into a compost pile, even if it is rotten or moldy. The contents must, however, be vegan and chopped into small pieces. For suggestions on commonly composted items, see the Resources section. Mix this layer's contents together. It should have the consistency of a wrung-out sponge. If not, add more moist material like vegetable peelings or wet towels.

Step 3

Add a 1-inch layer of soil taken from anywhere in your yard.

Step 4

Add 2 to 3 inches of animal manure if you have easy access to it. Chicken, cow and horse manure are ideal. Do not add cat, dog or any other carnivorous animal's manure to the pile. Dust the manure layer with lime or wood ash. Follow with a sprinkling of water from the hose if the manure is dry. If you do not have access to manure, substitute it with one pound of urea fertilizer. Before adding the urea to the pile, first wet it until it is moist.

Step 5

Repeat steps one through four until your compost bin is full.

Step 6

Use a pitchfork or shovel to turn your compost pile every four weeks. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Then test the moisture level with your hand. It should be just about as damp as a wrung-out sponge. If not, sprinkle the pile with water from the hose and turn again. Repeat until the proper moisture-level is reached.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost bin
  • Scissors
  • Urea fertilizer
  • Kitchen scraps
  • Plant scraps
  • Shovel
  • Soil


  • Ohio State University: Composting at Home
  • University of Illinois: Building your Compost Pile

Who Can Help

  • PlanTea: 163 Things You Can Compost
Keywords: compost, bedding, hay

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.