Bad Stuff in Goat Poop

(Question)

Are goat poops dangerous? Do goat poops have (bad) worms and bacteria? There are alot of goat manure fertilizers for sale near our house and were thinking of buying one or two for amending our pretty hard clay garden soil. But then i started to think about the parasites ( Worms = Yuck ) and stuff that could be in the manure, and then googled about it, and now i’m terrified ( i read lots of sites about nematodes and bacterias in manure ). The bag doesn’t have any “Compost” word on it, it doesn’t tell anything except “fine Goat manure” and bla bla, so i dont know if its composted or not.

Thanks.

 

(Answer)

Thanks for getting in touch with Toronto Master Gardeners.

Animal manure is what farmers and gardeners have been using for centuries to fertilize gardens and fields–cows, sheep, horses, chickens, ducks, as well as goats. Animal manure is usually collected and set aside in a pile for at least a year or so to become ‘compost’ before it can be used on one’s garden beds–during this time, the pile is mixed with straw and other plant material to create a compost that one can safely use–the natural process of creating compost will eliminate any pathogens. As you are aware, using compost is an excellent way to improve one’s soil–it will add nutrients to the soil which will promote healthy plant growth.

Goats produce pellet-sized droppings that are dry and can be used more quickly than manure from cows or horses, which needs a lot of time to break down; there is also no odour which might attract insects. Even though the word “compost” is not on the bags of goat manure, the product is actually composted goat manure; it would be quite safe to use in your garden. Goat manure is considered one of the best and easiest manures to use.

You mention that you have “hard clay garden soil”. Adding compost to any soil is the best way to improve the quality and texture of the soil as well as adding nutrients to it. Simply wet the soil and spread the manure/compost on top to a depth of at least 2 inches–make sure that the manure is moist. If the soil is hard, you may want to loosen it with a garden fork before adding the manure/compost.

Soil, of course, is essential for growing plants–soil is “simply a porous medium consisting of minerals, water, gases, organic matter, and microorganisms”. Even though the composition of soils differ from place to place, all soils consist of varying degrees of sand, silt, clay usually referred to as the texture of the soil. Other components are water, which is “important for transporting nutrients to growing plants and soil organisms”;  organic matter, which is made up of dead plant material; air or gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen; and finally, microorganisms which include earthworms, nematodes, bacteria, algae and fungi. A spoonful of soil will contain more than 20,000 microbial organisms, which are the “primary decomposers of raw organic matter”. There is nothing dangerous about these organisms. Without worms and these organisms, the soil would be dead and plants would not be able to grow.

Perhaps when you are working with the soil in your garden, you may come to appreciate how important it is to amend one’s soil to keep it healthy as well as to understand the role worms and thousands of microscopic organisms play in maintaining good soil. There is simply nothing to be worried about.