Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cleaning Corrals

Since returning from Canada, most of my time has been spent typing typing typing. But, I have been out and about to help with a couple summer ranch projects between articles. One of my tasks this summer was to clean out our corrals.

Cleaning corrals removes manure and hay and anything else that has built up while livestock are held and/or fed in them. Keeping them clean is done for both sanitation and efficiency reasons. If you don't clean all this old manure and cellulose matter, it makes a big mess to drive and walk through, and can hold organisms that will make your livestock sick.

Another perk to this mixture is once you put it in a pile, and let it set and do it's thing, it's the equivilant of a giant compost pile. Considering we live in an area with an inch or less of topsoil, we get really excited about things like composted manure, and use it on our lawns, in our windbreaks, and in a variety of other ways.

Ranchers that live near farmland often put their manure on their crops, as it is a natural form of fertilier. We're all about recycling, and efficiently using everything possible on our operations, even manure.

Kyle had already pushed some of the manure in this pen into a pile. I made another pile, then hauled it all out of the corral, one bucket full at a time.

Here is our compost pile, where I dumped everything. My dad also mentioned leveling it out in this location, and planting a garden next year if my mom is interested. Gardens like topsoil too!

Then you back into the corral, turn around, and do it again. Repeat until the corral is down to bare dirt, then move on to the next pen. I also used some of this to fill the washed out areas in the corral from all the rain we've had this year. Like I said, you have to be efficient and resourceful every day as a rancher.

My dad was kind enough to grab the camera and snap these pictures for me. Did I mention that tractor has AC?! Not a bad job on a hot day.

Here is the pile after day one. It's about eight feet tall. Once everything has settled, and we get around to it, we'll pull those boards out and throw them in our dump, if the Termites don't eat them first.

Here's the correl after. Nice and smooth, without any mucky manure/old hay to sink and stumble through every time it gets wet!

Gates are back to swinging like they should, and next on my list is moving this feeder I welded during my 4-H years out of the way. Then I'll continue with my cleaning in the rest of the correl.


  1. I loved this blog post! Your life experiences are so different than mine. You should write a book. :)

  2. I found you by searching "How to clean manure out of a corral" since I'm heading out to do that now :-) Rain and snow during this early October Wyoming storm have turned the corrals into a boot-pulling sea of muck. Your blog and photos provided moral support on a cold, windy day - thanks!