How to Enhance Cow Manure for Compost

Overview

Due to its dense nature, enhancing, or mixing cow manure with other substances prior to adding it to the compost pile can speed up the composting process and help ensure that the right amount of bacteria and heat are present in the compost pile. Despite the little bit of extra work required, cow manure is a great addition to your compost, since it adds valuable nitrogen that will help your plants grow faster and and stronger.

Step 1

Allow the manure to dry slightly, if possible, by waiting about a week before preparing it for the compost pile. This is not absolutely necessary, but will make the work easier.

Step 2

Rake the manure into a single pile.

Step 3

Break the manure up by turning it over several times and mixing it with a pitchfork, cultivator or garden spade.

Step 4

Add straw, wood chips, ash, lime or dried leaves or a combination of them to the manure pile. Exact measurements are not necessary, but try to mix equal parts manure to other substances.

Step 5

Mix the addition into the manure by turning the pile over several times.

Step 6

Add the manure to the compost pile in small amounts at a time, either turning the pile between additions, or adding the manure to different areas of the compost, such as at each corner of the pile.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't pile a large amount of manure on top of your compost pile without turning or mixing it. The weight of the manure will compact the pile, forcing out the oxygen necessary for the composting process.

Things You'll Need

  • Straw, wood chips, ash, lime or dried leaves
  • Rake
  • Pitchfork, cultivator or garden spade

References

  • Primalseeds.org - Compost making (animal manure section)
  • Klickitat County - Composting livestock manure
Keywords: enhance cow manure for compost, prepare cow manure for compost, using cow manure in compost pile

About this Author

Carlye Jones is a journalist, freelance writer, photographer and novelist, with more than 15 years of experience. She enjoys sharing her expertise on home improvements, interior decorating, photography, gardening and traveling. Her work has appeared both in print and on numerous websites, such as Matador Travel. Carlye received her training at Northern Arizona University.