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Colorado Small Acreage Management - Improving land stewardship by helping landowners understand and manage their property resources (soil, water, animals, plants, and air).

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Manure Mgmt

Manure Management Guidelines for Small Acreages – educational brochure explains why manage manure properly, best management practices and disposal options for small acreages in Colorado

Healthy Manure Storage Tips

Manure Management

  1. Divert clean water away from manure:
    • Construct berms, terraces or waterways, and/or use downspouts to divert clean water away from corrals and manure storage areas.
  2. Ensure manure discharge will not enter a water body or leave the property:
    • Limit animal access to ponds, streams, ditches, and wetlands.
    • Collect manure frequently.
    • Stockpile manure at least 100 feet outside a floodplain.
    • Do not stockpile manure in a dry creek bed or ditch.
  3. Protect ground water:
    • Locate manure storage piles and livestock corrals at least 150 feet down-gradient from wells.
    • Use a 150 foot buffer around wells when land applying manure.
  4. Reduce nuisances like flies and odor:
    • Stockpile manure downwind from barns and 200 feet away from neighbors.
    • Plant trees to reduce wind and odor from stockpiles.
    • Keep a lid on manure dumpsters.
    • Remove manure from corrals and pens every few days to prevent flies, parasites, and worms.
    • Cover fresh manure in stockpiles with at least 5 inches of clean bedding, straw, or hay to prevent flies.
    • Prevent flies by using pesticides or fly predatory wasps (non-stinging) which can be purchased to manage flies.

 Manure Disposal Options

  1. Dispose off-site to a landfill that accepts manure or hire someone to pick-up and dispose of manure for you.
  1. Compost manure. This requires the right ratio of carbon (bedding or leaves) and nitrogen (manure). Try 30 carbon to 1 nitrogen by volume. Water to keep the pile 50% moist and aerate the pile regularly.
  1. Spread manure. Spread in spring or summer. Test manure for nutrient content and spread based on soil test recommendations. This will ensure the nutrients are being utilized by the vegetation growing. Unused nutrients can pollute water bodies and groundwater. Remember that raw manure may contain weed seeds which will be spread back on the land.

Estimated Horse Manure Application Rates*

  • Dryland range: 1 ton/ac/yr
  • Irrigated alfalfa: 5-10 tons/ac/yr

*Test manure for nutrient content and spread based on soil test.

Livestock Mgmt

Livestock in the MountainsEquine Biosecurity

Biosecurity is often thought of as a problem only for large operations, but there are small practices all horses owners can adopt to keep their animals healthy.

Livestock Management in the Mountains

Booklet developed specifically for Colorado mountain communities. Topics include fencing laws, dealing with predators, cold temperatures and snow, handling emergencies, poisonous plants, and much more.

Targeted Grazing: A natural approach to vegetation management and landscape enhancement

This handbook represents a compilation of the latest research on harnessing livestock to graze targeted vegetation in ways that improve the function and appearance of a wide variety of landscapes. It is organized both as an introduction to targeted grazing for the novice and as a useful reference for seasoned managers.



Backyard Poultry

Sheep and Goats


Animal Emergency Preparedness

Rabies on the Rise in Colorado: Be Aware

  1. Do not handle wildlife, especially skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats that are acting inappropriately or have died.
  2. Vaccinate your pets and livestock.
  3. Educate yourself. Save your life or the life of a loved one. For information go to the Colorado Dept of Health website:


Resources & Helpful Information

SAM Webinars and Web Videos

SAM Newsletter Articles

CSU Extension Fact Sheets