Choosing the Best Manure for Your Garden

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the alternatives of composted manure once you flip through our fertilizer catalog? Or perhaps you have been offered a free truckload of manure from a neighbor but aren’t sure if it is the best choice for your garden. There are definite benefits and risks from each quite manure–chicken, cow, horse, alpaca, sheep, rabbit, pig, and even elephant manures are as unique because the animals they are available from.

Why Buy Organic Manure?

Manure can vary up to 30% in their nutrient values even within one species thanks to factors like diet, life stage (for example, growing cattle versus lactating cows), management and environmental differences, what proportion urine is collected with the manure (such as when it’s collected with bedding materials), and even genetics. the most important difference comes from the diet: what goes in does begin. In fact, livestock typically excretes 50% and the maximum amount as 90% of the nutrients they’re fed. So a horse that’s only pastured on grass will have a way different manure (one that contains far fewer nutrients) than a horse that eats alfalfa hay and grain.

Buying organic manure is especially important for this reason. Many hay farmers treat their fields with broadleaf herbicides, and these can travel intact through the animals’ digestive systems. If you employ manure from animals fed conventionally grown feeds, the pesticides and herbicides used on those feeds are going to be excreted alongside the great nutrients.

Consider the Salt Content of Manure

Another major difference is that the amount of salt found in manure. All manure contains some salt, as a neighborhood of the body’s natural metabolism. But some animals, like feedlot steers and dairy cows, are fed extra salts to encourage them to eat and drink more. Backyard livestock also often have access to a salt block. Generally, these management practices don’t end in a salty composted manure for your garden, because the salts will wash out during the composting process. However, if you’re getting your manure from an area farm, it’s going to have high salts if it’s stored somewhere where the drainage is poor (preventing the salts from washing out) or if it’s not been thoroughly aged or composted. If this is often a risk, you’ll just get to finish the composting process yourself before applying the manure.

Is Your Animal Manure “Hot”?

One thing you ought to concentrate on no matter the sort of animal it comes from is whether or not the manure has been aged or composted. Aged manure has simply been piled up; over time the nitrogen turns to a gaseous form and leaves the manure. this may turn “hot” manure – one that might burn your plant’s roots if applied fresh–to “cool” manure that’s safe for your garden. All manures except those from llamas, alpacas and cattle got to be aged a minimum of six months before use to be properly cooled.

Composted Manure is best 

Composted manure has also been made “cool,” but with the extra advantage of having been heated by the composting process to kill pathogens like e.coli, while at an equivalent time culturing microbes that are good for your soil. For this reason, it’s recommended even for naturally cool manures like alpaca. Composting is additionally especially important for manure, and for any manure that comes from a weedy property. Horse’s gastrointestinal system allows weed seeds to undergo unharmed, so composting can help kill most of those weeds before adding the manure to your garden. If you would like to feature raw manure (cool types) on to the garden, an honest rule of thumb is to feature it a minimum of 120 days before harvest of any vegetable that would potentially have contact with the soil (like root crops, leafy greens…). When unsure, compost your animal manures first, even the “cool” ones.

Pros and Cons of every sort of Manure

Chicken (and other fowl like a duck, goose, turkey, etc)

Bird manures are very high in nutrients, especially nitrogen because urine is contained within the droppings.

They are more acidic than most manure sources, so they are particularly good for acid-loving plants.

They also tend to be extremely popular and can burn plants if applied fresh.

Composting is very recommended both to chill it and to scale back pathogen risk.

Chicken manure will release most of its nutrients into the soil within the primary year of application.

Composted manure like Super Green has an NPK of 3-2-2.


Dairy cow manure is that the hottest choice for cattle manure since dairy cows are fed a nutrient-rich diet then produce superb quality manure.

The NPK can vary greatly by the sort of feed they’re given but is usually around 0.6-0.2-0.5.

It is cool manure, so it is often used fresh (but like any manure, composting remains recommended to scale back the danger of pathogens).

A good choice for dairy cattle manure is the New Era compost.

Horse (and other equines)

Horse manure is richer in nutrients than a cow, but not as rich as chicken.

It is borderline hot but should be composted to exterminate the weed seeds it always contains.

Horse manure typically has an NPK value of 0.7-0.3-0.6.

Sheep and Goat

Sheep and goat manures are nearly identical.

They are hot, dry, and really rich in nutrients.

They typically have an NPK value of 0.7-0.3-0.9.

They should be aged or composted before working into the soil.

If collected with soiled bedding like straw, they will be used fresh as a mulch around trees, vines, and bushes where the manure can age while feeding the plants. However, even fresh manure mixed with bedding can burn more tender plants like annual veggies.

Llama and Alpaca

Llama and alpaca manure also called “beans,” are equivalent in terms of nutrients and benefits, with an NPK of 1.7-0.7-1.2.

These manures are “cool” and may be used fresh on about the foremost tender of plants.

However, it’s still recommended that they are composted first to scale back the danger of pathogens if using them during a kitchen garden.

Because of how these critters’ digestive systems function, their beans are virtually weed-free.


Rabbit manure is one among the most well-liked and is especially high in nitrogen with an NPK of two .4-1.4-0.6.

Because rabbits don’t produce considerably manure, it’s best used just for plants needing a nitrogen boost.

To get the foremost out of the limited volume, soak the manure pellets in water and apply as a diluted liquid fertilizer.


Pig manure is additionally extremely popular, although it’s less rich in nutrients than manure.

Like manure, it’s a coffee pH and is sweet for acid-loving plants.

NPK values vary counting on whether it’s collected from young feeder pigs or mature pigs but are a minimum of 0.5-0.3-0.5.

It is also the wettest of livestock manures and will be mixed during a 1:1 ratio with straw to compost it before use.

Elephant or Zoo Poo

Zoo manure is an exotic choice for your veggies and is now being offered by some zoos which collect and compost the nutrient-rich material rather than sending it to the landfill.

Depending on the zoo, it’s going to contain other herbivorous manure also, like giraffe, rhinoceros or hippo.

Other Manures

Any herbivorous animal’s manure is often utilized in your garden, but it’s an honest idea to steer beyond manure that came from a meat-eater.

Cat and dog poop, also as body waste, contain very dangerous pathogens which will pose a big health risk do you have to eat any veggies grown in it.

No matter which livestock or poultry manure you select, they’re going to all provides the advantages of organic matter, beneficial microbes, and essential nutrients for your soil. Whether it came from your yard, a neighbor’s farm, or from our store, using manure may be a good way to grow organic!

Choosing the Best Manure for Your Garden

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