Cleaning horse stalls, chicken coops, goat pens, llama runs or other animal enclosures is a tedious daily chore. Using the right manure fork makes it easier and can make is less distasteful too! Manual or auto sifting options with hints on an especially tough version.
For most animals stall or pen cleaning is performed daily to separate the shavings or other types of bedding from the manure. Typically a pronged fork made of plastic or metal is used. Equi-Tee Manufacturing has a premium quality line of manure forks in standard or Mini-tine® (fine-tine) style that has great tine strength. In addition, a new style of motorized fork has been invented, called a Shake'n fork, which reduces the effort necessary to achieve a clean bedding stall by incorporating a motor to shake the tines for you. You can read about it at Shakenfork.com.
Manure forks are sold under many different names, stall forks, stable forks, shaker forks, bedding forks, Duraforks, Flex'n forks, Future forks, fine tine forks, mini-tine forks, Wonder forks, KD forks, apple pickers, muck forks etc. All of these forks are similar in size and appearance, and perform in approximately the same way. While most forks are made of plastic, some some are made of metal, but these have fallen out of favor because of their weight and the sharp tine ends. All forks must all be manually agitated to make the bedding that you want to keep fall through the tines. Fork baskets can be built with different heights to the sides. While it might seem that tall sides would be an advantage, in many instances they add weight to the fork, contributing to an unbalanced feel. The yellow Flex'n Fork pictured here is a mid height which holds bedding more without becoming unbalanced like taller sides. Although it holds more than the low side basket, it's ergonomic grip keeps it from twisting in your grip like tall side basket. Order one here.
Cleaning pastures and paddocks is different than cleaning stalls, because there is usually no agitation needed to separate the manure. You simply scoop it up and deposit it into the wheelbarrow or cart. However; this doesn't mean that it is easy on a fork. Rocks, fence posts, wire fencing, abrasive dirt and cold temperatures all contribute to wear and tear. In pastures, long grasses and roots can catch fork tines and cause them to snap. Toughness in a fork is paramount if it is expected to last. The Equi-tee Flex'n Fork is especially well suited to this task. Equi-tee uses only the highest quality plastic, and it's strength is made even tougher because is assisted by a patented suspension system that provides basket support in critical areas. In addition, the suspension lever automatically adjusts the angle of the tines to provide the perfect path to scoop under a manure pile, eliminating jammed tines and unnecessary bending. Many manure forks use wood poles which splinter or break as they get old. Some forks use aluminum shafts, however these shafts get very cold in the winter. Unlike many brands, Equi-tee forks only use lightweight fiberglass handle poles. Fiberglass is stronger than wood, won't splinter or absorb water and it won't make your fingers cold. One common complaint about many forks is the constant breaking of fork tines. The import of cheaply manufactured forks has forced many manufacturers to lower their prices to remain competitive. Unfortunately, one way to do this is to use less expensive plastic in the fork basket. Forks that formerly held up for years are simply not as durable as they once were, sometimes even breaking during the first use. Warranties that promised years of use are difficult to redeem because the vendors don't provide a place to get replacements, or the cost of returning the broken basket and paying shipping on the new part exceeded the value of the budget fork. Equi-Tee Manufacturing is committed to bring you only the strongest, longest lasting manure forks. They only use a high quality plastic, and their forks have exceptionally strong tines that bend, not break. This video clearly demonstrates how better plastic contributes to long term use. Although Equi-Tee forks cost more, their durability more than makes up for the higher purchase price.
While some people find the act of cleaning stable bedding to be a way to bond with their horse, many others complain about the physical exertion and joint breakdown that this leads to. Hip and neck pain is a typical complaint, along with a curious affliction called "manure elbow" which is similar to tennis elbow in its symptoms. When a barn with more than 3 or 4 stalls to clean is performed by only one person, the constantly jiggling of a manure fork to separate the shavings, sawdust, pellets, rice hulls, or other stable bedding, can quickly become a painful chore. The motorized Shake'n Fork greatly reduced the repetitive physical motions required to make the bedding fall through the tines. There is still effort to cleaning, since the manure must still be dumped into a bucket and hauled away, but the damaging repetitive stress to arms and hips is greatly reduced .
Manure forks also are designed for different types of horse stall bedding. Wood shavings can be sold under man different names, stall bedding, stable bedding, pine bedding or pine shavings, mini-flakes. All of these types of horse bedding can be sifted with a fork with a tine spacing of 5/8" and so most manual forks have this spacing. The auto-sifting motorized manure fork (Shake'n Fork), also has this spacing. It's motor does the shaking for you. There are also some other types of smaller bedding to consider. These can be wood pellet bedding, pelletized shavings, cob bedding and rice hulls. These types of bedding can have very low dust can use a fork smaller tine spacing or 5/16". The forks baskets with narrow tine spacing are known as fine-tine forks or Mini-tine forks. Some forks with finer tine spacing have very large baskets that are heavy and cumbersome to use, and this negates some of the advantages of using a bedding that is easier to sift. The Mini-tine fork from Equi-tee Manufacturing does not use a huge basket, so sifting pellets or rice hulls is easy and comfortable for the user.
Where to purchase:
The best manure fork for hand shaking or outdoor cleaning is the Flex'n Fork® . It is not a typical budget fork. It has high craftsmanship and offers a great value as compared to cheap forks.
Who will love this fork:
--people who are tired of breaking tines
--people who use small sawdust bits and/or pine pellets for bedding will love the Mini-tine basket
--people who appreciate a lot of value for their hard-earned buck (this fork is amazingly resistant to breaking!)
--people who pay others to clean their barns, but who must provide the forks. Forks last for months, rather than days.
--people who live in cold climates, the fiberglass hand pole doesn't absorb water and freeze.
People who may not like it:
--People that only buy the cheapest product, regardless of value
The Motorized Shake'n Fork is the best way to clean stalls without manually sifting the bedding. It is a product that is totally unique to the stall cleaning industry. This video shows how it will save your time and money, up to 50%!
Who will love this fork:
--people who have arthritis, back injuries, shoulder injuries, or other physical constraints that make manual manure sifting painful
--people who use sawdust, small shavings and/or pine pellets for bedding. Keep expensive bedding in your stall
--people who appreciate a lot of value for their hard-earned buck (this thing will last forever!)
--people with a lot of stalls to clean (nationally recognized trainers with large barns swear by the Shake'n Fork!)
--people who would rather spend their time riding instead of cleaning!
Who may not like it include:
--users of straw bedding, it won't sift what cannot be sifted manually
--those who want to spend as much time as possible cleaning as a chance to bond with their horse
--people who view stall cleaning as part of their workout routine
--people who think $200 is just too much for a pitchfork, regardless of its durability, time-saving qualities, or the fact that you will use less bedding
--people who are grumpy to begin with and who seem stuck in "the good old days."
Special Thanks to: http://allaboutstandardbreds.blogspot.com/
Special thanks to: Morgane Schmidt horse comics art at www.theideaoforder.com
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