Sorry folks – I just couldn’t help fielding this one on the blog! Aside from making me smile, it is actually an excellent question (thanks to Alberto for submitting it!).
Hello , I have four dogs and I’m starting with two worm
compostinting bins, one is going to be for food scrapes and the other
just for dog boo, I was reading that dog boo is very good and that if
you give the worms dog boo that’s all you should give them to eat and
notting else is that true, and is dog boo a good food to give the
worms and does it make a good compost and compost tea. Thank You
I am glad to hear that you are setting up two different systems – one normal one, and one just for dog waste.
While I agree that this material is rich in nitrogen and thus has lots of composting potential, it is not something I would recommend adding to a normal compost/worm bin. Dog feces can contain human pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella etc, so you would need to be extra careful when working with a worm bin containing this material. I would actually suggest setting up a special (preferably outdoor) system for vermicomposting pet wastes – something well separated from your other compost bins. To be totally honest, I wouldn’t directly use the resulting compost, and also wouldn’t make compost tea out of it.
Believe it or not, I am actually very open-minded about the use of ALL types of manure (including our own), and feel that many of our modern methods for dealing with these materials are incredibly wasteful (rather ironic, don’t you think?). That being said, I still think it’s important to acknowledge any potential hazards (without getting overly paranoid) and choose your methods accordingly.
Creating a composting system for your pets would be quite easy. I’d simply dig a hole in the ground, add a nice thick layer of shredded cardboard (or some other carbon-rich material) then start adding the pet waste, making sure to also include some more shredded cardboard or paper each time the dog waste is added. I would likely place a regular plastic backyard composter (one of the solid black ones) over top to help protect the materials from excess precipitation and curious children. Dog feces is a very rich material and would almost certainly need to be aged (or precomposted) before the worms will want to feed on it. I would let the hole fill to the top, then let it age for a few more weeks before adding any worms. In the meantime you could start a second system so you have some place to add your dog waste. If you have a cover over top you will likely need to add some water as you go – but you’ll want to be quite careful with the amount. You want the contents of the ‘composter’ to be moist but not soaking wet. Speaking of which, it is also very important to locate your pet waste composter a good distance (perhaps 100 yards or more) from the nearest water body.
As I mentioned, I would not remove any of the finished compost and use it, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t strategically position the composter near some trees or shrubs (I wouldn’t recommend having it anywhere near your vegetable garden however) so they can benefit from all the nutrients. This way you are making good use of the compost (especially if they happen to be fruit/nut producing trees or shrubs) without having to move the material itself.
I’m actually planning to create a system like this for our cat waste this year. This is another material with a lot of potential as a nitrogen source, but also one that needs to be handled with caution (in fact it should not be handled AT ALL by pregnant women or young children, especially if the cats are allowed outdoors).
Hope this helps!
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