alpaca and rabbit manure

janice__indiana5(Z5 Indiana)May 17, 2014

This is the first year for my community garden plot. The soil is pretty sandy. I expect it contains quite a bit of fill, as the gardens sit on the site were houses were fairly recently razed. I have access to alpaca and rabbit manure. The rabbit manure contains pine bedding, I'm not sure about the the alpaca manure. How aged do these manures have to be before they are used? I've heard that you don't have to wait on the rabbit manure, but considering the pine bedding, I'm not sure. I think the alpaca manure is in the field so i don't think bedding will be a problem there, but can it be used without composting first.

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All animal manures potentially have disease pathogens that could infect the foods you grow in planting beds they have ben used in which is why the Center for Disease Control, National Institute for Health, and the USDA all established the guidelines that if animal manures are used they should not be applied later then 90 days before harvest for crops growing above ground or 120 days before harvesting in ground (root) crops.

It is best to compost all animal manures with 3 parts vegetative waste to 1 part animal manure before applying to the garden. Alpaca manure is similar in analysis to other animal manures except a bit lower in organic matter. Rabbit manure has more Nitrogen but that is not as readily available as the N in horse manure so Rabbit is considered a cold manure. The Pine needles are not a problem if used in the garden as a mulch. They will not significantly change the soils pH, they will not add growth suppressing whatevers either.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 6:13AM
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janice__indiana5(Z5 Indiana)

Thank You for the great info. I will find out today about the rabbit manure. Hopefully they will be able to give me a good idea how long it's been sitting or, maybe I can get some idea by looking. The pine, is pine shavings, not needles.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 8:34AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Pretty much any "pellet" manure... rabbit, goat, alpaca, sheep etc are fine to go right in the garden.
When you get rabbit with all the bedding and urine, I would chuck it into the compost bin (best compost/garden EVER!)
Chicken, horse and cow are all hot manures and need to be composted for quite awhile. HTH Nancy

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:07PM
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"Pretty much any "pellet" manure... rabbit, goat, alpaca, sheep etc are fine to go right in the garden."
That pretty much discounts what we know today about potential diseases pathogens in any animal manures. People that advocate that practice today are not very concerned about the health of their families.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 6:47AM
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>> ...any "pellet" manure... rabbit, goat, alpaca, sheep etc are fine to go right in the garden.

Are you saying that those other manures are safe against pathogens or are you saying that they're chemically safe as in un-burning? I'd be really interested in knowing what poop is safe for humans right out of the starting gate, so to speak...

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 2:58AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I was talking about the "burn" aspect!
I apologize! I'm certainly not saying to add these manures into gardens that will be harvested soon!
What I was saying is that you can add them to newish gardens without worrying about the "burning" that "hot " manure will have! Nancy

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 9:22PM
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I thought that pathogens are only in meat eating animals manure. Including any animal that eats food with animal protein in the feed, like cows used to be fed. I think that's how Mad cow disease started. Likely rabbit and MAYBE Alpaca only eat vegetable containing food.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:05AM
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Mad Cow Disease is quite different from Listeria, E Coli, and the other disease pathogens found in manures. The potential for the presence of disease pathogens is in all animals, bovine, human, or other, whether fed a grassy diet or one laced with animal protein, whether raise in open, uncrowded fields or in a Confined Animal Feeding Operation, a factory.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 6:23AM
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For millennia mankind has used manures to fertilize their crops, but they didn't have access to gardenweb to know just how wrong they'd been doing it.

Same as slash and burn agriculture. Because all ash is bad - they didn't know that. But if they did, they'd have used those stone axes to chop up trees and shrubs into just the right size bits for composting, calculated out the greens/brown ratio, and done it properly.

/silly ancestors.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 12:42PM
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Hunter/gatherers were not known to get cancer so much, either, David. When agriculture came along, that's when modern diseases proliferated. We became closer to each other, sharin' germs, and all, and eatin' out o' concentrated poop areas. We traded off death through quick predation for death through slow demise. ;) M

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:06PM
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Rabbit manure is often mixed with litter which contains urine. Rabbit urine will burn plants like you took a flamethrower to them. Always age any and all manures before use is my philosophy.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:10PM
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"...120 days before harvesting in ground (root) crops."

This is not technically correct and has been pointed out several times in the past in this forum.

"Apply raw manure at least 120 days before harvesting a crop that has the potential for soil contact (leafy greens, root crops, etc). The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) standards allow a 90-day period between manure application and harvest for crops that don’t have direct contact potential with soil."

Emphasis added.


Here is a link that might be useful: Guidelines for Using Manure on Vegetable Gardens

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:10PM
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I'd opine that cancers became more of a problem when we started sloshing around chemical pesticides all over the place, post WWII, and has little to do with manure.

Prior to the advent of artificially concentrated chemical fertilizers and pesticides, eg 'modern industrial agriculture', pretty much everybody used manures for fertilizer. They still do in many places, with manure tanks below barns and laws passed on the months you can spread manure in the fields.

Today, when we hear about listeria and salmonella and other food contaminants, it isn't from some guy with a shovel full of steer manure on his tomatoes. Its from industrial agriculture, where they're processing thousands of pounds of spinach thats come from fields catching runoff from some cattle feedlot where they stuff the steers full of antibiotics to make them grow faster, and the guy running the machinery is some high-school drop out listening to his iPod.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:28PM
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I think that's quite a valid point, David-- if you look into it, though, pre-historically, farming had it's many tradeoffs, starting milennia ago. For example, we were able to spend more time contemplating the meaning of the universe, and the pros and cons of poopology. We developed larger brains, and yet at the same time, are not near the physical specimen we once were.

Life marches on, in one form or the it always has and hopefully, always will be... short of nuclear self-destruction, when all the creepy critters take over, once again. "Cockroach nirvava"- them thangs are edible, ain't they ?

Mackel "the Bug" Connoisseur

This post was edited by Mackel-in-DFW on Sun, May 25, 14 at 13:52

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:51PM
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I have access to rabbit manure, however; it is mixed with Pine wood shavings (bedding) - do I need to sort through and remove the pine bedding first, do I need to compost and can I compost with the pine bedding, and if so, how long to compost?

What are the risks of e coli using rabbit manure, and also what about the urine in the bedding and/or hay / manure?

Any tips would be appreciated..

    Bookmark   November 24, 2014 at 5:54PM
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There is always the potential for numerous disease pathogens in any manure, animal or human, not just E-Coli, so bottom line is that all manures should be composted before going into the garden.
There is no good reason to pick out the pine shavings before composting that manure. How long depends on many factors. If you are an active composter that compost might be ready in 14 days, but if you are more of a laissez-faire composter it may not be ready for 3 to 6 months.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2014 at 7:35AM
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Thank you for your active participation in sharing knowledge. I was wondering the same. One of my rabbit bins gets piled up with crap, literally, mixed in with hay and urine. Of course, I'm getting ready to change that. I let my rabbits care for themselves with constant fresh hay and greens stuffed in their cages every day. I usually allow all the manure to sit for months in a pile before adding to the garden in the fall or into the compost. That's just because I'm slow. The compost gets heated, so I guess I'm good.

I think I will incorporate it all into the compost this spring and summer instead of applying directly in the fall. It really cooks the compost well with a close watch.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2015 at 8:49PM
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