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What to do with a lot of fresh horns?

christine lawson


Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 34
Location: West Quebec

Hi all-

A farm hand friend has just given me a bag of very stinky fresh horn from young cattle, and I'm not sure what to do with them all! I've got a couple of dozen ranging in size from about 3 - 8". Most still have the squishy, marrowy stuff in them, and hair attached.

A google search just brings up instructions for the biodynamic manure horn technique, not something I'm up for, I can't imagine how I'd get them cleaned out to get the manure in. (Did I mention they're really stinky?)

The local raven sure was interested in them, and if I hadn't buried them there'd be turkey vultures circling - I like vultures but not sure my neighbours would appreciate it.

Any advice/suggestions?

Oh and by the by, thanks for all your help last spring re my young fruit tree guilds, they're all doing really well!
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2326
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
dog chews. They LOVE them.

They are too small for most horn craft projects.


"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
christine lawson


Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 34
Location: West Quebec

Ooops, I'd better clarify - I'm wondering about ways to use them to enrich my soil. Should I leave them buried in the compost, or dig them up and rebury them within, say, the beds where I'm planning to put the leafy greens? I understand (I think?) they'll be a slow acting source of nitrogen - but I just don't know, that's why I need advice

C.
Austin Verde


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 13
I imagine if you bury them the cartilage inside the horn will eventually decompose and fall out

however, if you want to expedite this process a bit, I think that the way this is usually removed is by boiling (it doesn't smell great, beware!). Boil the horn for 30mins in some baking soda or something to clean them and then that cartilage should come our fairly easily.

I've done this with a rams horn before and remember that there wasn't much information online describing how to do this. I think I got the most info searching for "how to make shofar". It's a traditional jewish instrument made from an animal horn.

Good luck!
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2326
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
christine lawson wrote:
Ooops, I'd better clarify - I'm wondering about ways to use them to enrich my soil. Should I leave them buried in the compost, or dig them up and rebury them within, say, the beds where I'm planning to put the leafy greens? I understand (I think?) they'll be a slow acting source of nitrogen - but I just don't know, that's why I need advice

C.


Black soldier flies to compost them. Or however you compost your animal waste. Do NOT put them directly in your beds.

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
R wannabe wrote:Do NOT put them directly in your beds.



Aside from critters digging them up, what would be wrong with burying them in various places in beds? Not all in one hole, but here and there?


Idle dreamer

R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2326
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
Tyler Ludens wrote:
R wannabe wrote:Do NOT put them directly in your beds.



Aside from critters digging them up, what would be wrong with burying them in various places in beds? Not all in one hole, but here and there?



That is enough of a reason, but you will also get bugs that will move to your roots next. And I would never put animal product in my beds unless I was 1000% sure they were healthy.

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
What kind of bugs?

christine lawson


Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 34
Location: West Quebec
R wannabe wrote:
Tyler Ludens wrote:
R wannabe wrote:Do NOT put them directly in your beds.



Aside from critters digging them up, what would be wrong with burying them in various places in beds? Not all in one hole, but here and there?



That is enough of a reason, but you will also get bugs that will move to your roots next. And I would never put animal product in my beds unless I was 1000% sure they were healthy.



I am absolutely sure the animals are healthy, as well as grass fed, no antibiotics etc.

Could you elaborate on what you mean by "bugs"? Insects or microbes?

c
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2326
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
Bugs as in larvae/maggots and beetles. Anytime we have any animal waste, even buried (shallow), it will get fly larvae that will bring more pests. Even the birds trying to get the worms will tear out young plants. YMMV.

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I've never had trouble with burying animal parts, it's what I've done with chicken guts and feathers, etc....never noticed any maggots when it's buried......
Austin Max


Joined: Mar 15, 2012
Posts: 98
Location: South Central Kentucky
    
    1
I know you are looking for ways to use these for fertility, but I can't resist. Horns are great for things like knife making, handles, whetstone holders for scything, there is some awesome carved horn sculpture out there, and the list could go on. Get creative!
Hanley Kale-Grinder


Joined: Sep 30, 2011
Posts: 112
Location: Mountain West of USA, Salt Lake City
    
    1
If you want to get jiggy you could smash them with a sledge hammer, then ferment them with bokashi, THEN bury them.
christine lawson


Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 34
Location: West Quebec

Thanks everyone! right now the horns are at the bottom of the garden and the birds are loving the bugs. Those that were buried have been unearthed, of course, as predicted. I'm fine with this, it's all going on a safe distance from the beds.

Some of the horns are a decent size, so we may keep some and see what we can make out of them.

Bokashi, eh? I'd never heard of it but a quick googling has me really intrigued. Love the idea of quicker composting/friendly bacteria.
Duncan Dalby


Joined: Jan 22, 2012
Posts: 36
Location: England, Midlands.
You could try using them to make biodynamic horn manure http://www.biodynamics.in/BD500.htm. I've never tried making it but I've heard people say grate things about it as a soil conditioner.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
myself I think I'd attempt to find a way to smash or crush them up..otherwise I'd follow the above advice


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
christine lawson


Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 34
Location: West Quebec
Brenda Groth wrote:myself I think I'd attempt to find a way to smash or crush them up..otherwise I'd follow the above advice


Yep, Brenda, that's likely how I'll go, it's just getting the gooey stuff out that had me stumped. I'm not easily made queasy but...ewwww! So I'll let nature takes its course and crush them once they're clean.
Bob Dobbs


Joined: Jan 13, 2012
Posts: 145
    
    3
I dunno, I would try it. I have composted weirder things. I know that horn meal used to be used as fertilizer, rich in nitrogen. And if an animal (even a cat) eats it and poops it back out, technically it is helping to break down the horn into fertilizer.
 
 
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