Deer Droppings On Plants: Is Fertilizing With Deer Manure Safe
By: Mary Ellen Ellis
Deer can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s so lovely to see a doe and fawn early on a Sunday morning, standing in the mist, nibbling on your garden. And that’s the problem. They can eat through a garden in no time.
Whether you love or hate deer, or have a more complicated relationship with them, there is one important question to answer: Can you use deer manure in gardens?
Fertilizing with Deer Manure
Usingmanure as a fertilizer is not a new practice. People long ago discoveredthat manure is full of nutrients. Deer droppings on plants or on your grass mayprovide some additional nutrients, depending on what those deer have eaten.
In the wild, the deer diet is pretty limited, meaning theirdroppings are not very nutrient rich. But suburban deer and those feedingaround farms may have more nutrients to offer in their waste.
Just letting droppings sit on your lawn may provide somenourishment, but it is hardly enough to replace a robust fertilizing program.To really get the benefits of the extra nutrients, you would need to collectpiles of deer droppings and spread them more evenly around your lawn and inbeds.
Safety Issues of Deer Poop in the Garden
Any type of manure that is raw poses a risk of contaminatingcrops with pathogens. You can potentially get sick from this kind offertilizing. Those at highest risk are young children and the elderly, peoplewith compromised immune systems, and pregnant women.
The recommendation from the National Organic Program is toallow 90 days from the time of application of a raw manure fertilizer to theharvest of any crop that doesn’t touch the soil. For crops that do touch thesoil, the recommendation is 120 days.
For these safety reasons, you may want to reconsider usingdeer droppings as fertilizer in a vegetable garden. Or, if you do want to makeuse of it, run it through a hot composting system first. It needs to hit 140degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) for at least five days and be compostedfor 40 days or longer in total to kill any pathogens.
If you do choose to handle deer droppings to use in yourlawn or beds, always wear gloves. Wash and disinfect all tools you use tohandle it, and wash your hands thoroughly when finished.
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Is Rabbit Poop a Good Fertilizer for the Garden?
Organic fertilizer is a proven way to improve your soil composition long after your plants have obtained the nutrients they need. But organic fertilizer is more expensive than inorganic fertilizer. If you have rabbits in your yard, you may be wondering if you can use rabbit poop as manure.
Rabbit poop is rich in nitrogen and phosphorous, two crucial nutrients required for plant growth. Furthermore, rabbit poop is not a hot manure. This means you can drop rabbit pellets straight into your garden soil without the need for further processing.
Rabbit manure is available from rabbit farmers or in prepackaged bags. It’s odorless, dry and in pellet form. It breaks down slowly in the soil, so there is no risk of it burning the roots of your plants.
Where To Get Horse Manure
A wagonload of manure. Source: cindy47452
Now that you’re sold on this stuff, the next question arises: where to buy horse manure. And you don’t always have to buy it!
Your best sources for horse manure, if you don’t mind composting it yourself, are stables. If you know someone with a horse, this may be as easy as calling them up and asking. Otherwise, contact local farms or ranches, or even your local riding facility.
Often, people will post online that they’ve got manure available. Sometimes it’s free. Other times, there will be a small fee or delivery charge. It’s simply a matter of getting in touch!
But what if you’re looking for just a small quantity to use as mushroom substrate? Or a bit to add to your worm bin or as fertilizer for your house plants? There are options for you, too.
The Clayton Farm produces five-pound bags of composted and aged horse manure. This is perfect for people who want to make horse manure tea or top-dress houseplants.
Another supplier, SpiritOne, promises fully organic and thoroughly-dried horse manure. Because it’s completely dry, you’re getting all manure with no water weight. This is a great starter for a worm bed.
Mushroom growers will love Out Grow’s mushroom substrate mix. It’s a blend of aged and composted horse manure with straw, and is fully sterilized and ready to use. Just add mushroom spores and you’re good to go!
You may sometimes be able to find bags of composted horse manure at a local garden center. This varies depending on your area, and isn’t always an option.
For the largest amounts, you’re likely to have to compost it yourself. But at least it’ll be very inexpensive to get, provided that you put the legwork in on finding a source.
They say never to look a gift horse in the mouth… but maybe we should be looking more at the other end of the horse! What was once a very common waste product is a very beneficial additive to our gardens now. Do you use horse manure in your growing beds? Share your experiences with this fantastic fertilizer in the comments!
Last update on 2021-03-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API