- Get a Load of Our Manure Guide
- Composting Sheep Manure: How To Compost Sheep Manure For The Garden
- Benefits of Sheep Manure as Fertilizer
- Composting Sheep Manure
- Finding Sheep Manure for the Garden
- Applying Sheep Manure
- What is the Best Manure for Gardens?
- Dreaming of a beautiful, productive veggie garden?
- Pete’s Patch
Get a Load of Our Manure Guide
The most important point to consider when choosing manure is how much nitrogen it has in it. Most manures have so much nitrogen they will ‘burn’ the roots of plants, making the leaves brown and stunted rather than green and lush. These are called ‘hot’ manures and must always be composted with carbon-rich materials, like leaves or straw, before they are applied to the soil.
Some manures – mainly from large herbivores like horses and cows – already have the ideal carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of 25-to-1, meaning they can be tilled directly into the soil without worry of overfertilizing. These ‘cool’ manures tend to be crumbly with bits of grass still visible in them. The hottest manures come from omnivores, like chickens and pigs, and are stinkier and slimier than those with less nitrogen.
There is a spectrum of potency in herbivore manure. In general, the more grass an animal has in its diet, the lower the nitrogen content. Animals that like to eat woody plants (goats) or vegetables (rabbits) have more concentrated nutrients in their feces.
Herbivore manure is relatively cool and is fair game for using in the garden without composting first, though in most cases it’s best to age the manure for at least a month or two before using.
Manure from dairy cows is a good bet for using straight and fresh in the garden – it’s ok to just spread a thin layer of it over the soil and till it in. Steer manure (from cows raised for beef) is usually richer (i.e. higher nitrogen) because the animals are fed and cared for differently and should be aged or composted before use.
Horse droppings are slightly richer than cow patties, so they are typically composted before using in the garden. Weed seeds pass right through a horse’s digestive system and may sprout in the garden if the manure is used directly, but the heat generated in a compost pile renders them inviable. If you’re not worried about weeds, it’s OK to till it in fresh and let it decompose in the soil for a month or so before planting.
Goat, Sheep, Llama and Alpaca
Unlike the loose crumbly dung of cows and horses, goat, sheep, llama and alpaca manure comes in the form of hard pellets. Those pellets pack plenty of nitrogen and need to be aged or composted before tilling into the soil.
Manure from these animals is typically collected together with their bedding material (i.e. straw), which provides the carbon source needed to balance their nitrogen content. Bedding from these animals is a compost pile ready to happen.
However, it is safe to use the bedding material as mulch around fruit trees, vines and berry bushes, where it will age in place with the nutrients slowly leaching into the soil. This is much simpler than tending to a compost pile, and the pelletized form of these manures usually means odors are minimal.
One side note about sheep manure is that it has a higher potassium content than most other manures, making it the ideal fertilizer for potassium-loving crops like asparagus.
Rabbit poop wins the prize as the most concentrated herbivore manure. Rabbits don’t produce poop in the quantity of larger animals, so consider it a special commodity and use it sparingly on vegetable seedlings as a nitrogen boost. Soak rabbit poop in water for 48 hours and apply as a dilute liquid fertilizer.
You may not think of chickens and pigs as omnivores, but technically they are, even if bugs and worms are the only types of meat they’re eating. They have much hotter manure than herbivores that should never be used directly, not even as mulch. It’s best to compost omnivore manure thoroughly before using, rather than aging it.
Pig poop is the mildest omnivore manure in terms of nitrogen content. Mixed at a 1-to-1 ratio with straw, it makes a well-balanced compost pile. One interesting aspect of pig poop is its high pH level: use it to help make acidic soils more neutral (i.e. closer to 7 on the pH scale, which is what most crops prefer).
Birds poop and pee in one package, making their manure slimy, stinky and very high in nutrients. Chicken, pigeon, duck, turkey and other poultry manures need composting before they are used: mix them with straw at a 1-to-4 ratio for a well-balanced compost pile.
Poultry manures, especially from chickens, are higher in phosphorus than other manures, which is the most important nutrient for flower and fruit development. Use the compost as a nutrient boost for your flower beds or turn it into a liquid fertilizer and apply it to fruiting plants just before they start to flower.
Chicken manure is much more acidic than most manures, making it a good choice for crops that need acidic soil like blueberries.
Bat manure, commonly referred to as guano, is even more concentrated than poultry waste. It is typically ground into a powdered form and dusted onto the soil like a conventional fertilizer. Wet the soil before applying to avoid nutrient burn, and then spray it down again to wash the guano into the soil.
Guano, which also comes from seabirds, is such a valuable fertilizer that wars have been fought over it. Today it is available in garden centers alongside other all-natural fertilizers in a high-nitrogen and high-phosphorus form.
Also called ‘night soil,’ human waste is a traditional fertilizer, though it is used much less in modern times than animal manures. Harvesting humanure and using it safely is far beyond the scope of this article, as there is a risk of spreading infectious parasites.
As a general rule, it’s best to use humanure on plants that are not for human consumption. However, for the purposes of comparison, our poop is a bit richer than that of pigs, but less rich than poultry.
Carnivores have the richest feces of all, but should not be used around plants for human consumption. Since there is a risk of pathogen contamination, we don’t recommend composting cat or dog poop, but this article contains some practical information.
Often, the best source of manure is what’s available on your own property, where you can move it directly from barn to compost pile to garden. If you lack animals of your own, look to the nearest livestock farmer or horse ranch – some may sell pre-composted manure or let you have it for free if you scoop it from the barn for them.
Most of what goes into the animal ends up in the manure, so you may want to inquire if antibiotics or pesticides are being used on the farm where your manure is coming from. If a farm is infested with weedy, invasive plants that you don’t want to spread to your own property, think twice about taking their manure, even if it’s free.
Feed stores and garden centers also sell manure by the bag, usually in pre-composted form. If you want to avoid shoveling manure and only need a small quantity, this is the way to go. On the other hand, there is no better way to get to know the special qualities of different manures than working with them directly.
Composting Sheep Manure: How To Compost Sheep Manure For The Garden
Using sheep manure for the garden is not a new idea. People all over the world have been using animal manures as a very effective organic material in gardens for a very, very long time. Sheep manure is referred to as cold manure because of its low nitrogen content. This makes it an excellent addition to any garden.
Benefits of Sheep Manure as Fertilizer
Sheep manure, like other animal manures, is a natural slow-release fertilizer. Nutrients in sheep manure fertilizer provide adequate nourishment for a garden. It is high in both phosphorus and potassium, essential elements for optimal plant growth. These nutrients help plants to establish strong roots, defend against pests and grow into vibrant and productive plants.
Sheep manure can also be used as organic mulch. Because of its low odor, sheep manure can easily be used to top dress garden beds. A garden bed that has a high level of organic matter drains well and has a high number of earthworms and soil microbial activity, all good for plants.
Composting Sheep Manure
Composting sheep manure is similar to composting other animal manures. The manure must have time to age before using it in the garden. Composting bins can be constructed to hold sheep manure and require regular aeration for proper curing. Some people enjoy composting sheep manure in bins that allow you to drain out the sheep manure tea. This tea contains a very concentrated amount of vital plant nutrients and can be diluted with water for regular application on garden plants.
Finding Sheep Manure for the Garden
It is best to seek out a local source of sheep manure if you can. Oftentimes, farmers will sell the manure to you for a reasonable price. Some farmers will even allow you to come and collect your own manure, a venture well worth the time.
Applying Sheep Manure
Many people may ask, “Is composted sheep manure safe for vegetables?” The answer is an astounding, yes! It is perfectly safe for both vegetables and flower gardens alike and will have your plants blooming like never before. Apply composted sheep manure to gardens using a thick layering technique or work it into the soil. Sheep manure tea can be diluted and applied to plants during watering.
Using sheep manure as fertilizer is safe and effective for all garden and landscape plants.
Natural organic fertilizer comes from animal wastes and plants; for example, cow dung, sheep or goat manure, chicken droppings, urine, decomposed weeds and other plant, food waste and so on. In this article, we will introduce a guidance to compost sheep manure for organic fertilizer.
One of the important aspects of sheep farming business is having an effective waste management plan which reaps the benefits and reduces the risks caused by improper disposal of sheep manure wastes. The sheep manure discussed here not just contains the urine and feces from sheep, but also the bedding, runoff, spilled feed, and anything else mixed with it. It is a way of decomposing sheep or goat manure waste to create a fine and rich humus material that is applied as a soil amendment and plant nutrient. Utilizing sheep manure properly – composting sheep manure fertilizer is an advantageous tool in nutrient management way because sheep manure organic fertilizer production can not only reduce the potential to pollute and benefit the crops.
According to investigation, a sheep with about 100 lbs can produce 4 lbs of manure daily, the equivalent of about 0.06 cubic feet per day. Currently the global sheep quantity stands at more than 1 billion head with 19 percents found in Asia and Africa, and EU and EFTA region has over 208 million sheep, according to the assessment by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Sheep manure nutrients come from the feed that the animals have eaten, so it should be no surprise that the excrement is an excellent fertilizer.
Sheep manure contains protein, organic acid, cellulose, aliphatics and so on, and its organic matter content is higher other livestock manure. Without fermentation, sheep manure has various harmful bacteria that cannot be directly used on plants growing, or there would bring germs and parasite spreading. What’s worse, without proper disposal, sheep manure would generate heat to consume oxygen in soil and burn seedlings and root, causing serious damages to crops production. Therefore, composting sheep manure fertilizer is an effective animal manure management tool that reduces volume, kills pathogens and weed seeds, and also improves soil health and fertility.
Sheep Manure Composting Process
Parasites, hormones, and other pathogens contained in sheep manure can be reduced by proper composting. Odors are reduced and fly eggs die due to the high temperatures occurring during microbial decomposition. Making good compost needs the proper balance of carbon and nitrogen, keeping the pile of compost moist and adequate aeration. The ratio of carbon to nitrogen is critical to the composting process. The ideal ratio is about 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. Using Whirlston compost turner machine to turn the compost pile will keep it aerated and speed up the composting process. Sheep manure wastes typically take several days to two weeks to finish the compost in long open piles.
- Windrow sheep manure pile on the site, and sprinkle the special organic fertilizer fermentation agents on the surface of raw materials. In general, if the water content of sheep manure is higher, people need to add moderate dry materials for mixing, so as to lower moisture. The moisture should be controlled within 60%-65% because too high(bad ventilation, slow temperature rising and foul smell) or too low(slow fermentation) are adverse to fermentation.
- The sheep manure pile should not be too small. For better fermentation, the height should be between 1.5m and 2m, the width should be 2m-3m, the length should be over 3m, depending on the model of compost turner.
- Use the compost turning machine to turn and mix the sheep manure pile. Under the action of this machine, sheep manure with large pieces can also be crushed into small pieces, saving the cost of crushing mill. Turn the pile once a day and fermentation process would be finished within 7-10 days.
Sheep Manure Granulating Process
Sheep manure without granulation is difficult and costly to transport. Additionally, the quality and nutrient content within unprocessed manure may vary greatly, making it difficult to properly treat soil and yield optimal results. Sheep manure composting and granulating for organic fertilizer can not only assist in efforts to follow livestock waste disposal regulations, but also create a potential new source of revenue, making it a win-win proposition. After composting, send the mixed sheep manure raw materials into the granulation system – a professional new-type organic fertilizer granulator, processing for spherical particle organic fertilizer. Then use the conveyor to transport granules into dryer, next entering the cooling system after drying process. The granulated organic fertilizer will be at room temperature when starting screening, and the particles would be packaged after meeting the requirements of screening machine. Those do not meet the requirements would be returned to granulation system, continue to granulate. The granulating process of sheep manure creates commercial organic fertilizer, which is easy to package, transport and sale.
Benefits of Sheep Manure Compost Fertilizer
- Compared with other animal manures, sheep manure fertilizer has low nitrogen content that won’t burn the plants but high Phosphorous and Potassium content that is great for plant growth and soil fertility.
- The organic matter in sheep manure fertilizer is valuable because it makes soil easier to manage, less likely to erode, and more likely to absorb water.
- Composted sheep manure can be applied to agricultural fields as a fertilizer, added to improve soil structure so as to help soil hold water and air, contributing to crop yield and agricultural product quality significantly.
- Composting sheep manure for fertilizer can greatly reduce environment pollution, lower the harm to people health and increase economic profits.
Process Chicken Manure Organic Fertilizer
Compost Cow Dung Organic Fertilizer
Turning Vinasse into Organic Fertilizer
Making Pig Manure Organic Fertilizer
What is the Best Manure for Gardens?
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The best manure for gardens is properly composted manure. It’s often called black gold, especially when it contains cow manure. When running a homestead, you have many different types of manure. Wonderful for us, all of the livestock manure can be used as fertilizer.
If you have livestock on your homestead, then you’re familiar with the abundance of manure. For some, dealing with the amount of manure can become a problem. Just think about it, with even a few animals on a small homestead, you can have up to a ton of manure in just one year! So the question is, what to do with all that waste?
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The number one way most of us use manure is to improve the fertility of the soil. Not only do we use it in the garden, but it’s also used in fruit orchards and container beds. The best manure for gardens can easily be made right on your homestead with proper composting.
I should straight off caution you on the use of fresh manure as a fertilizer. Fresh manure is also called “hot” manure. This means it can harm our kill plants.
My grandfather said he would only use cow manure straight from the barn to the garden. I think it was because of the low nitrogen levels in cow manure because of their four stomach system. This meant he could plow it under and it wouldn’t harm the plants. However, to avoid weeds and grasses being transferred to your soil, it’s best to compost manure to achieve the best manure for gardens.
The amount of time needed for proper composting of manure depends on the season because of the varying temperatures and moisture levels. You can add them to your existing compost bin of organic matter such as grass and leaves and appropriate kitchen scraps. Some farmers have a muck pile. They let it sit without adding it to their compost piles. When the manure stops producing heat and is not smelly when it’s dry, it’s ready for the garden.
The way I prefer to use manure in the garden, raised beds, and container beds is to overwinter it. This means spreading the manure over the garden spot you wish to fertilize, placing a mulch layer to cover it and letting it sit all winter. Come spring it’s ready for you to plant.
Whether your homestead has manure from cows, pigs, horses, poultry, sheep, goats, and/or rabbits, the manure is a gold mine for improving the quality of your soil. I am told that sheep, goat and rabbit manure is easier to compost and spread because of the pellet shapes of the poop. I haven’t raised sheep or rabbits, but I know goats are abundant makers of nice roundish pellets!
I’m originally from an area where commercial chicken houses were abundant. Many non-organic farmers would spread the chicken manure as fertilizer in their fields. I wouldn’t do this as I am an organic homesteader and I know you can’t spread uncomposted chicken manure in the garden. The high nitrogen and ammonia levels can burn plant roots.
Be aware, if you are an organic gardener and you get your manure from a source other than your homestead, be sure you know what the farmer fed his animals. Manure from an animal fed non-organic feed will contaminate your organic garden. If you’re not an organic gardener, many farmers will be happy to allow you to get all the manure you can carry from them.
Composting chicken manure provides rich, nitrogen-laden compost. This is especially great for those areas of your garden where you will plant heavy nitrogen feeders like corn or popcorn. Since chickens create a lot of manure, they provide free fertilizer for the homesteader.
When we clean out the barn or coops, we add it to the vermicomposting bins (composting with worms). Using worms for composting is one of the best decisions we have made for the health of our garden soil. They are especially beneficial in preparing horse manure for gardens. Of the many things we have added to our vermicomposting bin, we have found they love horse manure better than most other things.
There are a few things to be cautious of when adding manure to your garden.
1) Don’t use dog or cat manure in your garden. While you may think this should be common sense, it needs to be said because of the high risk of diseases being transferred to humans from the feces of dogs and cats.
2) Although some people use human manure and urine in their garden, after composting, of course, you should never use sewage sludge from treatment plants as fertilizer in your garden unless you have tested it for contaminations.
3) Remember not to use fresh manure in your garden while you have live plants in there. The high nitrogen and ammonia levels can kill your plants at the root. While cow manure won’t burn anything, you can get weeds and grasses transferred to your soil and these will grow when nothing else will!
4) NEVER use manure from a sick or diseased animal. Not even composting it, remove it from your homestead to prevent the spread of disease or sickness.
Do you have a tip for using manure in the garden or in composting? What is the best manure for gardens that you use? Be sure to share with us in the comments.
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack
SERIES 18 | Episode 09
When people come to the little vegie patch they look around at the lushness, vigour and productivity and the one question they ask over again is how do you get the plants to grow like this?
Well the answer might amaze you. I don’t feed the plants, I actually feed the soil and I do so by using the most natural fertilisers – and that means no chemicals.
Let’s start with sheep manure – I’m always using the stuff. What’s good about it? It doesn’t smell too bad because it’s nothing more than organic matter. What it contains is a small amount of nitrogen, a bit of potash and quite a few other trace elements. The individual droppings or turds are quite hard. But that works to perfection and it’s a great manure.
If you can’t get sheep manure, try something quite similar – cow manure, that’s been pulverized and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s almost completely odourless and smells like compost. It contains virtually the same minerals that are in sheep manure, so it’s a great substitute, it’s mainly organic, so it is absolutely magnificent in the soil and it helps to feed the worms.
Horse manure looks different. Stable manure has traces of bedding straw and be careful if you get fresh horse urine in it, because it can cause major problems with plants. The old stuff has a lovely sweet, composty smell and is a magnificent source of nitrogen. Get it from a paddock and it is nothing more than organic matter but from a stable it is fantastic because it’s not been weathered. Another one to use is poultry manure pellets which contain no organic matter.
A favourite to add is blood and bone – abattoir waste that contains nitrogen, phosphorus and calcium, but absolutely no potash. That’s why I always put in a good handful of sulphate of potash and thoroughly mix it in. Use a good fistful for every square metre. Just spread the stuff roughly over the surface so that it’s all kind of mixed together and dig it in.
Once the bed has been dug, fill with manure and mulch to a depth of about 10cms. We are using pea straw, a soft mulch, but try using leaves or even grass clippings. Then all that remains is to plant. Firstly expose the soil full of manure and fertiliser, and then plant the cauliflowers.
Then water in, and onto the mulch, some heavily diluted seaweed concentrate. It adds a whole spectrum of trace elements, and add a final additive – dolomite limestone. It contains calcium which alters the pH and it makes it break down with enormous speed and feeds the soil.
Manure is great for the garden. As a fertilizer, manure provides nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (also known as N-P-K), as well as several other nutrients.
As a soil amendment, manure not only adds organic matter, but it also helps improve the soil’s structure, aeration, moisture-holding capacity and water infiltration, which benefits the overall health of the plants in your garden.
So what’s the best poop for your garden? Manures from meat-eating animals (cats, dogs, etc.) should never be used, because there is a risk of transferring parasites or disease-causing organisms to humans.
Manures from the livestock industry are ideal. Animal waste contains 75 to 90 per cent of the nutrients from the plants eaten. Everyone has their theories, but based on what I’ve read, poultry manure (chicken in particular) has the highest N-P-K content, followed by hog, steer, sheep, dairy cow and horse manure.
My personal favourites have always been sheep and chicken manure. These are hot manures, which means they are very acidic and high in nitrogen, and will burn plants if not composted before application.
A weed-free garden
However, unlike some animals, sheep have a greater ability to digest weed seeds, and a weed-free garden is always my ultimate goal. Most bagged manures available at garden retailers are composted and sterilized, so weed seeds shouldn’t be an issue with them.
My love of chicken manure is based on not only its N-P-K, but also its high calcium content, which I have found helps improve overall plant health. It has also greatly reduced blossom-end rot in my tomato patch during the growing season.
Pelletized chicken manure can repel many furry friends, including squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks, and it is my favourite top dresser for planting tulip bulbs â€¨in the fall.
Page 1 of 2 — Find out what Frankie looks forward to every spring on page 2
Recommendations for applying fertilizer (from The Old Farmer’s Almanac)
Manure: dairy cow or horse
Apply: early spring
Manure: poultry, dairy cow or horse
Apply: fall and, if necessary, spring
Manure: poultry, dairy cow or horse
Apply: fall or spring
Acid-loving plants â€¨(blueberries, azaleas, mountain â€¨laurel, rhododendrons)
Manure: dairy cow or horse
Apply: early fall
Frankie’s fab 5 signs of spring
1. Forsythia: Northern Gold forsythia was developed â€¨by Canadians for Canadians. â€¨A cross between showy Border forsythia and the hardier Korea Northern Gold, it even handles the toughest winters.
2. Robins: Robins love worms, but they also eat caterpillars and beetles, and 60 per cent of their diet is made up of fruit and berries.
3. Daffodils: All parts of the daffodil are poisonous, so squirrels will stay away. Prince Charles leases land to the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust for one daffodil a year.
4. April showers: April may find the roots of its name â€¨in the Latin word aperire, meaning “to open,” as this is the month when showers help burst the buds of May flowers.
5. Pansy: Panola pansy, a cross between a pansy and viola, is a frost-tolerant annual that can survive the warm temperatures of late June and July.
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