composting dog/cat waste?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Gypsy, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. Gypsy

    Gypsy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Location:
    Bamberg, SC
    Just rigged up a compost bin from some old pallets I found in the back of the shed that came with our place (officially my first homesteading project as we just moved in last weekend) and I’m wondering about dog/cat waste in the bin. I did a search on this forum and seem to find conflicting results. Is it that I can compost the dog feces or cat litter for the non-consumable gardens (i.e. flower) but not for compost that is going to be used on consumable vegetation (i.e. vegetable/ herb/ fruit/ nut gardens)? What is the problem with it? Is there some science to know here or is the taboo all just hearsay and hocus pocus? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. JulieNC

    JulieNC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    441
    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Feces of meat-eaters is a no-no in a traditional compost set-up. For example, cat feces can carry something that is deadly to pregnant women.

    If you really want to compost with it, you can treat it like human waste. There's a fair amount of information about humanure on the web.
     

  3. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

    Messages:
    1,265
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    Zone Unknown
    Julie is right --- you absolutely don't want to compost dog or cat poo along with your other compost.

    There are special ways for composting ir separately, or you can even construct a separate composting bin. But you don't want to do the cat-dog poo with your other stuff.
     
  4. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
    the reason being is that worms and viruses and such that our pets carry easily cross over to us humans.

    you can use composted pet waste on non-consumables such as flower beds, as you have previously been told. just set up a separate bin.
     
  5. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    561
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    Location:
    ontario
    Hey counrtygirrrrl (look I put an extra r in for ya), what kind of special way, with 3 large dogs and one mouser, I have lots of this...stuff :( I just put in a plie and let it do its own thing. It grows over with very healthy weeds. :haha:
     
  6. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

    Messages:
    1,265
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    Zone Unknown
    There some digesting stuff, Jackie --- now, I've never used it but I heard rumor on another board that it does work and will help eliminate all the yucks in dog and cat poo.

    Also, I THINK if you let the poo sit in high heat for a year, it's fairly safe then. But still only recommended for flower beds!
     
  7. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

    Messages:
    747
    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    N.Ar
    this is a good source for zooitic organisms, hence why its not reccomended for food use, but around trees and flowers, why not!
    go for it, but like others said, put it in a seperate "pile" the "puppy 'post pile" :D LOL
     
  8. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    If the compost pile truly produced enough heat, as it should in composting, that would theoretically kill, or convert parasites or cat or dog parasitic eggs (or microorganisms) into harmless finished compost. The thing is in being absolute that all parts of dog/cat feces is processed properly. Since that might not be assured, so a good option for a lot of cat or dog feces is to have a separate place to put it. The ideal way is probably in a ground hole and covered. Pet supply houses sell these, but you could make something like that easy enough lining the walls of the hole and having the bottom acess for eventual earthwoms breaking down the faeces. Some enzymes can be bought to speed the process, but in the end it's worms that are your friend. :)
    The possibilitiy of toxoplasma parasites in cat faeces is a possible concern, even from a litter box in the house. The other thing if a cat or dog had any parasitic eggs or harmful organisms and other animals of same kind might contract that from the waste, as well as possibility of a kid mucking in it to get roundworms or some such thing. It's better to bury it, or a separate compost pile IMHO...or burn it in an outside wood burning furnace!
     
  9. beaglady

    beaglady Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,224
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I have 7 dogs, so I have plenty to work with. :haha: What has worked for me is to keep a 50 gal (or so) trash can inside my dog yard. In the bottom goes a layer of several inches of straw. Then I add a layer of poop from my daily scoopings. Cover with a layer of straw, then poop, etc. til the can is full. Every few days, til it gets too full, put the lid on and kind of roll it around to mix and aerate.

    Takes a little over a month to fill the can, which is reasonably odor free, and fly free, since it is covered. Then I take it down to the edge of the lower meadow and dump it in a pile. By the time its ready to dump, the straw has already started to break down and it doesn't smell too bad.

    I let the piles sit for a year, then spread on ornamental beds.
     
  10. Gypsy

    Gypsy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Location:
    Bamberg, SC
    Thanks to everyone for all the good advice. Looks like a separate pile to be used only on dw’s flower bed.

    This actually answers the follow up question that I logged on to ask about if it was OK to compost the pine shavings from the hamster cage. Thanks again!!!
     
  11. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,116
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2002
    Location:
    North Alabama
    dog feces contains high levels of heat resistant pathogens. Cat feces also carries toxiplasmosis threat which can cause fetal brain damage. While neither is generally composted for food product fertilizer I cant help but think of how often I have caught stray cats scratching in my garden or stray dogs hiking a leg on my tomatoes :confused: