Stall Cleaning Machine
Cleaning out stall bedding is normally done by hand, with a pitchfork and wheelbarrow. We recently learned about an alternative to this, known as the Stall Shifter, a portable machine which separates the horse droppings from the bedding. We don't sell the machine and are not associated with the manufacturer/retailer in any way. However, since it is an interesting tool, we provide an overview as part of our horse stall bedding series.
The process is as follows:
- Remove the wet bedding as usual (fork it into the muck wheelbarrow).
- Roll the 'stall shifter' into the stall, turn it on and shovel the horse droppings into the stall shifter. The shifter has a vibrating grill which separates the manure from the bedding.
- Throw the separated manure into the wheelbarrow and re-spread the bedding.
Here is what the machine looks like (photo kindly provided by the inventor, Harry Hopkins):
The advantages are:
- Time. The machine quickly separates the manure from the bedding, saving the time consuming process of picking the manure out with a fork.
- Bedding. Because the machine is much more effective at separating the bedding from the manure, much less bedding is thrown out with the manure.
- Quality. Getting the last few bits of manure out of the bedding (especially with a horse that walks in its stall, breaking the manure up and spreading it about) can be too time consuming and consequently some can get left behind. With the machine, it is quick and easy to remove the bits that get left behind with hand cleaning, resulting in a cleaner bedding.
The disadvantages are:
- Bedding Type. The machine uses a grill to separate the manure from the bedding, so the bedding has to be small enough to fall through the grill. For this purpose, bedding types such as wood pellets, straw pellets, fine to medium shavings or sawdust works fine. However, very large wood shavings or straw is simply to big to pass through the grill. Consequently, for some bedding types the machine is not appropriate.
- Investment. There is a substantial investment to buy the machine. This cost is offset by savings in the amount of bedding used so eventually the machine will pay for itself (the manufacturer of this particular machine calculates that for a 10-stall stable the machine pays for itself in about 3 months). However, the actual pay-back duration will of course depend on the number of stalls, your local cost of bedding, and how much bedding you currently throw out with the manure.
For more information, visit the Stall Shifter Website or watch the following video (reproduced with kind permission of Harry Hopkins). To play the video, click on the white arrow in the center of the video.
Please note that this article is provided for reference only. It should not be taken as a recommendation for the product or the provider thereof. Nor do we take responsibility for any decisions or actions taken on the basis of this article; the reader is advised to confirm independently any information.