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How to Compost Horse Manure in a Composting Tumbler

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017

If you own horses, you are aware of the volume of waste they produce each day. If not managed properly, this waste can affect the health of the horses and the environment of your property. Horse manure can be a beneficial ingredient in making compost. Use a composting tumbler to process horse manure, then apply this quality compost to your flower and vegetable gardens.

Place the brown compost ingredients in the composting tumbler. Add approximately 6 inches of dry leaves or sawdust to the compost bin. Saturate this layer with water.

Add the green compost ingredients--garden waste and lawn clippings--with 2 inches of horse manure. Mix this layer in with the brown layer and saturate the layer with water.

Continue adding a brown ingredient layer and a green ingredient layer until the composting tumbler is full. Mix each layer as you add it and saturate each layer with water.

Close the compost bin and tumble it several times to finish mixing the ingredients. Leave the compost undisturbed for three days.

Open the compost tumbler after three days and insert the temperature gauge into the center of the compost. If the temperature is between 140 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit, turn the compost bin once. Turning the compost bin cools the compost, and then it reheats again. Close the compost bin and wait three more days.

Repeat Step 5 two more times to finish heating the compost. After the third and final turning, allow the compost to sit and cure undisturbed for two months.

Check the compost after two months to see if it is ready to use. If the compost is dark-colored, smells earthy and is crumbly, it is ready for you to use.


Things You Will Need

  • Composting tumbler
  • Shovel
  • Garden spade
  • Horse manure
  • Water
  • Compost temperature gauge


  • The heating period kills harmful pathogens and the curing period is the time when the compost breaks down and forms for use.


  • Do not allow the compost temperature to go above 160 degrees during the heating process because valuable bacteria die. If the temperature rises above 150 degrees, turn the compost bin several times to cool it down.

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.