Does anyone have a quick concise answer for how long you should let an animal's manure compost before adding it to the garden?
I'm going to be teaching some kids about using poop in the garden in a few weeks, and I just can't seem to narrow it down.
I want to first teach them which animals have good poop to use. The creatures I am including are rabbit, sheep, goat, cow, horse, worm, chicken, bat, alpaca, fish. Now I know composting the manures applies differently to livestock vs say worm or fish, but I want to throw in there that the manures need to compost for a while first. Is a year a safe measure to apply across the board you think?
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
posted 4 years ago
From my experience, rabbit can be used immediately.
Same for worm 'castings'.
(I believe) that bat guano falls into that category as well.
Livestock present different problems (particularly if if is raised non-organic):
Commercially raised livestock, (whether this be a CAFO, or a farmer raising a pair of hogs) has several factors that may make their manure useless for anything except 'factory farming'.
Antibiotics are often given to all livestock to "keep them healthy" (if the bastard dies, he cannot be sold). The residue from these medicines can cause severe problems to soil biology. It is the over usage of antibiotics that is spawning the 'super bugs' that our medical pros cannot find a way to stop. Eating these commercially raised critters seems to be leading to auto-immune deficiencies.
The second major concern for commercially raised (and, yes, many/most hobby farms) is de-worming the critters. Most commercial worming medications are toxic to the soil biota long after they have passed through the target animal. I have heard of people, several years later, still being effected by the negative effects of this. These medications seem to affect soil biology for an extended period.
Sadly, 'hobby farmers' are often worse than professional farmers in regards to use of these various medications. (They know nothing, therefore they ask the vet, and he sells them what the salesman has 'suggested' that he keep on the shelf.
I'm not trying to 'stir-shit', but there is a lot more to shit than meets the eye.
posted 4 years ago
I am totally with you on every bit of that
I would like to go more in depth with that information after I get them past the basics. I'm probably going to primarily have 2-5 year olds with hopes of having children ranging into their teens. I want to start really basic with everyone, so I was just looking to make sure if I say they should let most animal manures compost for at least one year that I wouldn't be too off base- haha!
composting manures is more a matter of heat, in my area. I can get horse, cow and goat dung just by asking to rake up a pasture. I raise hogs so I always have Hog crap on hand.
the bedding litter is usually rooted out of the hog house by the hogs then they poop and pee on it which makes something for me to clean up before putting in fresh bedding.
I layer this litter with fresh grass clippings and when I'm done for the day I lay the carpets on the heap and let those grass clippings do their heating up thing.
I recently did a heap with cow manure and horse manure from the farm behind ours. It currently is at 180 f. per the compost thermometer, I expect that any pathogens will be dead.
The farmer now uses DE for his wormer for the cows, I love that since I no longer need to go through a mycelium stage before I can use it in a garden.
By the way, bat guano is very "HOT" and it is loaded with pathogens when freshly collected. We have plans to put up additional bat houses and I will lay out something under those to collect the droppings.
I will then add those to a heap so the heap can benefit from all that nitrogen and the pathogens will die from the heat created. (Chicken crap is very hot too, treat it the same way).
So far one of the strangest HOT items I've used is sheep shit, that stuff is lesser than bat or chicken guano but it is hotter than cow, horse or hog manures, so if I can find some locally, I'll compost it with hay or straw and grass clippings for a few months to tone it down.
One of my biggest goofs ever was when I short composted chicken shit from a poultry man's houses. I burned up one whole crop because I didn't compost it for 6 months, instead I did a tumbler full and used it at 20 days, huge mistake, very costly.
I've always understood rabbit, sheep, and goat manure to be "green" manures and can be used right away. I raise both rabbits and sheep and use both immediately (the only issue at times is when it's mixed with hay, which typically then heads straight to the compost pile).
Chicken manure I compost and use after 6 months. But to be on the safe side, 1 year is a good time frame for most manures. I'm a little more careful with my pig manure, however, and be sure to hot compost that well before use....stemming back to when I was a child and a friend of mine got pig manure one year for her garden...her son (who always ate carrots plucked straight from the garden) ended up with worms. Yuck.
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