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Got poop?

 
Edward Gaybba
Posts: 11
Location: South Africa
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Permies around the world, especially the urban kind, have pets. Where there’s pets, there’s poop…and plenty of it too! However, people are often divided on whether to use it or dispose of it.

A friend of ours – a 25 year veteran in EWM (Earthworm Waste Management) and experimenter of note – gave us these tips to share with you at Permies.com:

> In nature nothing goes to waste. You can put your pet poop to good use by converting it into a pathogen-free soil conditioner/organic facilitator.
> In its rawest form, pet poop is sometimes added to compost. This creates a decent soil conditioner, but it still has to be broken down into a plant-friendly food state by the soil micro-organisms (assuming they’re present to begin with). However, this approach is not ideal for urban environments as it tends to attract pests (e.g. flies, mice/rats, etc).
> Composting earthworms on the other hand, the “MasterChef’s” of soil, are perfect for this task. Simply purchase an “earthworm doggy bin” (or make your own) and get started.
> As these earthworms process the poop, odours and pathogens are removed, the pH levels are balanced, and billions of beneficial micro-organisms are created.
> In Permaculture terms, wasted output now becomes useful input. Generally speaking, for every 3m³ of poop you put in (that’s one BIG dog) you should get out 1m³ of earthworm castings.
> Plus it’s free…actually you’ll be saving money. 1 Cup of earthworm castings is equivalent to applying roughly 30 cups of manure-based compost…and you only need 1 cup of castings per square meter of soil.
> And there you have it…a simple, environmentally friendly way to feed life in your soil.
> A SPECIAL NOTE – All pet foods are not created equal! Some could contain heavy metals (e.g. lead, aluminium, etc.) which are greedily taken up by green leafy vegetables. For this reason earthworm castings from pet poop should not be used for growing food crops, although they may be used in land rehabilitation, growing ornamentals, cover plants, etc.


Want to know more about this, or have other questions related to earthworm waste management? Send your questions my way and I’ll make sure to pass them on for feedback.


Yours sincerely,
Daddy Redbeard.
doggie_loo.JPG
[Thumbnail for doggie_loo.JPG]
Example earthworm doggie loo
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Excellent post on this subject Edward. We compost everything with worms or in heaps on our homestead. I find this idea of keeping the dog poo separate interesting, we just mix stuff together in the worm bins instead of having separate bins for different items.
 
Ci Shepard
Posts: 16
Location: Vancouver Island, BC
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I have one small raw fed dog and have been putting her droppings into a homemade Doggy Doolie (ie. covered hole in the ground). I also have a small worm bin that I just started for my kitchen scraps, but I think I might give this idea a try, and use the worm bin for dog waste ... reading various posts on pet waste composting and looking at Rose Seemans book has me inspired!
 
Diana Marmont
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Location: NE Washington State
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I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this book. We are using "loveable loos" on our new property. We currently have one small dog and a puppy, who won't be so small for long.

Given the amount of aging and the volume of 2 adult humans (sometimes with 2 almost adult humans) vs 2 very small dogs (who do most of their business where we can't find it), I've been tossing it into the humanure compost. No pet food here, they eat people quality food, so no concerns about heavy metals.

I'd originally planned to compost their waste separately but realized it would take forever to have a big enough volume for hot compost.

Like the idea of a worm bin for it, but does the bin smell initially? Moisture control is an issue right? As well as temperature (not too hot, not too cold)?
 
Edward Gaybba
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Location: South Africa
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Excellent post on this subject Edward. We compost everything with worms or in heaps on our homestead. I find this idea of keeping the dog poo separate interesting, we just mix stuff together in the worm bins instead of having separate bins for different items.
Thanks Bryant...no need to separate things at a homestead, it's just more acceptable for town-folk
 
Edward Gaybba
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Location: South Africa
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Ci Shepard wrote:I have one small raw fed dog and have been putting her droppings into a homemade Doggy Doolie (ie. covered hole in the ground). I also have a small worm bin that I just started for my kitchen scraps, but I think I might give this idea a try, and use the worm bin for dog waste ... reading various posts on pet waste composting and looking at Rose Seemans book has me inspired!
Very cool...go for it...it works great
 
Edward Gaybba
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Diana Marmont wrote:I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this book. We are using "loveable loos" on our new property. We currently have one small dog and a puppy, who won't be so small for long.

Given the amount of aging and the volume of 2 adult humans (sometimes with 2 almost adult humans) vs 2 very small dogs (who do most of their business where we can't find it), I've been tossing it into the humanure compost. No pet food here, they eat people quality food, so no concerns about heavy metals.

I'd originally planned to compost their waste separately but realized it would take forever to have a big enough volume for hot compost.

Like the idea of a worm bin for it, but does the bin smell initially? Moisture control is an issue right? As well as temperature (not too hot, not too cold)?
It shouldn't smell, Diana...but if it does, try adding some EM (fancy term for microorganisms, specifically Lactobacilicus) or add more carbon (brown material)...I just add a handful of Bokashi. Moisture and temperature, as with all compost, can be issues but compost worms are more resilient than what people think...simply ease them into the process (i.e. get them used to the new food by adding small amounts of softer poop...they'll soon be munching away happily).
 
Rose Seemann
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Location: Aurora, Colorado
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Wow - lots of excellent information about turning pet poop into compost and vermicompost! Adding some Bokashi to a worm bin does help break down material and make it tastier for the little guys. Re heavy metals and worms - I came across an interesting item while writing the book.

Researchers from the Pondicherry University in India discovered that earthworms can significantly decrease heavy metals, like, cadmium, copper, lead, manganese and zinc, from municipal solid waste. Microorganisms in the worms’ primitive digestive tract pull heavy metal ions from material passing through. Metals become locked in the worms’ tissue. When the worms are removed, the vermicompost is safe for agricultural use.

Remediation of heavy metals from urban waste by vermicomposting using earthworms: Eudrilus eugeniae, Eisenia fetida and Perionyx excavatus, Swati Pattnaik, M. Vikram Reddy, International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, 2012 Vol.10, No.2/3, pp.284 - 296
 
nancy sutton
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Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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Does all this apply to cat tootsie rolls? With the taxoplasm.. thingie, maybe not?

And second question, re: the utility of bokashi, i.e., lactobacillus... would raw sauerkraut liquid (or homemade yogurt whey, for that matter)... work as well, considering that it is largely lactobaccilus, as I understand. (I figured one of the spellings would be correct
 
Jessie Robertson
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Location: London Ontario
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Rose Seemann wrote: Metals become locked in the worms’ tissue. When the worms are removed, the vermicompost is safe for agricultural use.


Very interesting research Rose. Does this mean that if the worms are left to die in the compost pile the heavy metals are released back into the system? Do they render the materials inert or do the worms have to be harvested in order to remediate the soil?

We have 3 large dogs and a cat who's litterbox is the outdoors. I would love to be able to compost their waste but The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins doesn't touch on it much.
We have a very lazy composting method that involves no turning at all (except to move it from one bay to the next when it fills up) so I'm not sure if temperatures would get high enough.
 
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