start composting my dogs poo with worms
Marina sent us the following message:
Hi! I am going to start composting my dogs poo with worms, but I have
read conflicting info...can I make a wooden bin that is open on the bottom or
does it have to be sealed. I read that if you compost feces you can only
compost feces and not add anything else, but I thought they needed to have
grass clippings, leaves, paper etc too. I also read that a poop pile will get
too hot and kill the worms. Please help. I want to also start one for my new
ducks, but with house scraps too! Thanks for this article it is great.
Dear Marina, thank you for your interesting comment and questions.
Composting dog poop with compost worms can be done with both, bins that are closed at the bottom as well as bins that are closed.
We had great success with bins that have just a small hole at the bottom to allow excess liquids to flow off and prevent from building up.
Although you can run established worm bins with just dog feces it is not a must. Worms do like a variety in their diet and will thrive on a wide mix of materials including dog poop, tea bags, apple cores, coffee grounds, lettuce leaves... to name just a few.
To avoid the problem of the content of your worm bin heating up it is best to always only ad layers of a maximum of 4 inches / 10
cm of fresh dog poop to the surface of the bin. In this way the feces will not heat up!
If you use worms to recycle your dog poop keep in mind that some people suggest to use the resulting worm castings (fertilizer) only for flowers, shrubs, trees and lawns, but not for fruit or vegetables. It is suspected that some pathogens might survive the composting process and in that way have an negative effect on the plants the resulting worm castings are fed to.
I am not convinced of that but rather safe than sorry!
As for the idea of recycling duck poop. We haven't done this yet but would be very interested to hear if it works! Chicken manure is very potent and can not be given to worms without providing the worms with a pH neutral bedding. And even than the chicken manure should only be given to worms in small quantities.
I am not sure if duck manure is similar to that of chickens but I suggest you set up a worm bin with a neutral bedding like old shredded newspapers or compost and start adding some fresh duck poop over a small area of the bin. Wait for a few days and see if your worms will take to it. They might very well go for it if they have enough space left to retreat to once they have fed on it.
Please let me know how about the progress of your efforts!
Kind regards and lots of success