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Can You Use Goat Poop for Fertilizer?

By Peter Mitchell ; Updated September 21, 2017
Goats eat vegetable matter that's great for the soil when digested.

Like the manure from many different grass-eating animals, you can use goat poop as a natural fertilizer. However, it's not commonly used by most home gardeners -- partly due to low availability. Well-composted goat manure makes for the best fertilizer. This means that the poop rots for weeks to months at a time. This breaks down vegetable matter and even sterilizes grass seeds contained in the goat poop.

Goat Poop

Sheep and goat poop is less messy than cow and pig manure. However, the small, compact nature of the manure means that it's hard to gather in large amounts. This makes it a fairly uncommon site in garden stores or even farmer's yards. The poop itself is dry and about the size of an almond. This makes it odorless and easier to handle than more sloppy farmyard manure.

Amounts

Goat manure is more concentrated than both horse and cow manure. Using too much can cause problem with growing plants -- including root burn in some sensitive species. University of Illinois Extension suggests using goat and sheep manure at half the rate of horse manure. For example, that means 250 to 500 lbs. of goat manure for every 1,000 square feet of garden soil.

Quality and Usage

In her book "Keep Your Fingers in the Dirt," Dorothy Bowen suggests that goat poop makes the best garden fertilizer of all farmyard manures. The easiest way to collect goat poop is through shoveling up the manure from the bottom of a goat shed. However, ensure that the goats bed down on sawdust. If the farmer uses straw or grass, then the seeds mixed in with the goat poop might sprout as persistent weeds in your garden.

Effectiveness

In a December 1999 study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, goat manure beat both cow manure and high-fertility soil in improving plant yields. The study tested carrot, beet, turnip and radish crops. In all cases the goat poop fertilizer increases yields, with carrots and beet up 36 and 34 percent respectively. The cow manure was both more expensive and significantly less effective than goat poop.

 

About the Author

 

Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.