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Composting dog feces  RSS feed

 
Blayne Prowse
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Location: Cumberland BC
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I search the forums and have not found any good leads. I live in town, with an average sized lot. One large dog, a fair amount of poop, and I really dis-like sending it to the land fill. Was hoping that someone has experience so I can keep the fertility on my property. I was thinking a "humanure" pile Jenkins style, using wood mulch. I have seen various buried trash can models, but in my mind more carbon would be better. What do you think? Thanks.
 
Zach Muller
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I have had luck making a separate compost pile that is for dog poop, and yard trimmings. But I used to rake yard trimmings into it, so it meant more work. So I started a new system.

Currently I collect the poop into double stacked paper grocery sacks(free) and leave them out of the way under some trees in the shade. I have found that it stays there until the bag disintegrates and at that point the poop is pretty broken down. Next step is the chickens finding it and scratching it down into the soil. This makes for an easy process.
All I have to do is collect the poop in the bags, and the end result is
-keeping the material on site and only spending minimal energy collecting and moving
-feeds nutrients to big old trees that are well away from the main edible plant area
-collects bugs for chickens to find and eat
-chickens hanging out leaving their poop in a good place(instead of the walkway)

It works on my property, but with a small yard it may not work well.
 
Blayne Prowse
Posts: 53
Location: Cumberland BC
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That sounds like a great system. However it will not work for me since I do not have either big trees or chooks. I am planting trees but they are small. Creating a nutrient rich mulch would be very beneficial to my babies. It wouldn't hurt to just give it a shot!
 
John Elliott
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Blayne Prowse wrote: However it will not work for me since I do not have either big trees or chooks.


I think you can make it work for you. Add some wood chips to the bags and any mushrooms you come across.
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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How about a 4-6" diameter pipe, sunk near the new trees. Drop dog poop in and forget about it.
 
Dan Boone
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Growing up in Alaska we used to board working sled dog teams for their out-of-town owners in the woods behind the garden. We're talking 12-16 large sled dogs, so lots of poop.

My mother would work it into her hot compost pile (alwsys steaming even at 40 below). She would also dig it into the potato beds after harvest, let it blend in over winter and spring, then plant potatos into the beds. She also put it in burlap bags and made a solar manure tea in 55 gallon drums to use in her greenhouse. Many may criticise some of these practises but I'm sharing them because they worked.
 
Nick Kitchener
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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Nothing wrong with dog poop. It contains fats and proteins that aren't present in ruminant poop so it can get a bit rancid and smelly as it breaks down.

Your biggest issue will likely be the conditioned revulsion factor as you work with it. Being "well formed", you will need to break it up somehow. Maybe soaking it in water until it breaks down into a slurry and then mixing it into the carbon source...
 
William Bronson
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I believe dog poo is considered ill suited for manure tea and composting because dogs can harbour parasites that also prey on humans. Basically its like humanure from a human that will eat poop, road kill and uncooked wild game, etc.

Treat it like humanure, should be fine
 
Blayne Prowse
Posts: 53
Location: Cumberland BC
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Thanks for the info. I am going to build a pallet compost box and layer poop and wood mulch, straw, kitchen scraps. Probably urine too. Give it a good cook and see what happens! I just might bring some chickens in soon and add their litter as well.
 
Wayne Mackenzie
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Location: Sunizona Az., USA @ 4,400' Zone 8a
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I knew a guy who had some type of pet pig who ate ALL of the dog poop in the yard. Talk about a composter.
 
dan long
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Wayne Mackenzie wrote:I knew a guy who had some type of pet pig who ate ALL of the dog poop in the yard. Talk about a composter.


Sounds more like "redigesting" than composting. We have a joke about some of our dogs who eat dog feces. We say "they want to give the dog kibble a second chance at digestion".
 
dan long
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Blayne Prowse wrote:I search the forums and have not found any good leads. I live in town, with an average sized lot. One large dog, a fair amount of poop, and I really dis-like sending it to the land fill. Was hoping that someone has experience so I can keep the fertility on my property. I was thinking a "humanure" pile Jenkins style, using wood mulch. I have seen various buried trash can models, but in my mind more carbon would be better. What do you think? Thanks.


If i were you, i would do one of two things.

1) Compost it EXACTLY as Jenkins describes. Don't F around with wood mulch. Do sawdust and straw. Keep 2 5X5 piles for everything: weeds, grass clippings, food scraps and humanure (hey, if your going through the trouble to manage the pile, you may as well) included. Fill for a year then age for a year. Get a compost thermometer and make sure its safe. When it's done, apply to the veggie garden.

2) Compost it separately. I wouldn't use scraps if i were you, as it is broken down by primarily fungus and not bacteria. Strive to keep the pile hot and keep the fecal matter covered at all times so that you don't attract pests.

Thats my two cents.
 
Blayne Prowse
Posts: 53
Location: Cumberland BC
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Just wondering what is wrong with wood mulch? I would use douglas fir mulch from a pole yard. It is long, stringy, coarse material. I used it in our steer shelter last summer and it composted beautifully. Made lots of heat(didn't check with a thermometer, but was steaming) and broke down the manure really well. Sawdust is tougher to come by and straw can get expensive. Plus it is brought in from some distance, and not organic(my local supply). I am reading Jenkins book again and will be creating a pile for kitchen materials very soon. If I can get it hot, I will start adding the poop. Not bringing in a pig to eat the poop!
 
Sam Allison
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Location: Northumberland fells, UK
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This is bizarre I was just coming (and I joined especially - although I've been lurking for ages!) to ask about dog poo, I hope you don't mind me adding my thought/questions here rather than starting a new thread (I'm pretty new to permaculture too, so I might well be talking total rubbish.......)

We have a lot of dogs compared to 'normal' people and I've been looking for a way to use all the poo. I was talking to a man at crufts a few years ago about dog poo wormeries - which basically were wheely bins with wire mesh that you add sawdust (I think) and worms to. It seemed to cost an awful lot for what it was and I've heard mixed reviews about them.

I've noticed though that:
a) the chickens go mad for any dog poo they can find, at the minute we have plenty of space so the dog muck is just chucked on the patch where we burn anything that needs to be burned.
b) the place we put it always has amazing grass/nettle growth all summer, and the bit in the next field where the water from cleaning the kennels soaks away into has the lushest grass in the field.

I've also just watched Geoff Lawsons video where he talks about feeding chickens without grains (basically off a compost heap).

All this got me thinking, could I start a compost heap in my big chicken pen, where I put dog muck, shavings from the kennels and some fresh farmyard manure and then leave the chickens to pick it over for a year or so before using it to plant a forage crop for the chickens, that way I hopefully reduce the amount of chicken food I need to buy, the dog poo gets used and the chickens end up with a decent compost for their next forage crop. This way the dog poo gets used but in a way that should avoid any nasty bacteria finding it's way into my veg patch.


What do you think?
 
Theresa McCuaig
Posts: 30
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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We use this system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sud1JgBSc1Y and pour septic starter on it in early spring. In mid-summer, we add red wigglers. Written directions available as a .PDF download from the USDA at ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/AK/Publications/dogwastecomposting2.pdf.


 
Dave Miller
pollinator
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Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Theresa McCuaig wrote:We use this system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sud1JgBSc1Y and pour septic starter on it in early spring. In mid-summer, we add red wigglers. Written directions available as a .PDF download from the USDA at ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/AK/Publications/dogwastecomposting2.pdf.


I use a similar method. I used to use a garbage can with the bottom cut out, but one time I couldn't get the garbage can out of the ground (finally did get it but it got ripped to pieces), and it wasn't really serving any purpose -- my ground there is mostly clay so the ground holds its shape when you dig a hole. I also don't use any starter enzyme or whatever that is, and I use compostable poop bags.

So my procedure is:
1. Pick a spot which is not near any root crops (e.g. under a decorative tree)
2. Buy or make some kind of lid. I had a lid left over from a heavy duty container that I bought at a feed store. The lid needs to be heavy enough to not blow away.
3. Dig a hole that is about the same diameter as the lid, or a bit smaller. Dig as deep as possible, using a post hole digger. This is a lot of work, but I only need to do it every 1.5 years. This gives me a lot of clay which I spread around the yard (free minerals).
4. Place some flat rocks around the edge of the hole, which are about the same thickness. Put the lid over the rocks. Move them closer together if the lid falls in the hole. The rocks allow you to adjust the diameter of the hole a bit, to fit the lid. Also they lift the lid off the ground a bit which makes it easier to grab or kick open (the lid does not have a handle).
5. Put a 1"-2" diameter stick or board in the hole at an angle, so that if a mouse or something falls in the hole, it can crawl out.
6. Throw a few sticks in the bottom of the hole, to provide some air spaces at the bottom. The hole is ready to use.
7. When you scoop the dog pop in your yard, cover the bottom of the bucket with some weeds or grass, then scoop the poop into the bucket.
8. Dump the bucket into the hole, including the weeds/grass. The weeds will be on top of the poop, which keeps the odor down.
9. Maybe throw in some sticks or wood chips every once in a while.
10. With poop bags, use compostable bags and just throw them in. If you leave a gap between rocks, you can just drop the bag on the ground and kick it into the hole.

If the hole smells, you need to be putting in more weeds/grass/sticks/wood chips than you are currently.

I am on the fourth hole thus far. Each hole lasts about 1.5 years for our large golden retriever. The contents take more than 1.5 years to completely decompose, so as it continues to sink I throw compost materials on it to keep the ground level.

When the hole starts to get full, don't panic, it will sink as the material below decomposes. There will be a period where it seems like the hole is full, but each time you go to add more it will have sunk just enough to hold the new material. If you live in a dry climate, you will need to add some water to hasten the composting process.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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This is all great info! I too was just recently thinking about how much I do not want to just through away my new pup's poo. I like the hole in the ground system, sounds easiest!

 
Bill Erickson
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Being a lazy old fella, I just hose it into the yard. I don't worry about parasites since my yard is fenced in and the dogs only get what I give them. Since I like to water the yard anyway, this allows me the childish pleasure of using water to "spread the wealth", as it were. As Sam noted above, areas that get the effluvia are very lush and green, so instead of spots being thick and green in the yard, I get larger areas. I don't have to use lawn fertilizer and my lawn is happy and the chickens are happy when I move their tractor to that area. I did it on my 1/4 acre when I lived in Eastern North Carolina and I do it on my acre of yard here in Northwest Montana to good effect in both places. Winter can be a bit messy, but generally by the time the snow has melted off the yard, all the winter poop has been broken down from the melt and the rain. I also have them trained to go out from the house and not do their business where we actively do things year around.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Yeah I a am living with three people who just don't want it anywhere near any of their food so we have just been picking it up and throwing it away but it feels so wasteful!
 
Max Kennedy
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Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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My wife runs a small boarding kennel here in NE Ontario and we've been composting it like humanure, as well as kitchen scraps, for the last 3 years. The 1st bin finally filled this past winter and will be allowed to sit for the next year. Then the result will be mixed with our normal high clay soil to create raised beds for flowers for a year before harvesting it for the vegetable garden. The extensive time and slow composting will have removed disease organisms and enrich the soil regularly.
 
Rose Seemann
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Location: Aurora, Colorado
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Several of you are using in-ground septic systems for degrading dog poop (as in City Farmer/Vancouver video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sud1JgBSc1Y). I've recently seen another video that suggests putting compostable dog poop bags in the unit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if_nHfA93Mk. Has anyone tried this using compostable bags? If so, do they biodegrade down there fairly quickly or just fill up the unit? Is it smarter to shovel it in?
 
Max Kennedy
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Our compost is above ground but we have generally seen thes bags very slow to break down so wouldn't put them in a septic system.
 
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