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What to do with a lot of fresh horns?

 
christine lawson
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Location: West Quebec
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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
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dog chews. They LOVE them.

They are too small for most horn craft projects.

 
christine lawson
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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
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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
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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
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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?

 
R Scott
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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
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What kind of bugs?

 
christine lawson
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Location: West Quebec
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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
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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
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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
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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
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If you want to get jiggy you could smash them with a sledge hammer, then ferment them with bokashi, THEN bury them.
 
christine lawson
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Location: West Quebec
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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
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Location: England, Midlands.
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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
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myself I think I'd attempt to find a way to smash or crush them up..otherwise I'd follow the above advice
 
christine lawson
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Location: West Quebec
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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
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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.
 
I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay, I sleep all night and work all day. Tiny lumberjack ad:

World Domination Gardening 3-DVD set. Gardening with an excavator.
richsoil.com/wdg


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