Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Collecting And Using Animal Manure

When you own livestock you have access to a very valuable commodity.  Their Poo.

I doesn't matter if you have cows, horses, donkeys, alpacas, sheep, goats or chickens they all poo and if you can collect it you can use it to add fertility to your garden.

We like to collect lots of cow poo out of our paddock every few months and fill one of our compost bays. When we last filled up the compost bay it took about 8 wheel barrow loads to fill it.  We then give it a good water an leave it to break down for a couple of months making sure to keep it damp.

The bay to the right currently has a mixed compost in it and to this we add the chicken manure from the chicken house.  We use a layer of wood shavings under their perches to collect all of the droppings on. When we clean out the chicken house we add it to the compost pile and give it a good mix.

Mushroom compost in the left bay
Cow poo in the center
Mixed compost in the right bay

Different types of manure need to be treated differently.  Here is a bit of an overview.

Although lower in organic matter than other traditional manures, alpaca manure has a lot of value in the garden. It does not need to be aged or composted before use and you can spread it directly onto garden plants without burning them. Best of all, it does not contain any weed seeds

Sheep manure is referred to as cold manure because of its low nitrogen content. This makes it an excellent addition to any garden.  Sheep manure can also be used as organic mulch. Because of its low odor, sheep manure can easily be used to top dress garden beds.  It is high in both phosphorus and potassium, essential elements for optimal plant growth.

Horse manure is a good source of nutrients and a popular addition to many home gardens. Composting horse manure can help your compost pile become super charged however horse manure may also contain more weed seeds. For this reason, it is usually better to use composted horse manure in the garden. The heat produced from composting can effectively kill most of these seeds as well as any harmful bacteria that may be present.Fresh manure should not be used on plants to prevent the possibility of burning their roots.

Cattle manure is basically made up of digested grass and grain (depending on what they are fed). Cow dung is high in organic materials and rich in nutrients. It contains about 3 percent nitrogen, 2 percent phosphorus, and 1 percent potassium.  It’s usually recommended that it be aged or composted prior to its use 

Using goat manure in garden beds can create the optimal growing conditions for your plants. The naturally dry pellets are not only easy to collect and apply, but are less messy than many other types of manure. Goats not only produce neater pelletized droppings, but their manure doesn't typically attract insects or burn plants as does manure from cows or horses. Goat manure is virtually odorless and is beneficial for the soil.

Chicken manure for vegetable garden fertilizing is excellent, but there are some things you need to know about it in order to use it correctly. Chicken manure fertilizer is very high in nitrogen and also contains a good amount of potassium and phosphorus. The high nitrogen and balanced nutrients is the reason that chicken manure compost is the best kind of manure to use.  But the high nitrogen in the chicken manure is dangerous to plants if the manure has not been properly composted. Raw chicken manure fertilizer can burn, and even kill, plants if used. Composting chicken manure mellows the nitrogen and makes the manure suitable for the garden.

Do you collect poo from your animals?
How do you use it?

1 comment:

  1. My folks have Alpaca's and I get them to bring me the poo for the veggies, its great because I can just add it straight in. However our chook poo sits for a few months before I add it to the soil,I also dig it through more thoroughly.


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