Waste management

Ever wonder where all that…er…”poo”…goes? No? Well, clearly you’ve never spent much time in a barn. Moving poo from pile to pile is like 90% of what we do everyday. We compost all the ‘paca and horse droppings, along with our yard waste, old hay and moldy hay. We move two wagons full of organic material to the compost pile every single day.

That's ONE of our two piles, the newer one. Dad is using the tractor to loosen up the older pile before we spread it.

We have two compost piles, the old one and the new one. We stopped adding to the old one last fall, to give it a chance to compost. Turning poo to compost is actually fairly easy. Microbes (bacteria and fungi) do all the hard work. We turn it over using the tractor once, since the moist and warm inside of the pile is the best environment for composting. By spring, we no longer have poo at all, just a REALLY big pile of yard-enhancing fertilizer. Dad calls it “Alpaca Gold”, since it still has a slight gold tinge from the sawdust.

After they loosen up the old pile, to make it easier to shovel, they fill up the little manure spreader that goes behind the tractor. Here, my Bro admires his handy work.

Well, with piles this big, you end up with rather more fertilizer than yard. Sometimes our friends want some, which might make a dent in it. But most of it has to be loaded by a hand into our teeny-tiny manure spreader.

Fertilizer, ho!

It’s like a wagon version of those hand crank fertilizer things people use in their yards. As you drive around, it spreads the compost behind you. Dad applies it to our pastures in thin, even layers. This year, the fam busted their behinds to get it out on the fields before the last snow, so the melt water would help the nutrients seep into the soil.

ZOOM. Nah, just kidding. It's more like "wrrrrrrr".

And the answer to your question is: no, it doesn’t smell. It’s full of earth worms and nutrients, and bears very little resemblance to poo, although you might get the occasional road apple (horse poo…not a variety of apple tree that grows in manure piles).

About cliffhousealpacas

Once upon a time, my dad drove by some funny looking animals standing on little dirt hills in a field. Thus, the dream of an alpaca ranch was born. Now, we are embarking on a grand adventure of raising alpacas and becoming fiber artists.
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2 Responses to Waste management

  1. Judith Forsythe says:

    I love your blog. You make me feel like I am there with you and want to help. Thanks for sharing.

    • You’re most welcome! It’s probably more fun to write than it is to read. We often have those, “If people only knew” moments. Though we often have “Thank goodness no one saw that” moments as well.

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