Pet Waste Vermicomposter – 06-13-13

Just wanted to post a quick update on the “Super Simple Pet Waste Vermicomposter” front.

Things seem to be moving along nicely in this system. Initially the cat waste zone was colonized by a variety of critters other than worms (including lots of springtails), but I’m happy to report that I’ve been finding lots of small Red Worms in there now, and the waste materials themselves seem to be disappearing.

I am starting to wish that I had used a bin more like the one set up for my “Vermi-Fertilization & Watering System“. That size of bin would make MUCH more sense for something like pet waste, which is never in short supply for those with cats (especially if adding compostable litter as well) or dogs. Even with the “experimental” quantities I’ve been adding, things are getting a bit cramped in there. Hopefully the overall level of material in the bucket will settle down a fair bit more as the worm population grows and they process more of the original bedding etc.

While I’m not going to claim that this system is entirely responsible for the health of the comfrey plant sitting behind it (I can thank ALL the nearby composting systems for that), it is clear that this plant is going to reach Jurassic proportions this season! It hasn’t even reached the blooming stage and it’s already far bigger than any of the (blooming) comfrey plants in my other beds. If you are familiar with the size of an Earth Machine composter (black bin in background) you should have a feel for just HOW big this plant is getting!

Speaking of composter – believe it or not, there is actually another (neglected) composter sitting directly behind the comfrey plant! Kim-from-Milwaukee’s recent (awesome) tip about using chick starter as a compostable kitty litter has me thinking I should overhaul that bin and once again set it up for compostable kitty litter processing. I’ve been getting SO fed up with sending the clumping clay stuff to the landfill. My cats (one of them quite old now) have been using the stuff up like crazy – which has been driving ME crazy! LoL


Anyway, I’ll be sure to continue keeping everyone posted on the pet waste vermicomposting front!

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Comments

    • Kim from Milwaukee
    • June 13, 2013

    Bentley, the chick starter clumps, by the way. Not sure if I mentioned that. I stopped using the pine based litter because it didn’t clump and got everywhere.

    The corn based stuff…stay away from. That stuff gets anaerobic and gross unless it’s thoroughly mixed with dry browns. Found out the hard way! Not sure if worms like the corn, either.

    • Jessica Smith
    • June 13, 2013

    Okay Bentley,
    Say we don’t have a bed like this one, but still want to try our hand at pet waste composting…how would you recommend going about this? I.e. should I dig a hole to put it in so worms can still vacate? Should I build a mini flower bed so worms can get in out? Or, should I give it a try without worrying about them getting in and out?

  1. We used to use stove pellets for kitty litter, and it was very successful. Use one quart of stove pellets in a regular sized cat box. It will look like a pitiful amount. Take a spray bottle and spray the pellets about 15-20 times with water. Enough of the pellets will disintegrate into sawdust to make it appealing to the cat, leaving many for later.

    We found that the stove pellets absolutely killed any smell from the cat box, and if you scooped out the feces once in a while, the sawdust will last a very long time. When you think it’s at the end of its usefulness (or you’ve reached the end of your patience), empty into your pet poop composter.

    • Bentley
    • June 13, 2013

    JESSICA – If you don’t feel like making/installing a basic pet waste bin as I’ve described you could certainly use a regular backyard composter (recommend you ONLY use it for that and nothing else). I really like this container approach the best, though, since it’s best not to have these wastes running off into the surrounding environment every time it rains (although plastic backyard composters are actually quite dry so probably not a concern with them). This is why I wouldn’t recommend simply using a pit.
    ————
    PRISWELL – Thanks for sharing that! How much do the stove pellets cost?

    • Raven
    • June 13, 2013

    A cat (especially an older one) that pees a lot could be a sign of a cat with diabetes or kidney disease. I hope that isn’t the case. 🙁

    • Bentley
    • June 14, 2013

    KIM – weird. Your comment suddenly showed up! lol
    Thanks for the additional info! I am excited to try out the chick starter – I think I’m going to try it mixed with some super cheap (earth friendly) stove pellets I was able to find at a local store. Should help to balance the C:N a bit better. Maybe I’ll even put some shredded paper in there.

    The last eco-friendly litter I used was corn based. I actually didn’t mind it too much, but it was pretty costly. The worms seemed to do quite well in it once it had aged, exposed to the elements.
    ——-
    RAVEN – Yeah, unfortunately I don’t think our older cat is in great shape these days!

    • Paul from Winnipeg
    • June 14, 2013

    I can confirm Priswell’s comment as we use the stove pellets as well. I like the smell of wood that it emits. Much better than…

    • Bentley
    • June 15, 2013

    Hi Guys – I grabbed some stove pellets from Canadian Tire today (you are right, Paul – they ARE cheaper than even the cheapest clumping kitty litter – very cool!). I plan to integrate some of the chick starter (once I buy some) to make it more like actual litter, but have started playing with it already. I’m curious to know how your cats responded to it initially? I’ve kept one regular box going and they have only been using it so far. I think the feel of the pellets is throwing them off.

    • TB Bikeman
    • June 17, 2013

    Isn’t it true you’ll have to pull that can out of the ground periodically to empty it of compost? That seems to me like it’ll be pretty difficult, especially if it’s really full.

    • Bentley
    • June 17, 2013

    TB – I think the ideal scenario would be to have a series of these bins sitting close to each other. Once you get close to the top of one you move on to the next one, and so on. By the time the last one is full, the first one will have sat for a LONG time and the volume of material inside and moisture levels will be greatly reduced making it much easier to remove.

    I am actually going to be upgrading to a much larger bin (like my vermi-fertilization and watering system) now that I’m back using compostable kitty litter. My current (small) bin won’t be hard to remove at all, and I will simply transfer the contents over to the new bin once installed in the ground.

    • David
    • June 27, 2013

    Hi there fellow worm nutters! Please send me details on how to build a pet waste vermicomposter! I’ve got 3 dogs, they eat a lot………..you see the problem? I’ve also got 34 worm boxes, absolutely FULL of worms. They’re currently on a diet of fruit,veg,various kinds of buck dung (i’m lucky enuf to live in Africa) but i do not wish to add the doggydoo to the boxes. Please help!! I would also like to know where i could use the resulting compost and tea. I’m sure NOT on food plants? Please do all take care, awaiting your response with breathless anticipation!! Regards……David

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