Mathematical proof that my wife's late night stall muck is not helpful

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by codehydro, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. codehydro

    codehydro Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    62
    One evening my wife decided to muck the stalls to make it easier for me in the morning (she can’t help with the morning chores because of her day job). However, she wouldn’t believe me when I observed that it made no discernable impact on how long it took the next day.

    Of course, it is understandable why she wouldn’t believe me--as she points out the half a wheelbarrow of poops (visually about 1/4[SUP]th[/SUP] of the two barrowfuls that five horses would make for us each night)—the ‘fruit’ of a half-hour’s labor on her part.

    Nonetheless, as I mucked this morning, I thought up a way to model mucking time mathematically (yes, I am a nerd who does math in his head while mucking) that explains and proves why the time saved in the morning would be much less than the time she would spend at night.

    As any stall mucker already knows, the first few rake-fulls contain much more poops than the last rake-fulls because, naturally, as the stall gets cleaner, you must muck through more bedding to remove the same amount of poops (what an economist would know as the law of decreasing returns).

    Such implies that the amount of poop removed is logarithmically proportional to the time spent to remove it. Based upon this assumption, I found that poops in our barn have a 3-minute half-life—i.e. it takes 3 minutes of mucking to halve the amount of poops in each stall. I calculated this assuming 12 minutes per stall and a removal rate of about 15/16 (about 94% of the poop lumps) before a stall is ‘clean enough’. (Obviously, individual half-lives can vary quite far from this 3-minute average, depending on the type of bedding used and how messy the horse; one of our worst stalls has a half-life of about 7.5 minutes, over double the median time).

    Knowing that our horses are turned in for 13.5 hours each night and that my wife would do her late night muck about 3 hours after turn-in, we can reason that only 3/13.5 of the night's poops (which is very close to the 1/4 estimated visually) were available.

    Of course, for a model to be valid, it must be able to make predictions. So I used it to estimate how many minutes of mucking it would take for 28.5% of the poops (= 3/13.5 + 1/16 left over from the last muck) to decay back to ‘clean enough’ levels (6.3%). This worked out to be about 6.6 minutes per stall or 33 minutes for all five stalls with 3-hours of poops, agreeing well with the half-an-hour-or-so of mucking observed.

    Applying the 3-minute half-life to the remaining 84% (= 10.5/13.5 + 1/16), the model predicts it would still take 11.2 minutes for each stall—a savings of only 0.8 minutes each, or a total time spent of 56 minutes versus 60 minutes without the late-night muck.

    So yes, dear wife, whom I know lurks these forums, the time you spend on the late night muck, while certainly appreciated, isn’t as helpful as you may think. (I would much rather muck for an additional 4 minutes if it means you have 33 more minutes to do a different late night activity with me :wink:)
     
  2. luv2show

    luv2show Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    791
    Likes Received:
    794
    :applaud:Hahaha! This is BEYOND adorable.

    Whose hubby is this? :loveflag:He is a keeper!!! :cowgirl::cowboy:
     
    6 people like this.
  3. bnttyra

    bnttyra Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Messages:
    12,902
    Likes Received:
    21,557
    OMG, I would think you are my husband except that mine never does any poop scooping ever!!

    Oh and he sucks at math too!
     
    6 people like this.
  4. tlwidener

    tlwidener Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Messages:
    15,198
    Likes Received:
    12,813
    Pretty awesome of you to help out.

    Pellets are much easier to muck ;) They'd save you both a lot of time.
     
    7 people like this.
  5. magicsdoublepla

    magicsdoublepla Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,468
    Likes Received:
    454
    while I didn't actually totally understand much of what you were talking about it was well worth the read to get to the end!
    good job at helping out so well :D
     
    4 people like this.
  6. miscetera

    miscetera Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1,309
    Any more at home like you?
     
    3 people like this.
  7. prairiesongks

    prairiesongks Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Messages:
    21,138
    Likes Received:
    47,301
    Congratulations on being a member of the "Manure Movers of This World" club! And welcome to HGS----any more time saving advice is always appreciated! And as a wife, I'm heading out the door to muck for the second time today:rofl:.......
     
    4 people like this.
  8. paval

    paval Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    2,423
    Likes Received:
    2,387
    Yep, every time I go out to the barn in the evening for whatever reason, if the horses are in and I see any manure in their stall, I pick it out! Last "bed check" is usually 9:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m., so that's the last poop scoop for the night. We use sawdust/shavings... so it only takes about 2 minutes per stall, if that.
     
    3 people like this.
  9. prairiesongks

    prairiesongks Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Messages:
    21,138
    Likes Received:
    47,301
    Since we live in the middle of wheat country, we bed with straw which is free. Yesterday with the arctic front coming in, we bedded extra heavily so the horses will have a comfy, warm bed to lay down in. Sure straw is a little harder to strip out, but it gets recycled via composting and put on the flower and veggie gardens. We're recycling:rofl:!
    Fortunately, our horses are fairly well stall-broken and will go out to the rough areas in the pasture so I rarely have to muck their stalls......Sundays we do strip the stalls and let them air out, then rebed them in the evening.
     
    2 people like this.
  10. JetdecksComet

    JetdecksComet Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,923
    Likes Received:
    1,536
    I personally always clean my stalls 2x per day when the horses stay inside because if I don't the bedding gets absolutely wrecked with trampled in poop, mixed to the point of no return. You must have nice horses to keep it in piles for you!
     
    1 person likes this.

Share This Page