Animal Manure composting tips

Improving Soil – Using Animal Manure

Animal Manure composting tips

So, let’s talk animal poo, in particular using it in your garden to improve your soil and plants.

I have been lucky enough to live on a farm so I have easy and free access to different types of animal manure and have tried pretty much all of them.  Some with success and some with hard lessons learnt along the way.  The best thing about animal manure is that it is a natural matter and therefore can be used on all types of plants and even your lawn.

So here are some no fuss, easy tips on using animal manure in your garden.


Cow Manure

  • If you have access to fresh cow paddies, you will need to soak it in water first (to the consistency of mash potatoes), then dig it into your garden.
  • Place a couple of handfuls of manure into a porous bag and soak in water until it looks like weak tea.  Use as a liquid fertiliser.
  • You can purchase bags of cow manure at your local Bunnings or garden store.
  • Great for the veggie patch, fruit trees (dug into the soil around the base of the tree), poured over your lawn and is great for all plants.

Just mind the smell!!


Chicken Manure 

  • Great source of nutrients for your whole garden, I dig it straight in.  It’s usually mixed in with soil from the bottom of the coop so no need to do anything else with it.
  • This is one of the best fertilises to use on fruit trees, especially citrus, they love it. I dig it into the soil around the base and mulch over the top.
  • Also great to sprinkle over the lawn and for all plants.

Couple of tips:  if using in the vegie patch ensure you wash your vegies thoroughly before eating.  Also, dogs love chicken manure and will try to have a snack when you’re not looking so water in well if using it in the garden or on the lawn.



Sheep Manure

Okay, I know this is not something that is readily available but I run sheep on our farm so do have access to it and could not leave it out of the post.

  • Just like cow paddies, you need to place it in water and make a mash before placing it in the garden.
  • Again, this can be used on all plants and vegies



Horse Manure

I laugh to myself every time of think of using horse manure. Like most people I thought this would be great to add to the vegie patch. Natural organic matter. Well that it is but please, and I can tell you from experience, don’t add fresh horse manure to your garden!  Horses eat a lot of hay, oats and the like, so their manure is full of seeds. This in turn puts seeds into your garden bed that you did not want to grow. I am still weeding grasses from my vegie patch years later. Lesson learned.

So, if you want to use horse manure please either:

  • Compost it first (the heat generated when composting kills the seeds)
  • Place a couple of handfuls of manure into a porous bag and soak in water until it looks like weak tea.  Use as a liquid fertiliser.


All of these manures are great to add to your compost if you compost the traditional way, just turn it over as you do with all the other matter you add to your compost and it will help speed up the process.


One thing to keep in mind when using a natural fertiliser like animal manure, is that it takes time to see results and improvements in your soil and to your plants. It is also something that needs to be done on a regular basis, you can’t just do it once a year.  I fertilise on a monthly basis as I have sandy soil and lose a lot of nutrients fast.  I tend to alternate my fertiliser between:

  • Cow manure
  • Chicken manure
  • Blood and bone
  • Dynamic lifter
  • Seasol (this is also great to protect plants during frost periods and from heat stress in the hotter months)

I also supplement with a slow release fertiliser on my fruit trees and roses to help them in the growing months.

So why don’t you give it a go?  Start with one of the above, give it a try and see how your garden responds.


Leave a comment below and share with us your tips to improve your garden soil with little to no cost.







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