Friday, December 30, 2011

Manic about muck buckets

We all have our pet peeves. You know how I feel about brooms upside down in muck buckets. Muck buckets are a seemingly endless source of annoyance.

Muck buckets were originally for aisleway "incidents," but some people use them to muck their horses' stalls. The basic question is, WHY DON'T PEOPLE WHO FILL THEM EMPTY THEM??? WHY DO THEY OVERFILL THEM FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO STRUGGLE WITH? Basically you're moving crap from your horse's stall, where only your horse has to put up with it, to a common area of the barn, where everyone has to deal with it.

Teachable moment or passive agressive act?
I've boarded at MANY barns where this is the norm. When I encounter someone piling a muck bucket to brimming,  I try to make it a "teachable moment" as they say. If my schedule allows, I grab the wheelbarrow and pick Harv's and/or Ri's stall while they're doing theirs.  I muck my horses' stalls anyway, it's just a matter of rearrangeing my schedule a bit. Then I wheel the sparsely filled wheelbarrow adjacent to the now-overflowing muck bucket.  I cheerfully address the boarder, point to the wheelbarrow, and suggest that they just dump their muck into the wheelbarrow. This serves two purposes:
  • The boarder is introduced to the concept of wheelbarrow-as-mobile-muck-bucket. It's a far better tool for the job of mucking, as it conveys the muck AWAY.
  • They experience firsthand how unpleasant and unwieldy it is to handle the brimming muckbucket -- and how intimate you have to get with the muck.
To me it is a teachable moment, to others it's probably another example of Stacey-the-pain-in-the-ass.

In my barn there will be no muck buckets, but wheelbarrows placed safely in proximity to stalls. Perhaps having a means of conveying the manure to the pile, spreader, or what-have-you will help people to do the right thing.


  1. Aha! But as pictured, a muck bucket with a rope attached can be a boon when trying to get manure out of the barn across the snow. Unless you have a well shoveled path to the pile for the wheelbarrow, muckbucket sled to the rescue!!

    I actually have a plastic toboggan to slide my hay bales out to the barn during snow season.

    BUT, I am in agreement. If you use the bucket, dump it. Don't leave it for someone else to deal with.

  2. My boarding barn doesn't have muck buckets, which is nice. Unfortunately, the problem just jumps up a level with people over-filling wheelbarrows and leaving them for someone else to empty.

    This is not really an issue in the barn as staff clean and empty everything in the morning and the horses are out until ~8pm, leaving only those who come in for riding etc, which normally is easy to accomodate. But we pick poop in the arena after every ride and virtually no one will empty that one if it's full. I just tell myself it`s my upper body workout and get er done.

  3. Interesting post. I have been trying to imagine my barn (just being completed) and my waste management issues. The barn is 5 stalls with a 12' rubber matt aisle way. I can see a muck bucket in the grooming/wash rack. But I am thinking of just moving my Kubota tractor (with bucket) down the aisle way and shoveling straight into the tractor bucket.

  4. Our stable's so small that only wheelbarrows are needed. There's always one at the "T" of the three aisles where you can quickly dispose of manure that's been left in the aisle itself. But the manure pile isn't that much farther away. . . .

  5. I'm pretty sure at the "fancy show barn" fellow boarders filled muck buckets (sub)conciously believing the morning staff did not do a good enough job and they were "helping." Often, I would see filled much buckets left in the aisle (pew). To feed these toxic attitudes, wheel barrels used by the morning crew were kept locked up so boarders could not help themselves either. I don't miss this!

  6. I have a large muck bucket that sits in a cart with wheels AND I have a large muck CART. I can use the large bucket and nearly fill it each day OR if I just take out the wet and let the apples build up -- a common occurrence in the winter since the flies aren't a problem -- I can fill the cart in a day as well. I agree with you about overflow.

    I also detest people who don't clean up when their horse poops in the wash rack or barn aisle. These are probably the same folks who take a (usually full) disposable diaper off the baby and just leave IT in the parking lot or on the changing table in a public restroom. People just have no manners. ;o)

  7. There was a really nice barn I used to visit for assorted purposes that had a system I haven't seen since: they had conveyor belts underneath the aisles, just in front of the stalls. You pulled open the hatch in front of the stall door, turned on the belt, and threw the muck down. It was delightful--it was ferried off to the muckpile/spreader/etc. and you didn't have to wrestle a heavy wheelbarrow. Seems to be a concept found in racing barns and dairy farms more than regular boarding properties, though.

  8. I love seeing someone who has never handled a wheel-barrow try not to tip over as they go.You should be ready to film that.

  9. We have a winter sled for our muck...originally sold to haul deer carcasses. We call it the poop sled. You can put the muck tubs in it, or pile the poop. We usually just set the muck tubs in. This is the only reason I am ever happy to see snow. It makes for the most easy muck removal ever. Hope Bob is better.

  10. I think in the barns I've boarded at, you're expected to take your muck to the manure pile and leaving a full bucket for someone else to deal with would get the barn workers to say, "What the bleep are you doing? Either you pay for me to muck your stall or you finish the job properly." Can't imagine what would happen if it happened more than once, never seen it go that far. You board with some rude people!

    I prefer a bucket if I have to muck with the horse in the stall. But it is a two-person job to tip it into a barrow.

  11. We use a wheelbarrow, but unless it's pouring rain, don't have to muck stalls with horses in them, so parking it in the doorway of the stall is no problem.

    Yes, that would drive me bonkers to see folks use the aisle-way bucket for stall clean-up! Although I have to say, my husband and daughter would likely do it if I had an aisle-way bucket here!

  12. I can't even imagine being that person - who would want to pile up manure for someone else to deal with. That "someone" being an unidentified vague source who isn't paid to do so.

    I think your solution is neither passive nor aggressive - you are actually helping them, while letting them see what they have been leaving for others to do and what a pain THEY are.

    Manure piles in our barn aisle (home barn, not a public one) get shoveled into the manure cart we use, which is actually a garden cart from Ace and more stable than a wheelbarrow. Since we have such low volume, that one pile can stay in the cart until the next stall cleaning and it's not a problem.

    Our muck buckets are used for water in the stalls, because they're large enough volume to not freeze in the minor freezes we get in AZ, large enough to not run out overnight with my heavy-drinking horse, and the handles make for easy dumping. Our horses all have automatic barrel waterers outdoors which aren't as easy to handle!


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