Like the manure from many different grass-eating animals, you can use goat poop as a natural fertilizer. However, it's not commonly used by most home gardeners -- partly due to low availability. Well-composted goat manure makes for the best fertilizer. This means that the poop rots for weeks to months at a time. This breaks down vegetable matter and even sterilizes grass seeds contained in the goat poop.
Sheep and goat poop is less messy than cow and pig manure. However, the small, compact nature of the manure means that it's hard to gather in large amounts. This makes it a fairly uncommon site in garden stores or even farmer's yards. The poop itself is dry and about the size of an almond. This makes it odorless and easier to handle than more sloppy farmyard manure.
Goat manure is more concentrated than both horse and cow manure. Using too much can cause problem with growing plants -- including root burn in some sensitive species. University of Illinois Extension suggests using goat and sheep manure at half the rate of horse manure. For example, that means 250 to 500 lbs. of goat manure for every 1,000 square feet of garden soil.
Quality and Usage
In her book "Keep Your Fingers in the Dirt," Dorothy Bowen suggests that goat poop makes the best garden fertilizer of all farmyard manures. The easiest way to collect goat poop is through shoveling up the manure from the bottom of a goat shed. However, ensure that the goats bed down on sawdust. If the farmer uses straw or grass, then the seeds mixed in with the goat poop might sprout as persistent weeds in your garden.
In a December 1999 study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, goat manure beat both cow manure and high-fertility soil in improving plant yields. The study tested carrot, beet, turnip and radish crops. In all cases the goat poop fertilizer increases yields, with carrots and beet up 36 and 34 percent respectively. The cow manure was both more expensive and significantly less effective than goat poop.
- University of Illinois Extension: Step 5 - Prepare and Care for the Soil Properly; James Schmidt, et al.
- Montana State University; Study Looks At Turning Manure Into Revenues; Melynda Harrison; Oct 22 2009
- "Keep Your Fingers in the Dirt"; Dorothy Bowen; 2009
- University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems; Composted Manures Offer Yield and Disease Resistance Benefits (Research Brief #45); Dec 1999
- Photo Credit Seiya Kawamoto/Lifesize/Getty Images
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