Alpaca fertilizer

cluteNovember 20, 2008

I have access to a lot of Alpaca fertilizer, and am using it in my compost. I understand because of it's low nitrogen level I can also apply it directly to my garden.

Would it be better to apply now to let it winter over, letting the pellets decompose and just add nitrogen in the spring, or wait until spring to do the whole thing? I have been told (not by an expert) to wet the pile thoroughly once and cover until spring, then apply...

Any suggestions?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Like all manures, nitrogen isn't the only concern. Harmful bacteria and other pathogens in the manures and the possible contamination of food crops are at least equally important. Thus the recommendation that all animal manures be well composted before adding to beds where food crops will be grown.

You'll find many discussions here on the safe use of animal manures in the garden - many of them currently running just a bit further down the page - and alpaca manure is, as far as I know, subject to the same use recommendation/restrictions as all other manures.

Dave

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 11:52PM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

I got a little alpaca poo this spring or summer to try it out. I put a little bit directly under the trees around my yard, then put wood mulch over the top. The rest I put in my compost, which really got the pile cooking.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 1:12AM
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gardengal48

Alpacas and llamas are kissing cousins and their manure is virtually interchangeable. Together with rabbits, the manure they produce is highly desireable as a nutrient source and does not need to be composted before applying to the garden, however appropriate cautions should be taken if using it on food crops. For anything else, go for it! If I didn't have my own rabbits, I'd be on the lookout for this valuable commodity :-)

"Lama manure is lower in organic matter content than manures of most other barnyard livestock (like cows, horses and sheep)--but it still has plenty to improve soil texture and water-holding capacity. This lower organic content allows llama and alpaca manure to be spread directly onto plants without fear of `burning' them. It is the decomposition of organic matter which produces the heat that can damage plant roots. (Low organic matter content of the manure also indicates efficient digestion--another plus when you're talking to people about the benefits of lama ownership!)

Compared to the other barnyard animals, the nitrogen and potassium content of lama doodoo is comparatively high--an indication of good fertilizer value. (Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the major plant nutrients; they are the familiar N-P-K on fertilizer bags.) Phosphorus is relatively low--but it is low in most other livestock manure as well. Calcium and magnesium content is about average. And salt content is not too high but it is high enough that one should not apply lama poop directly onto seedlings or improperly mixed into the soil. Interestingly enough, feed composition, with few exceptions, doesn't have much effect on manure composition.

Overall, lama ickykakapoopoo is a great organic fertilizer. Of course, organic fertilizers are usually lower in nutrient content that synthetic fertilizers--so you must apply more to get the same amount of nutrients. For example, lama manure would be about 1.5-0.2-1.1 versus the 20-10-5 of synthetic fertilizer. One would have to apply about 13 times as much lama poop to get the same amount of nitrogen.

I find it unnecessary to compost the lama doodoo as the odor doesn't bother me and although it helps to kill weeds, I find I have to weed anyway so the work benefits of composting are marginal or non-existent. Besides, composting robs some of the nitrogen value from the manure."

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 10:11AM
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cuticlesfromhell(6)

Just be aware that llama manure at any rate is very very smelly, so alpacas' may be as well. You might want to think twice so that your neighbors don't complain too much.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 11:58PM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

Yes, the alpaca poo made my yard smell like a petting zoo for a few days. I think once I got it mixed into the pile it was ok.

I think the hay/manure mix from the goat barn I more recently acquired has been worse than the alpaca poo. Must be "hotter" than I thought it was. I've turned the pile twice (and added leaves), but when I poked at it the other day, it still smells strongly of ammonia.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 2:15AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Any time you have a compost pile that smells of Ammonia that indicates you are loosing Nitrogen to the atmosphere, most likely because there is not enough Carbon in the mix.
There are those that think that because once upon a time manures were added directly to soil and tilled in that can still be done today. If manure is added to soils and no food crops for human consumption are grown there for 3 or 4 years that might be okay, but it is always better to compost any animal manure before applying it to any plot that will grow food for human consumption.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 7:08AM
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Lloyd

Then there are those that don't know can't remember what they think....

Jan 10, 08
"If manure is added directly to soil there should be a minimum of 6 months between application and planting"

Nov 20, 08
"No knowledable farmer would grow any food for human consumption on a field that was fertilized in two or three years previously."

Nov 23, 08
"If manure is added to soils and no food crops for human consumption are grown there for 3 or 4 years that might be okay"

and these are just the three that I could remember them saying. LOL

Lloyd

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 7:43AM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

I know I need to add more carbon to my pile, I just have to do it on a weekday when the neighborhood has gone away to work. My DH wasn't happy with me last weekend when I tried to "tame" the goat straw, as he was working on the mower, downwind...

I'm guessing there must have been a lot of urine in that straw. At first, I wasn't sure it would do much, since it appeared to be a little bit of manure and a lot of bedding. Yeah, pretty sure I was wrong on that one...

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 3:09AM
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Lloyd

Nov 25, 08

and now we get...

"Animal manures can be used in the garden, if they are used with due care, if common sense practices are used, if you do not grow foods for human consumption on or in those plots or as long as the manure is composted before being put on the soil." (my bold)

So it has gone from "minimum 6 months" to "two or three years" to "3 or 4 years" to never.

Thanks for the help.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 9:29AM
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mikeondamesa

Iam looking for a good organic ferilizer for my blue grass mix lawn, there is abundant, free, alpaca poo availible in my area. Is this good lawn firtilizer for the denver area?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 2:56PM
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rj_hythloday(8A VA)

Mike,

I wouldn't trust it, you better get hold of all you can and send it to me for proper disposal.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 9:53PM
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leinad57

i read about adding carbon to compost pile. Where can i find this carbon?
Sincerely leinad

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 3:31PM
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randy_coyote(7)

leinad,

Fallen leaves, newspaper, cardboard, straw are all good carbon sources.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 1:56AM
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