The Scoop on Goat Poop – Using Goat Manure for Compost and Fertilizer in Your Spring Garden

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My husband and I are busy building our raised garden beds for our spring vegetable garden, and I’m far more excited than I really should be to shovel out wheelbarrows full of our little stash of goat poop to prepare and fill our raised beds.
Since I’m fairly new to this whole composting thing, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that goat manure is pretty much the perfect animal manure for beginners and a “you can’t go wrong” remedy for novice gardens.
The naturally dry goat pellets are not only easy to collect with a standard mini rake and trash scooper, but they are far less messy than many other types of manure. Goat feces does not attract flies or breed maggots and (my favorite) it doesn’t really smell! There really is no off-putting learning curve to collecting and composting goat poop!
Throughout the week I sweep up the goat pen area and dump the dry goat pellets in the compost bin, and once a week I do a “deep cleaning” and rake up and change out all the straw bedding and leftover alfalfa in the feeding trough. With the compost bin located right over the fence, it’s seriously the easiest and quickest (and oddly pleasant) chore in the goat barn. Scoop, dump, and voila! DONE!
Another reason why goat manure is the perfect starter compost, is because goat droppings can be used in nearly any type of garden IMMEDIATELY without having to wait for a “breaking down” compost period. You can just use it as is on any plants in your garden – including flowering plants, herbs, vegetables, fruit trees and ornamental landscaping plants. Unlike other animal droppings, goat manure will not “burn” your plants when directly applied.
But when left to break down into compost, goat manure in garden beds can create the optimal growing conditions for your plants. Composted manure can add nutrients to the soil, promote healthier plant growth, and increase crop yields without the use of harmful chemicals.

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The Chemical Composition of Goat Manure

Ultimately, goat manure helps to build up the organic matter content in the soil and adds nutrients, increases microbial activity, and improves drainage in heavy soils and moisture retention in sandy soils.
Goat manure contains adequate amounts of the nutrients that plants need for optimal growth, especially when used straw bedding is included in the mix. As urine collects in goat droppings and bedding, the manure retains more nitrogen, thus increasing its fertilizing potency.
Goat manure is also ideal for raised beds and starter gardens, as it is far higher in nitrogen than horse and cow manures – which is what you would buy at a run of the mill home improvement store. According to the Ohio State University Extension, on average, goat manure has 22 pounds of nitrogen in 1 ton, while cow manure has only 10 pounds of nitrogen per 1 ton.
Of course, the final and overall composition of goat manure depends on the quality and content of the goat feed. Well-fed dairy goats should produce more and better feces than other goats. (We keep our goats on an organic, well balanced diets with no artificial ingredients, hormones, antibiotics, fillers or additives.) Goat feces contains not only feed residues but endogenous substances from the goat’s intestinal tract too, so it’s important to only use manure from healthy goats.
Swedish research established that goats excrete daily, regardless of feed type, a minimum of 34g protein, 8g fat and 13g carbohydrates for each 2.2 pounds feed dry matter eaten. Goat feces, used bedding and wasted feed can average 2 to 3 pounds per day for a single Nigerian Dwarf goat, with a possible composition rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and lime.

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How to Use Goat Manure in Your Garden

As I mentioned above, making your own compost from goat manure is not hard, messy or smelly. Finished compost is dry and very rich. I was scooping out handfuls of my recent compost / manure stash by hand to spread in my raised garden beds (with gloves on of course, don’t look at me like that!) and it wasn’t any harder or smellier than dealing with a bag of potting soil.
To get goat manure composting, simply set up your composting device in a convenient location to your goat pen. For goat droppings, the most convenient compost pile would be a bin-type structure. (I use a vintage citrus crate for my bin, you can read more about my compost bin structure by clicking here.)
When you clean out your goat pen, you can also mix the manure in with other organic materials such as grass clippings, leaves, straw, etc. If it’s extremely hot or dry outside, you can keep the compost moist by periodically hosing it down and occasionally stirring the pile to mix everything together and increase airflow, which helps break it down faster.
Depending on your compost pile size, a total breakdown to soil consistency compost can take weeks or months. Keep in mind that the smaller the pile, the faster it will decompose. The best goat compost for direct application is well-aged that’s been sitting for at least six months, but you can use manure that is hours old by tilling it into pre-existing soil. The pellets are easy to spread and till into the garden.
For annual garden upkeep, simply spread 1 to 2 inches of manure on established beds and till under. Goat manure as an annual fertilizer will help produce healthier plants and increased crop yields.
Overall, goat manure makes an excellent soil conditioner for new gardens, and helps to maintain and enrich established gardens. It improves the soil texture so it uses water more efficiently and allows more oxygen to reach the plants’ roots.
If you have a garden, it’s well worth rooting out sources goat manure – and if you have goats AND a garden, it’s just downright foolish NOT to use this amazingly natural source of garden enrichment and nutrition!

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Do you garden? Have you thought about switching up your soil fertilizer? Care to give goat manure a try? Share below!

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Gingi Freeman
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Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

33 thoughts on “The Scoop on Goat Poop – Using Goat Manure for Compost and Fertilizer in Your Spring Garden

  • 18 February, 2015 at 8:51 pm
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    Your goats are so cute! I love gardening and 4H, but we haven’t quite made the leap to goats yet. Maybe someday soon 🙂

    • 18 February, 2015 at 9:34 pm
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      Can you believe I’ve NEVER been in 4H? lol.. My hubby was growing up.. and from what he tells me, it’s something I really should get Tessa into when she’s older!

  • 18 February, 2015 at 10:27 pm
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    Your goats are adorable! We may try a raised garden this year, but we definitely aren’t zoned for goats here. I never knew of their manure virtues!

    • 18 February, 2015 at 11:19 pm
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      If you do a raised bed, you can always LOOK for local supplies of goat manure! 😉

  • 18 February, 2015 at 11:43 pm
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    These are some really useful information. I sadly don’t have a garden, we live in a building 🙁 the only thing is that I do try to eat as healthy as possible, being a vegetarian 😉 Thanks for stopping by! xo

  • 19 February, 2015 at 4:00 am
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    One day I swear you’ll be my goat guru. I want them so badly! And I have so much to learn.

    • 19 February, 2015 at 4:30 am
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      Hahaha, if you get them, I will be your goat Jedi master and you can be my goat padawan. Or something.

  • 19 February, 2015 at 4:18 am
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    Great post! Thanks for sharing!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  • 19 February, 2015 at 8:29 am
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    Aww your goat is so cute and you take beautiful pics of her/him. Great post, btw.
    xox
    Lenya
    FashionDreams&Lifestyle

  • 19 February, 2015 at 2:56 pm
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    My dad definitely does this! Every year he prepares for his garden and brings tons of this stuff. Apparently it works so well! He will be glad to hear that someone else loves it!

    Denise
    http://www.fashionloveletters.com

    • 19 February, 2015 at 5:46 pm
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      Yeah, I grew up watching my dad compost (he used to keep chickens and rabbits), and I remember it being so smelly.. SUPER HAPPY that goats aren’t as smelly as chickens, haha! I will have to follow up with how it performs in my garden!

  • 19 February, 2015 at 3:58 pm
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    Well, this is informative. Now I just need a cute goat around in my backyard to help with this! 🙂

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  • 19 February, 2015 at 4:51 pm
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    I love gardening. And this clearly is a much better idea than using any weird chemicals!

    • 19 February, 2015 at 5:50 pm
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      So true!! When I started making plans for gardening, I actually started pricing out organic fertilizers and realized.. I have some in my own back yard!! haha!

    • 19 February, 2015 at 5:51 pm
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      Yes, rabbit, goat and sheep manure are supposed to be the three manures you can use IMMEDIATELY on plants without burning them… they are considered the all around, all purpose manures for gardens!

  • 19 February, 2015 at 7:01 pm
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    The Scoop on Goat Poop goes does as one of the cutest titles ever Gingi! Not to mention cutest jealous. And is it possible that I am so jealous of your goat poop, haha! I knew that it doesn’t burn plants, and obviously I am a raised bed gardener so I would love goat poop ~ I just need access! No one in suburbia where I live seems to have any goats. Hmmmm. Could you send some poop my way, I had no idea it didn’t really smell that bad though, so interesting. I’m tempted though to now “buy” some goat poop, but more likely will take a drive into the country and locate some poop from a new farmer friend, time to make some, huh!! Great post!! So informative.

    • 19 February, 2015 at 7:22 pm
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      LOL, I wish we were closer, I would TOTALLY give you some goat poop, and our combined blogger awesomeness would take the Interwebs by storm!! haha! My husband and I are planning on bagging the excess to sale to local gardeners this coming year.. I’m excited to start BREEDING our goats! And now we’re looking at raising rabbits too.. we’re going homestead crazy! haha

  • 19 February, 2015 at 9:34 pm
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    I really want to start a garden up this year! I am starting to do the research now and I am not sure how much I will get to plant. I might just start with herbs and one or two veggies and see if I can keep it alive haha!

    • 19 February, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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      I PROBABLY should have started smaller, but I have this problem with doing small things in a BIG way.. so I really hope I can keep this garden alive!!!

  • 20 February, 2015 at 2:07 am
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    Thanks for the great informative tips Gingi!

  • 20 February, 2015 at 9:40 am
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    I don’t garden where I live, that is one of the things I wanted to be able to do when I find a new place this summer… I thought I would start with flowers first and then move up to easy to grow vegetable. I live in the city, so no way to have a goat xox

    • 20 February, 2015 at 2:38 pm
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      I always considered vegetables to be easier to grow than flowers! lol.. I bought some flowers to experiment with this summer, and I am nervous as heck about them!

  • 23 February, 2015 at 5:56 pm
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    I love goats and your goats are adorable!!!

    We don’t have goats (I think my condo board would frown on that) but we do compost for our garden.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

  • 10 October, 2015 at 8:58 am
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    Thanks for the informative article! I just got a big pile of bagged up goat manure delivered today, for use on my pineapples, bananas, soursop, papaya, coconuts and other tropical fruit trees (I’m in Thailand).

  • 20 March, 2016 at 3:58 pm
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    My neighbor has goats, raises, sells some and I don’t mind them however he does no gardening and burns the manure and the smell (to me) is sickening sweet and can’t enjoy the pleasure of opening windows,etc. Am I out of line saying this? Is it legal? Please respond, Thanks, Colin

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