anyone vermicompost dog poop?

Dave_zone_5(Zone 5a/4b Wisc)February 10, 2004

Hi all,

I have vermicomposted in the past, but now that I have a yard I just do outdoor composting which works well for me.

The one organic material that I still toss in the trash though is dog poop. I have tried the burying route, the spraying it with water route and all of that, but since the ground here is frozen 3 months out of the year I figure having a way to recycle it all year round would be best.

Please save the health warnings concerning dog poop, I have heard them all before (smiles).

Has anyone here vermicomposted dog poop before and if so, how well did it work out for you? I would be doing this *inside* (basement) most of the year. I imagine smell won't be an issue unless I add too much too fast. I doubt I would feed poop to the worms during the summer months because I would just be bringing fly eggs into the house, but other than the fly season poop would be the worm's primary food source.

Looking for testimonials, thanks.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
plantgal(z3 MN)

I actually saw a vermacomposting unit for sale that uses only dog poop. I am very interested in the answers you get, We have 3 large Chesapeake bay Retrievers and if I could recycle all the poop, that would be great.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2004 at 10:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The only thing I have read says to use a seperate system for it. I don't know anyone who has done this...
If you try it and have some tips, let us know, ok?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2004 at 11:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sowth Efrikan offer what they call inground waste digester units using enzymes and bacteria. It's not quite what you had in mind, but perhaps it will be a good alternative. Personally I wouldn't mess around with doggie doo.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2004 at 11:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't waste any of your money.

Kelly Slocum (worm queen extraordinaire) says to get a rubbermaid kitchen garbage can (doesn't matter, as long as the lid fits tight), cut the bottom off and bury it about 2 feet in the ground in an out of the way part of your yard.
Put in some garden soil, hay or straw, some compost, and then add the poop. As you add poop, make sure you add dead leaves or straw to balance the mix. The worms will come!
Just make sure you do NOT use the byproduct on any edible plants (no matter how black and rich it is!).



    Bookmark   February 11, 2004 at 3:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dave_zone_5(Zone 5a/4b Wisc)

Thanks for the responses so far. Unfortunately I don't think an outside solution is adequate because I live in a cold climate. I would have no way of composting the poop for several months each year which is why I was thinking of an indoor worm bin.

The potential problems I perceive from an indoor bin is that it might smell and during the summer the flies will lay their eggs in it before I can pick it up and feed it to the worms which would bring maggots and then flies into the house which I don't want. It wouldn't be a big deal to wash the poop into the grass during the summer and feed the worms kitchen scraps during that 3 month period.

My main concern before getting started is the potential odor. That's why I am looking to see if anyone has done this indoors and get their experiences. I am thinking the poop should be like anything else in the bin and not smell unless too much is added too quickly. Just kinda want to make sure though ;-)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2004 at 5:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bob_I(E. Missouri)

Dave, even in a cold climate Kelly's system should work. The key is burying it 2 feet deep...the worms can go up or down to avoid weather extremes, and the manure will heat as it breaks down. Seeya, Bob

    Bookmark   February 11, 2004 at 7:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
avwheeler(Z7 TX)

Dave, Happy D Worm Ranch carries the Eliminator 150 for poop composting at I'm not sure if they still have any or not, though. In your climate, Kelly's idea would probably work if you dug down below frost line. In my area, that's almost three feet.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2004 at 12:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dave_zone_5(Zone 5a/4b Wisc)

avwheeler, thanks for the link. The idea of digging a hole isn't appealing to me because the frost line during a severe winter is 4'. The furthest I have managed to dig in my clay/rock substrate is 20" and even then I have to use a pitchfork to loosen an inch at a time. Not fun. Also, I want to use the resulting vermicompost in flower beds, not have it disapear into the substrate.

That's why vermicomposting indoors appeals to me for the dog poop. I was just hoping someone else had tried it and could tell me their experience as I have my doubts about odors.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2004 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When Jasper was a here and now dog instead of a dog gone dog, I composted ALL of his tootsie rolls in the dog run which had a bed of wood chips three feet thick.
And let me tell ya, the lumbricus rebellus worms LOVED IT!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2004 at 2:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kelly_Slocum(sw WA state)

I was not going to comment on this simply because I do have concerns about the health issues of indoor processing of dog waste that was deposited outdoors. You seem to have a pretty level head about this, though, Dave, appear to recognize that health concerns do exist, and are asking specifically about how to ameliorate them, which seems a good thing.

My first question is to ask why you don't simply flush the dog stuff? Yes, it is OM, which we all hate to lose for our soils, but it is potentially contaminated OM that you are CONCENTRATING in one area, potentially amplifying pathogens in that small space. Consider flushing as an alternative to vermicomposting and I will feel I have adequately discharged my duty to inject caution into the discussion.

The potential for flies is going to be an issue you will be unlikely to circumvent, because fly eggs can lay dormant in frozen material for extended periods of time, breaking dormancy in response to temperature increases. It is how flies repopulate each season in very cold climates. You will be able to use only dog manure that is desposited after your local fly population is knocked out by the cold, and you will have to stop using the dog stuff well before they begin to recover in the spring to ensure you are not innoculating your system. This will be very important.

Even if you do feed dog poop at a rate appropriate to the processing rate of the worms there is still likely to be odor unless you take special steps to control this. In vermiprocessing, odors from smelly feedstocks are typically reduced within the first 12-18 hours, but they ARE present during that initial 12-18 hour period. Having stated this, there is a surprising amount of anecdotal evidence suggesting that mixing the dog manure (or hog manure, cow manure, baggasse, cow paunch) or any other malodorous feedstock with leaves before adding it to the bin, then covering with a 2" layer of vermicompost/worm castings, or very good compost will supress the odor. Sawdust can be used as well, but is typically processed rather slowly in the worm bed compared to other OM choices, making it a less desirable option.

I still have real reservations about this idea, Dave, but I would be very interested in your results if you give it a try.

Kelly S

    Bookmark   February 15, 2004 at 5:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenguy(Zone 5 OH)

I would also be very interested in the results as I have three dogs of my own that are quite good at producing.... well you know. And also living here in northern ohio it gets very cold out, i don't think the temp. got over 20 this weekend. I have a similar bin from happy d that i use now (non poo). but would buy that dog poo special from them as well if you go ahead and try this with good results. So please post if you plan to go ahead with this or drop me an email if you can.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2004 at 10:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenguy(Zone 5 OH)

I forgot to mention you can reduce the amount of doggie do but using a good high quality food which will also make them easier to pick up etc. It really does make a difference.

another question I would have would be if heart worm pills will harm worms, or any other regular shots/medication.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2004 at 10:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dave_zone_5(Zone 5a/4b Wisc)

Thanks all for the responses.

I think I am going to skip vermicomposting the dog do.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2004 at 2:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Charl_CT(Cape Town)

Hi Dave

As a matter of interest:

I have recently tried Kelly Slocum's buried bin idea.
It is working extremely well with the compost starting to cook at a fairly high temp within 5-6 days (early morning steam wafting out the airholes and the bin itself is hot). Anyhow, I must invest in a thermometer to see how hot it actually gets. Daytime temps are around 28-30 degrees Celsius so that most probably helps. I wonder how the earth worms (local worm = eisenia foetida) that are attracted to the bin survive. Perhaps the temperatures are cooler at the soil/bin border?

I am using Black Wattle leaves as the only other additive (disregarding a regular sprinkling of water). They are quite acidic and I am wondering whether this does not also accelerate the process

I think that you are correct in giving the process a miss as the bin has become quite attractive to flies, ants and other unidentified bugs. It also has a distinct odour even though I make sure to cover the new waste with a generous layer of dampened leaves. Having it inside would not be a good idea!

I have placed the bin in a remote area, seldom visited by my dogs (Yucca's and cacti!) and the bin has a stout lid on it. Also, I have hung a flytrap right next to it (which seems to have cut down on the fly activity). I am hoping that some of the many insect eating birds in the area will migrate to the new feeding site.

Although I do not cultivate any fruit or veg I am still loath to use the finished product in the garden because of roundworm and other nasties. One option that I thought of is to use a steam cleaner or boiling water to sterilise each completed batch.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2004 at 8:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As always Kelly your writings are very interesting and informative, it's been some time since jasperilla's departure, so it might be interesting to take some of the dog run compost and have it analyzed for pathogens.
There was a lady at one of the composting seminars that I went to and she studied and taught about pathogens and compost and she was interested in finding out about the pathogen destruction in vermicomposting.
I'll have to get in touch with her and hear her thoughts.
From what I remember at the seminars one thing she was leery about was compost tea and its brewing and what she called pathogen bloom. (especially when adding molasses to the brew)
But then there's Kelly.....
So what I think your saying kelly is that there's no pathogen destruction in a vermicomposting system or do the pathogens get consumed and destroyed by the worms but still continue exist in the bin/soil too?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2004 at 9:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenrw71(8 usda)

If....I remember correctly its the pathogenic chain that needs to be broken for safety..Chicken manure feed to worms then the worms feed back to the chickens compounds certain parisites and maybe other things harmful to chickens.However these same worms could be feed to say fish with no harm.A dog is a meat eater and most people feed then scraps from the table.It was and may still be common in some areas of asia to use night soils(raw human manure) on plant crops the harm of this practice is well documented.I would not want to eat any food grown in soil that utilizes manure from a dog that eats some of what I eat.Even after vermicomposting unless tested how would you verify pathogen reduction?I do believe that composting of raw human manure and adaquate ageing reduces pathogen numbers ( this I think has been documented)..but I would still utilize the compost in a manner that breaks the pathogen chain ie- apply it to maybe pasture lands,feed the grass to cows.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2004 at 5:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kelly_Slocum(sw WA state)

What I'm saying is that when a worm bed is fed organic material that is contaminated with human pathogens at least some of the pathogens are destroyed in the worm gut, but we don't know for sure if ALL are destroyed. Further, all of the OM in the system would have to pass through the worm gut to be exposed to whatever destructive mechanism the worm possesses, but we do not yet have a standard operating procedure that ensures this. Therefore, it is seems possible for some pathogens to survive and remain for a time in the finished worm castings. Considering that this issue involves a public health risk I choose to err on the side of caution.

Now, most pathogenic organisms survive just a few days outside of a host (depending on environment), but some, like some parsitic worm ova, can survive many months (depending on environment) so you should review your public health department guidelines to ensure safety.

The compost tea situation is a very contentious issue in an exceptionally polarized community. If compost tea folks put as much effort into creating a real product as they do industry in-fighting they might actually get somewhere some day. At this point I don't hold out much hope, though. Whoops! Sorry about the editorializing!

The concern centers around the fact that many of the pathogenic organisms about which we're concerned are anaerobes. Oxygen rich environments are hostile to them and they don't survive long. If, when making tea, so much sugar is added that it amps the biological community to the point that its demand for oxygen exceeds the supply then the O2 level is dropped, potentially creating an anaerobic environment that favors pathogen growth. This leads many to wonder if sugar is the problem or if this isn't simply an oxygen issue, but I flatly refuse to enter that arguement and will keep my opinion to myself!

Does that clarify things, Ryan, or have I muddied the waters?

Kelly S

    Bookmark   May 10, 2004 at 6:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dave_zone_5(Zone 5a/4b Wisc)

I was alerted via email responses that this topic I started some time ago has been resurected.

For the record I have decided not to vermicompost dog poop, not because of health reasons, but because I don't think I could do it indoors without a lot of odor and a ton of flies/maggots.

Anyway, my *opinion* on the subject of pathogens is that it is pretty much a non issue.

If you own a dog that dog poops in your yard. Any pathogens in your dog's poop capable of living in your soil already are. I don't know about you, but my dog poops in the veggy garden from time to time. I don't like it, but my dog insists.

I understand that the level of pathogens can build over time if the source material continues to be added, but...

Plants don't take up human pathogens. The pathogens that affect meat eaters have to be ingested by meat eaters, not plants. If the plants don't contain meat eater pathogens, how are they going to be introduced to us from eating the plants?

I look at it like lead in the soil. It doesn't harm the plants and the plants don't take up the lead. The only risk is from lead dust getting splashed onto the material we will eat and our eating it without washing it first.

Assuming the dog poop does in fact contain pathogens (with most cared for canine pets this seems unlikely) once it is composted or vermicomposted I kind of doubt the pathogens are present in very high numbers. Even if they are the risk isn't any different (and it's probably lower) than gardening in soil the dog has pooped on. For that matter consider all the other critters that have left their deposits on the soil. Bird poop is nasty stuff, but who has a garden that isn't routinely treated with poop from birds that gladly leave their droppings?

Yeah, there is a risk. But given the lack of reports of home gardeners dying or getting ill at a higher rate than those who don't garden I can't imagine the risk is anything other than negligable. Nobody owns a garden without animal poop in it, particularly those with dogs or outside cats.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 12:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am an old man with a simple out look on life, all creatures, human and otherwise have for the past hundred million years or so left their deposits on the ground for nature to dispose of, apart from a few times in history when things have gone wrong, for the most part nature does a very good job, perhaps we get just a little to squeamish, however I dont think I would want to put too much dog droppings into my compost bin, and certainly none at all if I was composting indoors
Kind regards John

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 3:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kelly_Slocum(sw WA state)

Well now, hang on a minute; yes, there is animal manure in your garden soil and grass and planting beds, and yes animals have been leaving their deposits all over the planet since the first meeting of protoplasm in the primiordial soup, but what you're talking about is different. You're talking about collecting manure that would normally be spread over your entire property or, in the case of wild animals, over acres of land, and concentrating it in one small worm bed or compost pile. Nature doesn't do this and it is this concentration of manure and its associated pathogenic activity in one small area that is largely the concern.

Another concern can center on the physics of massing the manure. When an animal poops it either buries the stuff in clean, aerobic soil, or the manure is left exposed to sunlight and weathering on the soil surface. These environments are openly hostile to any pathogenic organisms that might be present in the fecal material. Any ANaerobic pocket in the worm bin or compost pile to which manure is added may be areas in which potentially present pathogens would be sufficiently comfortable to grow, thus increaseing their numbers. If pathogens are a concern but composting or vermicomposting pet waste is a priority it is important to manage the bin to inhibit/prevent pathogen bloom.

Lastly, the vector concerns are more than just fears over pathogen contaminated compost being spread throughout the garden. There is the possibility of transmission when you work the compost or worm bin as well.

Now, I rank among those in favor of composting or vermicomposting my pet waste, but I do not teach or promote this in my classes. I speak to far too large and diverse a group of people to be willing to risk the public health. While I, too, feel that pathogen transmission as the result of my dog poop being processed in my worm bin is outweighed by the health benefits of cucumbers grown in worm castings ammended soil, not everyone within earshot of these conversations may be as healthy as we.

And for the sake of friendly debate, I have always felt uncomfortable with the statement that "no one has died as the reslt of doing this". That is, firstly, not true since people do die, albeit the occurance is rare, from infections picked up from the soil. Several hundred died in Canada a few years ago when their community water supply was infected with fecal coliform from a nearby dairy. Secondly, such a statement would likely be no comfort at all were the first victim to be someone you loved. It is our responsibility to promote practices that we know will be safe for ALL who might decide to try them, and I believe we all agree with that. We may as individuals try ideas contrary to the conservative suggestions, but we promote what is in the best interest of the larger community.

Kelly S

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 12:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dave_zone_5(Zone 5a/4b Wisc)

Now, I rank among those in favor of composting or vermicomposting my pet waste, but I do not teach or promote this in my classes. I speak to far too large and diverse a group of people to be willing to risk the public health. While I, too, feel that pathogen transmission as the result of my dog poop being processed in my worm bin is outweighed by the health benefits of cucumbers grown in worm castings ammended soil, not everyone within earshot of these conversations may be as healthy as we.

I agree completely. I think the overall risk level is low, but there is a risk.

I love storms so I can usually be found sitting outside watching the lightning and listening to the thunder. I am certainly increasing my risk of getting struck by lightning or having a tree fall on me, but I personally don't care because the way I do the math it comes out in favor of reward rather than risk.

At the same time I don't disagree with the advice to seek shelter during storms.

It's a personal choice which is decided by each individual's estimation of the risk/reward.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 1:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Some time ago I saw a documentary on china. A farmer on the outskirts of shanghai was saying that they used to fertilize their vegetables with night soil but it was discontinued in lieu of commercial fertilizer. However, customers complained that the fertilized veges were tasteless and so the farmer has now gone back to fertilizing with night soil.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with just about all that has been said, its all to do with your point of view if you believe all you read, just about everything is said to be harmful in one way or an other its all about balance the good out weighs the bad at least thats what I think

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 4:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know if this is outside the point but my "dog run" is ten feet wide and 50 feet long and I never buried jaspers tootsies in the same spot twice.
I should still have it analyzed for pathogins.(I am kinda curious)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
napapen(ca 15)

everything I have read says not to compost with your other compost, meat eat'ers poop - that's cat, dog, human.

Napa Penny

    Bookmark   May 14, 2004 at 6:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Raymondo(Armidale, NSW)

I've just set up a vermicomposter specifically for doogie doo. It's the only thing they get to eat as I read that if you feed them kitchen scraps as well they won't eat the poop. The worm wee and castings will go onto the ornamental garden and pots, not the veggie patch. I figure it's better than just binning it to go into landfill. At least it's cycled through a worm's guts before going onto the garden.
There's a company here selling vermicomposters specifically for dog poop. I had a look at them but they're just your regular commercially available composters, with a higher price tag of course.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 7:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Gorfram(7b W Oregon)

Ok, I don't get it...

1)What would happen if you took your finished canine compost, and re-composted it in your regular vermicomposting bin? Would the second trip through elimilnate any remianing pathogens? Or would the pathogens spread and contaminate all of your compost?

2) If the pathogens we are worried about are killed on exposure to air, could you eliminate them by spreading out your canine compost and letting it dry? Or by heat-sterilizing it (in, perhaps, a pressure cooker dedicated to the purpose)?

- Evelyn

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 3:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
herb_nerd2000(z7 Tx)

I have 4 dogs and 7 cats. I compost poop in general. There is nothing in fecal matter that will hurt worms. I put my dog poop when I find it in the compost heap. No smell, just cover it with compost or paper.. The worms consume it like they would shredded paper. I have read many posts with warnings. I have been feeding poop for years and the only drawback is digging in the worm bed. You never know what you'll get into.. I use peat moss in the litter box so I can put it directly into the worm bins.

AND NO, I don't have all these animals in the house, we just let them occasionaly then right back out..

Hope this helps..

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 8:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ShenValleyJoe(6b Staunton, VA)

What pathogens should I worry about in the poop of a indoor cat that only eats dry cat food? (No rodents, just an occasional cricket) Would that make a difference in safety?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 12:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kelly_Slocum(sw WA state)

First, I want to thank all of you for the truly rational and friendly ways in which you communicate. This subject is disucssed on many other internet fora and almost always degenerates into an arguement, yet all of you, even though not all agree exactly, manage to make the discussion and even disagreement a pleasure. It's so nice to read and participate here!

Evelyn posted: "1)What would happen if you took your finished canine compost, and re-composted it in your regular vermicomposting bin? Would the second trip through elimilnate any remianing pathogens?"

Thermophilic (high temperature) composting does, indeed, reliably destroy pathogens and is the accepted means of pathogen control in organic waste streams. The thing is, worm castings are very stable organic materials, thus they do not get hot. Depending on how much of the pile they comprise the castings may actually prevent the compost from reaching sufficient temperature for sufficient time to reliably destroy pathogens.

The way this usually works is that the poop is thermally composted first and the resulting raw compost is fed to the worm bed AFTER the stuff has gone through the pathogen control thermal composting phase.

Evelyn also asked: "2) If the pathogens we are worried about are killed on exposure to air, could you eliminate them by spreading out your canine compost and letting it dry? Or by heat-sterilizing it (in, perhaps, a pressure cooker dedicated to the purpose)?"

Drying, sunlight exposure, and heat sterilization are all potential means of killing pathogens, but all require time, often exceeding 140 hours. During the time you ahve the manure spread out for sun and O2 exposure flies are using the material as a breeding ground, and the area where the poop is being spread is, um, shall we say unsightly?

There are a few people who claim to be "cooking" their pet manure in a crock pot for a few hours before feeding it to worms, which is effctive, but also smells absolutely horrid (yes, I've tried it to see whether or not this is a practical option. No, I did not find it to be so). This is not an option I would ever recommend simply because of the "ick factor".

If you choose to process your dog waste yourself, burying 12" in the soil or thermally composting the stuff are still generally considered the most practical options. For those not excited about management of dog waste flushing is a pretty well-understood method of disposal and most households come with the necessary equipment. ::grin::

Joe, you might want to talk with someone with an expertise in cats to get the best information on potential pathogens in cat waste. Speaking generally, other than the standard fecal coliforms found in the intestines of all mammals the main concern in cat feces is Toxoplasma gondii, a single celled parasite associated with cat feces and raw or undercooked meat. Toxoplasmi gondii is mainly a danger to those with weakened immune systems and to babies in the womb. Whether or not your cat is a carrier of this parasite does depend on its exposure to other carriers, which is why I suggest you talk with someone with special knowledge of cats and their behaviors.

Kelly S

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 3:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Gorfram(7b W Oregon)

Thank you, Kelly, for posting so much worthwhile and interesting information :)

I was thinking of drying, solar exposure, or heat sterilization as solutions to apply to the finished worm castings. I heartily agree that the "ick factor" would be prohibitive with pre-composted, post-doggie, OM. The idea of a (dedicated) pressure cooker occurred to me as the closest household equivalent to an autoclave - I would not expect a crockpot to get hot enough, and it would not contain odor at all :(

My imagined scenario might work something like this:
Dave (the OP) whiles away the Wisconsin winter composting doggie poop in a worm bin (which resides in the fume hood with triple activated-carcoal odor filtration ventilation system that he's had installed in his basement for the purpose :)
June arrives, and he flings himself outdoors to play baseball; ignoring the worm bin and flushing the fly-inoculated doggie poop of summer. The worms die out over the summer, and come Labor Day he's got a lovely bin of finished but possibly pathogenic castings.
If a nice little cold snap whacks all the flies, and Dave can count on an Indian Summer and the tolerance of others, he simply spreads the castings out on his driveway or RV pad for a week (168 hours). If suitable weather and/or tolerance are not forthcoming, he purchases a pressure cooker to be used solely for this purpose, hands his wife an amount roughly equal to the price of a reasonably safe pressure cooker to absent herself and the kids to mall/movies for the day, and "autoclaves" the castings in as many batches as it takes.
Garden author George Shenk recommends smoking a cigar in the house after this sort of escapade, as he finds that olofactory evidence of Breaking The Rules is better tolerated than similar evidence of Losing Your Mind.
(Less carcinogenically inclined folks might burn incense.)

This would also give Dave a chance to sit back and contemplate the black gold he has obtained absolutely free, expect for the price of a fume hood, two pressure cookers, and a good cigar :)
(For some reason, the non-hypothetical Dave has already chosen to simply continue flushing his dog poop. Go figure :)

I ultimately agree with Dave as to the worth and feasibilty of the vermicomposting idea, but still can't help wondering whether it could be made to work, however bothersomely and expensively.

(I suppose now would be the time to confess that I do not own, and have no plans to acquire, a dog :)

- Evelyn

    Bookmark   August 30, 2004 at 2:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yiaks .... with alldue respect ... no way! ... no way !

    Bookmark   December 10, 2004 at 4:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
geekgranny(NC Tx USA zone8a)

We're working towards moving into a yurt in the woods back on our property where we will not be able to get in heavy equipment. Due to this and other conservation reasons we will be using a composting toilet and greywater system. I'm just starting my learning about these systems. How about rigging up something similar to a composting toilet? I currently have 5 large and giant dogs (Mastiffs, Rotties, Briard and yes, they are all housedoggies), feed food that produces less waste than most (ProPlan Turkey and Barley), and I've started again composting it just this week after not doing so for a few years. The 40" plastic bin I'm using is round, sloping up and in a little and not buried. It hasn't been used in years but was about half way full of poo and leaves several years ago when I last used it. When I looked in it this week there was little evidence that anything had ever been in it. When it was in operation I had eight dogs, four of them Mastiffs who poop BIG no matter what you feed. As I recall there was never much odor coming from it except for just when I poop scooped before I covered that with leaves. It is quite warm here most of the year; N Central Texas. The tree crew dropped a limb on the bin this summer so I will be composting without the top. I'll try to supply updates on this topic. BTW.. I'm undecided about using the compost and on what. So far I've been concerned mostly with desposal issues but the Ash tree the bin sits under has survived the Ash kill-off we've had out here. In fact the healthiest Ash tree around my property is the old one near where they do most of their pooing.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2004 at 1:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
herb_nerd2000(z7 Tx)

Cooking dog poop in the house is a good way to get rid of those dredded in-laws. If you must cook it, do it with solar power. Get a metal drum, 20 gal/55 gal, paint it flat black and wrap it loosly with clear plastic. It will be a solar heater for cooking everything from compost to hog feed. Fill it half full with compost/poop. Turn the barrel on it's side and roll it half over every day.. Even in a cold climate this works very well. In extreem cold, (artic) this might not work too well.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2004 at 7:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Verm-composting of dog manure works quite well. I have a bin for my four dogs that has been going for the past year. No problems. I add shredded paper and rice hulls to balance the manure. No significant odor problem although my set up is outdoors, away from the house. Rice hulls are very effictive and cheap. I use the castings on ornamental plantings around the yard, but not directly on food crops. There is little chance of pathogen problems with using the castings on food crops as long as you wash the produce. That said, I don't use it that way simply because my garden is so large that I don't have any poblem using up the castings on non-food crops.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 1:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture has a helpful page of information on what to do with pet waste. (Vermicomposting is not one of the options discussed, though.)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 5:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

having composted people poo and urine from camping trip waste, I have to say that sawdust composting toilets work just dandy! why not sawdust toilet the doggie doo! you'd need to add some urine and molasses to get it cooking. Mine went to 150 deg F for several days.
any pathogens in there would be cooked. see the humanure handbook for more info.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 1:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kbug(zone 7?)

yall are gross. :-)) i will touch worm doo and i will touch worms but i refuse to touch dog doo and by the way, i refuse to take out the trash also.

and to COOK dog doo? oh, that is even grosser than gross. my husband scoops up the dog doo every day and throws it in the same pile month after month and i go absolutly no where near it.

yes, i am a squeemish girlie girl. my friends and family are still in shock over the worm farm. they would probably have me commited if i told them i was cooking poo now too!!

love yall

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 7:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mkirkwag(Puget Sound)

I read something a little while ago that said that you should simply age the worm compost a year before using it. I'm gathering worms to make a pet manure worm bin. I thought I'd follow the age-it-a-year system and only use it on ornamentals. I'd just bury it if I didn't know my dogs so well (:-((

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 5:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wyndyacre(z6B SW Ont.)

Well, this thread certainly provided interesting lunch time conversation at work last week. Imagine a bunch of horticulturists sitting around the lunch table in our greenhouse discussing worms and composting doggie doodoo over our sandwiches and fruit :o) Hmmmm, actually it was probably one of our less disgusting topics (having just shovelled 3 truckloads of horse poop in the rain) and just think of all the people I educated on the subject of vermicomposting! LOL

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 1:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jeanie65(z 8 Tx.)

Interesting posts y'all, enjoyed reading them, soooo informative, BUT, could some one please tell me ,what is night soil?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 10:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jeanie65(z 8 Tx.)

Okee-dokee, :) , think I will stick with my rabbit manure worm castings..., thanks, Priswell

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 4:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vmperkins(z5 central IL)

I know this thread is old, and what I want to say doesn't really have to do with vermicomposting, but here goes...

I use a digester system for my dog waste. It gets cold here in winter, and our frost line is 3 feet, but I can simply put all the poop in the digester all winter and then start the thing up again in spring. Now I'm not saying this would work with giant dogs' waste, but it works quite nicely for my small and medium dogs. The waste is not going anywhere as long as it is frozen, and it can be digested as soon as it unfreezes.

In fact this winter I only picked up from the yard a couple of times--stuff was frozen solid and I figured it wasn't hurting anything just sitting there. And although they are not strictly necessary, I do use enzymes to help the digestion, since they speed things up.

Works for me.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 9:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Irmgaard(5b MI)

we just mow it :)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
petbakery(z5 OH)

Have you thought about just burying it? I have 11 dogs, so there's plenty of poop to go around. I bury it in random holes near the base of a big tree (ornamental not fruit). Since starting this, I've attracted quite a few "wild" worms and assorted micro-life around the tree.... and the tree is doing wonderfully. No smell whatsoever.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 7:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is an old thread, and this is an out there querry. That said, I have two small dogs that seem to produce more poop than I can keep up with!

I have noticed that on the deposits that are dried out a day or two, I find hundreds of peelbugs (rollypollies) on a pile, and it is turned to crumble in a day or so!!! I was so interested that I looked at peelbugs on the internet, as I did not know they were manuer eaters. It says nowhere that they eat poo, as a matter of fact, they are said to eat roots, and vegetation!!!! But I seem to have a huge population of them in my yard, and in my compost heaps, vermi and regular!!!

They also seem to be a bit finicky at to the piles they infest. Usually five out of ten are covered with the bugs, and when I pick it up, it falls apart like dust.

I wonder if there is any research or anything about using these prolific bugs to compost dog poop?

This topic seemed to be the most commented on, and seemed to be of great interest as to how to dispose of dog doo. I too would love to "recycle" it, I hate to dispose of it and it would be great to find a way to have it munched up without concern.

If anyone knows anything about this, or has seen the same thing, id love to hear it!!!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 5:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hufa97(z5 MA)

I bought a STAYWELL dog waste bin with digester. I have followed all directions but the waste is not flowing out of the side bin holes. Also I have noticed maggots are swimming around. Is there anything I can do?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
junequilt(z8 SC)

Hufa97, how is your drainage around the composter?

I tried a Doggie Dooley years ago in a yard with poor drainage. I never did get it to flow properly.

Where I live now, like Lucky22, the roly-polies decimate the stuff before it has a chance to become a nuisance.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 2:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hufa97(z5 MA)

I dug a hole about 3 feet x 4 feet and placed about 8 inches of rocks in the hole. I then put the dooley in the hole and filled around it with rocks (as per the instructions). I made sure the holes were not obstructed.

Lucky22, how do you set it up so the pillbugs will do the work?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i dont set it up. i just find them in my compost heap, my vermi heap, and on piles of dog doo. Just like junequilt, they just appear and do it. i still am at a loss as to why they do, but bless their souls. maybe because i live in southern cali? i was hoping to find the answer.

thanks! : )

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 6:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A very old thread, I know, and this is sort of OT, but sort of in referrence to the pill bugs on the dog poo...

We just moved to a new house surrounded on 3 sides by semi-wilderness and after 3 weeks of thinking my husband was doing a GREAT job of keeping on top of our retriever's dog poo, I mentioned it to him. Turns out he had not picked up one pile. We started paying attention to them and it turns out there are these big beetles out here that ball the poo up and roll it out of the yard. Bizarre. I saw a documentary on African Dung Beetles once and that's the only thing I can compare it to. To this day (months later) we have not picked up one pile of poo. Once it got a little chillier the bugs slacked off, but now we are spoiled and waiting it out. It's a big yard.

Oh, we do have the pill bugs too, and occassionally they are working the piles as well.

I know that doesn't help anyone, but it just blew our minds, so I thought I'd share.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 9:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
psymbiosis(z7 NM)

I want some of those beetles, with 2 big dogs I have lotsa poop, and a DH that figures 1 acre is enough room that he does not have to pick it up, yuk! It mostly bakes in the NM sun and then turns to dust.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 7:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

Hi All!

I realize this is an extremely old thread and I dont want to open a can of worms per say but Id like to add my thoughts about this process. First Id like to point out we at one time lived parallel to a City Park in Syracuse NY. Well you know what happens to Parks? People bring their dogs there, and people leave behind what their dogs bring. So you now have to imagine what its like living next to a Park after having 4 to 5 months of Winter in one of the snowiest large cities in the country (and the reason for mentioning Syracuse). As the compacted snow and ice melts the left behind is multiplied by multiplication.

Because I too used the Park on occasion as the snow receded I would take a steel shovel and throw the waste up along the fence where CHILDREN wouldnt have to step into the left behind mess walking home from school or going to sled. I didnt understand why dog owners didnt let their dog do their thing at home and then come to the Park. Or do like I did as we didnt have a lot of land area, and what land we had we used for gardening, therefore we used the Park.

But when I took our pet, that we now have out, I would take her along the fence line and let her do her thing and then bag it. But this type of training created another problem. All of my gardening was along a fence line. Summer wasnt a problem because we had the Park, but do you think Nova would do her duty in the driveway when she had too in the Winter when I was at work or otherwise? Im sure you answered correctly.

She is an outdoor dog (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever) and like most dogs twice a day would not be abnormal. I didnt take her to the Park in Blizzard conditions, or when it was rain/sleet conditions or rarely when it was -10 below or -30 below wind-chill. Of course she had to do her thing. And I must admit I trained her well as her thing was always along the fence-line and not in the driveway. And guess what? Her favorite place was in my Garden - Vegetable Garden that is. We had a separate flower garden at the time.

We had her at that home for 3 years. Multiply 4 or 5 months of Winter X 3 = 12 to 15 months. Half of that would be 6 or 7+ as we didnt use the Park all of the time. There was no way I could clean up the droppings if I was at work or in bad weather and I would in turn have to snow-blow on top of her good deeds. I say good deeds because we walked in the driveway and how can you holler at a well trained dog.

Yes I did clean up as best as I could during snow melt but there was no way possible I could get all of the 7 months of dog doo out of my (vegetable) garden in those three years. Im happy to say I nor my family have ever had any ill effects. And I must admit that I was totally unaware that dog poop is harmful to humans until I began reading this thread (actually last year). That did make me a little leery, but then again. And I honestly wouldnt practice using this waste as a means of gardening for vegetables anyway.

Now to make a very long story as short as possible. We have since moved to a larger home which is fully fenced in with a very large backyard. Tolling Retrievers are very smart dogs. Nova, which happens to be her name, still does her thing along the fence line. Because we live in a flood plain my gardens are raised and Nova knows to stay out of them, why? Because I told her so. Believe me shes alarmingly smart.

Please hang in there if you can alittle longer. We also moved 6 miles east of Syracuse. Six miles east means more snow. Lake Effect we call it. There is no way possible that I can or will go out knee deep in snow to retrieve what Nova has been trained to do 50' away. We have been in this home 5 Winters now. I also started vermicomposting 4 years ago this past Oct. So I knew at least a little about vermicomposting.

When it comes to dog poop Ive noticed two things that I think are interesting regarding this thread. First I dont use pesticides on my lawn or garden because of "us" and Nova. What I did notice more so last year was how healthy our lawn is in the area where shes been doing her thing and in a storm or bitter cold she holds her head high and looks back at me with that lovely face thats saying, "Arent you proud of me?"

I also noticed in another area where I plant Dahlias that is naturally raised how amazingly beautiful the Dahlias and a few other varieties are and the compliments I get are pretty nice without trying to be brag-audacious. Its along the fence line needless to say.

But the second and most interesting thing is this, last year when the snow was melting and still on the ground I decided to go out and clean up the waste. I used a garden trowel to put it in a plastic grocery bag and disposed of it in our weekly trash pickup. Not getting into physics but you do know how dark attracts heat or the Sun creates heat in this case. You also know how red wigglers spook to the light. Well the snow was melted to the ground where the dog poop was, and the heat source caused the snow to melt faster and the poop was to the frozen ground. At least thats what I thought?

But on one scoop lo and behold there were two Eisenia Foetida chomping at the soft mush. Hmmm! Interesting I thought. So I went further on down the line and found two or three other droppings with the Red Wigglers. Hmmm!

Well now were getting to the gist of it. I built a framed box 2' X 4' X 20" that sits on the ground behind the shed. I started to put the poop in the bin. Before long I had Red Worms and centipedes and all of those other crawling things. But two things were still a problem. Breakdown time and a slight odor when I turned to observe or put more poop in. I also placed in pieces of cardboard and buried with soil.

Hmmm! How can I hasten the breakdown and knock down the smell? I use a small pail filled at least to cover the poop with rainwater. Poop below water doesnt smell. I would save this for about a week. And two or three times during the week I would take a small 1" X 2 " piece of wood and break the poop down. The same principle putting veggies in a blender, I guess. After the week I would pull back the broken down soil, expose the worms and say, "Are guys ready to eat?" Or are they girls? (lol), and pore in the slurry and quickly bury with the well broken down soil.

By the next week most of the slurry was pretty well gone and plus on occasion I would put in more cardboard and shredded newspaper when needed.

Are you still with me?????????????

Right now I have three 5 gal pails filled to the brim with this concoction that looks and smells like rich dark soil. Im planning on mixing it with a little bit of outdoor compost and putting it an area where the grass doesnt grow so green. Im pretty sure its going to work with out harming anyone. What do you think? Whew! Sorry I this was long winded


    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselover_5b(z5b KCMO)

If you aren't already familiar with it, the Humanure Handbook contains information that would be very relevant to what you are doing, combining all 3 elements you mentioned to create compost largely pathogen-free.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 2:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cats39(z5 Upstate NY)


Thanks for your reply and the Humanure Handbook which led me to finding this site below whereas I can load the book PDF.

This site has a pretty good read (and I must say better than mine if you have time). I found it interesting and hope you do too if you haven't been there before!

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 5:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jim/Cats39 and to the OP...

Please check out my post on the Soil form, link below.

Based on the Korean "natural farming" method, one might be able to eliminate odors AND speed the composting of the DP by using a mixture of lacto baccillius/molasses/purified water.

One organic farmer in CA is using this to speed up the composting of horse manure to more quickly eliminate pathogens/meet organic standards.

Korean farmers use this to eliminate odors in chicken coops and pig pens, all the while turning the sawdust/manure and this mixture into very rich compost.

The link for "Growing Your Own Beneficial Indigenous Microorganisms" is where the meat of the info is. Also included are "recipes" for creating bionutrients to benefit flowering, fruiting, and growth rates of plants.

There is also a great link on the second post I made that refers to bokashi composting with LB treated newspaper. Good visuals of the process of collecting LB from the air. LB can also be collected by draining plain yogurt through a coffee filter and sieve and mixing the whey with the same volume of molasses. The leftover solids make "yocheese" if you leave it long cream cheese, almost. Nothing wasted.

You can also drain the whey from yogurt, mix that with molasses, wait a few days, mix with purified water make a concentrate to add to water.

It is very interesting reading. I am draining my yogurt now.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 7:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know everyones down on the idea but i really want to use dog poop as fertilizer.I have an unlimited supply and i really hate using chemical fetilizers.Im not gona try and grow root veg init.sureley it cant hurt wiyh fruiting veg like tomatoes ,beans,sweetcorn and peppers.exactly what pathergens are we talking about? Have sientists looked at this?I know commercial crops are spayed with untreated pig waste and chicken waste.Everyones saying carnivore and herbivore but 90% of all the sheep i have opened up have been riddled with all sorts of parrasites things you can see too and they are herbivores they must be the most unhealthy animal on the plannet if i said i was using sheep poo you wouldnt mind

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 1:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This spring I tried a different idea with my one large dog.

I used a separate bucket for dog poop bokashi. Regular bokashi went into the garden or compost pile. After the dog bokashi bucket was full and sat for the recommend two weeks, it went into a DIY digester planted in the ground. A 100# HTH container with lid was used. A hole was dug deeper than the can. Wood chips were placed under, on the sides, and halfway filling the can. Holes were drilled on the bottom and lower sides of the can. Piece of plywood covered the lid, and a bit of compost covered the plywood.

The idea was to place the dog poop bokashi in the top of the can where it would slowly move into the wood chips. Either the holes were not big enough, or the material was not liquid enough, because the can is still full.

Since removing the can to drill bigger holes would be a mess, maybe I'll try to make the material more viscous. Could pour regular bokashi leachate into the dog poop bokashi bucket.

The dog bokashi bucket had no smell in the basement. After using newspaper to collect dog poop (dog only goes on walks, not in his yard), switched to spooning poop into a plastic jar with some sawdust inside. That no doubt helped keep odor down.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 1:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you use your castings on a veggie garden just make sure you are feeding your dogs an Organic diet.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 3:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I compost in the following way: I use black 5 gallon buckets. My first bucket starts with several inches of chlorine free water and 1 teaspoon of rid-x. Dog feces are put in and water is added to cover if necessary. When the bucket is full, the lid is put on tight and stored in the sunlight.

The next bucket is started with remaining liquid from the previous bucket. Lids are kept over the buckets at all times. The sealed bucket is aged for at least 2 weeks, preferably one month or more.

The resulting mush is poured in the flower beds, spring or fall and tilled in or covered up. The resulting flowers look great! It is also poured into low spots in the grass and washed in. I use urine mixed 10:1 to fertilize my yard and garden; they are healthy and very green, some say the best in the neighborhood.

Rid-x uses anerobic bacteria to break down the waste; once the first teaspoon is added, the bacteria multiply on their own, just like bokashi or sourdough. THE RESULTING PRODUCT IS NOT PATHOGEN FREE!

The same process can be used to vermicompost feces (human and dog) either dry with 1/3 carbon source (ie: newspaper shreddings, straw or sawdust), stored in the sun with ventilation holes in the lid, and adding the worms after the temperature no longer elevates after shaking or stirring the contents. A separate hot compost pile can also be used.

Or, wet by adding the month old drained slurry incrementally to a vermicomposting bucket or pile with worms as they digest it. Finished vermicompost exceeds government standards as certified pathogen free compost if it has been processed adequately.

Some municipal waste treatment plants in the US use vermiculture to process human waste sludge which is certified and sold to sod and ornamental farms. It is pathogen free after the worms finish digesting it. Class A pathogen certification requires regular testing

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 2:22AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Types of worms
I imagine this topic has been discussed at length in...
Worm Factory outdoors
Would this kill the worms or just decrease their activity...
Need help for my kitchen
There is no way I can get to my outdoor compost in...
Coaching Others
Hello, experts! I have offered my sage advice for a...
Worms and assorted flying things
So I've got two bins going right now, and both have...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™