Donna Campbell Smith is an author, freelance writer, and photographer. She has an AAS degree in equine tech and is a certified instructor.
A Tool You Will Spend Many Hours Using
Whether you own one horse or fifty the most indispensable tool in your barn is the muck rake. You might think you can go into the farm supply and pick up any ole muck rake, but I beg to differ with you. Stop and think how many hours you and that muck rake are going to be spending with each other. Do you want a metal or wooden handle? Do you want steel or plastic tines? How many tines, how long a handle, basket or no basket design.
I interviewed a few barn managers to get their thoughts on muck rakes, aka manure forks or apple pickers. .Some liked the rakes with metal tines that are placed close together. Some like the metal handle because it is lighter, others prefer the wooded handle because it doesn't get cold in winter and is easier to grip. Believe it or not high tech has come to this lowly tool, and I found some new innovations in muck rakes. The choices become even more interesting. Look in any horse supply catalog or Google muck rake or manure fork and you'll find out I am telling you the truth.
DuraFork has been around a while, we've all heard of this brand. The new DuraFork Ergonomic Manure Fork I found interesting. It retails for $23 and claims to relieve some of the strain associated with mucking stalls. DuraFork heads are made from polycarbonates for strength and flexibility, and they come in assorted colors. You can buy the head only if you have a headless handle sitting in the corner of the barn. The DuraPitch comes in two sizes, has angled tines, and a basket to prevent manure from falling off the fork.
Another fork, FYNA-LITE, is made by a British manufacturer but also available in the United States. The FYNA-LITE is made of spring steel tines and is said to be virtually unbreakable. The space between the tines is 5/8 inch. The FYNA-LITE Rubber Matt Fork won a BETA Innovation award. The tines are rounded so you can pick up manure and bedding without poking and damaging rubber stall mats.
The Future Fork by Animal Healthcare is another well-known manure fork. The head is lightweight polymer. The tines are 16 inches long with four triangular side tines to help keep the poop on the fork. It has a one-year warranty and comes in six colors.
For miniature horse owners there is the Jeffer's mini-manure and bedding fork. I don't understand why the handle is only 36 inches long. Just don't think those mini-horses are going to clean their own stalls, and I don't like having to bend my back to work with that short handle. Those mini-forks are perfect for the youngster to use as they learn the reality of horse ownership. Then for the mini-poops try the Fine Tine Stall Fork with thirty tines. It is designed for use in stalls bedded with pellets or sawdust, but will also keep those tiny poop balls from falling off.
So, don't take shopping for a manure fork so lightly next time. There is much to consider when choosing that tool you will be using at least daily.
max on November 14, 2014:
Unbelievable 5 Year Warranty on a manure fork !....Wave Fork by Noble Outfitters is Durable and Lightweight...
versZa on May 11, 2013:
Check out our new video ...we tested our Manure fork under 6 Tons of force to show how Durable our versZa Wave Fork Manure Fork is ....
We are very excited to bring to market a Quality product made in the USA that is "Built to Last "....by the way we have not broken a single tine in over 1 year !...that's what we call Durability.
We pride ourselves on bringing Quality products to market at a reasonable cost....versZa.com
versZa on August 20, 2012:
Check out versZa Wave Fork !
The Tines are all independent , this gives the Fork a SuperStructure when assembled.
The tines can be customized to suit your color pallet.
The Wave shaped tines are remarkable they hold the manure at the back (more capacity) this allows a balanced weight distribution and enables more efficient mucking, you can use the front fork section to add more without it rolling off !
It's truly the most innovative Manure Rake on the market !
It super lightweight and the ergonomics have been optimized for comfort.
Tiana on September 04, 2011:
Think the original fork does the job pretty good
manure mover on November 10, 2010:
The Shake'n Fork is by far the most durable and easiest on your back, arms and wrists! Manual or Motorized it's worth the extra cost to not have screws falling off and heads to replace. These tines are so strong they will wear down before they break!
mike on October 12, 2009:
Great well thought out article...keep them coming!