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Why Shouldn't I Use Manure in Compost?

From Ecology Action

veggiesQuestion:  Why is animal manure not recommended as compost component?cattle

Answer: There are many reasons that animal manure is not recommended for use in your compost.

Manure from commercially raised plant-eating animals is not recommended because the animals are often treated with medicines and chemicals, which can stay in the manure, even after composting. Even if the animals come from an organic farm, salt accumulation and weed seeds can also be an issue, damaging your soil and causing weeds to grow in your beds.

Manure from meat-eating animals such as dogs and cats contains disease-causing organisms that are harmful to infants and pregnant women - and are probably not healthy for anyone else! These pathogens are not always killed in the compost. Also, carnivore manure is not as nutrient-rich as plant-eaters' manure; and, when applied fresh, it adds to much nitrogen too fast, promoting big green leaves and very little fruit. In addition, the color additives and synthetic chemicals found in commmercial dog and cat food is not something you want to find in your garden.

Our advice: to keep your compost pile and your garden soil healthy and productive, steer clear of manure!

For more information on compost application, compost making and sustainability, please see our GB Compost Protocol. Also, see the Compost Application, Compost Crop, and Composting Hair, Fertilizer, and Cover Crop FAQ topics.

A healthy (manure-free!) compost pile

A healthy (manure-free!) compost pile


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