Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vermicomposting Dog Manure

Vermicomposting dog manure poses a greater challenge since dog manure contains pathogens (bad bacteria) that might cause disease to humans. But it can be done so long as proper handling is followed.

Wear gloves and use tools (a dustpan or spade) when collecting dog manure. Wearing gloves protects the hands from making direct contact with the manure.

Provide a drying bin (two bins) with cover. The bin should still allow air flow but prevent flies and other insects from infesting the manure. When the dog manure completely dries out, the material is ready for pre-composting.

Pre-composting minimizes the pathogenic load because of the heating stage the material goes through. To pre-compost, thoroughly mix the dried dog manure with carbon-rich (brown) materials while sprinkling water to reach 60% moisture content. Place the mixed materials in a bin (e.g. rice sack) and allow it to decompose for two to three weeks. Starting on the third week, water the pile to reach 80% moisture content and to facilitate cooling.

Earthworms can be introduced to the pile when the temperature has gone down (usually on the fourth week). Give the earthworms 54 days to consume the materials before harvesting the vermicompost.

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