Sheep rate second to poultry for producing the most nitrogen and potassium-rich manures. In composted form, sheep manure contains more potassium, calcium and magnesium than the other types; and about as much phosphorus as cow manure. People comment that it smells less than cow or chicken manure but it usually takes longer to dry out.
Because you have more potassium to work with in sheep manure, use it to prepare beds for potatoes and planting holes for pumpkins.
Manures – General Quick Tips
- Chemicals can stick around in the manure and kill beneficial microbes. Look into your source of manure. Fly larvae are a big problem at some farms. Pesticides are sprayed on manure piles to kill the larvae. Another worry is that grass sprayed with herbicides can survive inside the animal’s body and eventually its manure. Do you know if the cows or horses were treated with drugs? Those drugs don’t kill all the bacteria found in animal manure. Medications can also be present in manures.
- Fresh manures must be stored carefully, handled safely and applied judiciously to avoid runoff and contact with skin. Non-woven, thick rubber/vinyl gloves and boots are probably the best defense when handling fresh manures to prevent sickness from E. coli, salmonella and listeria. Make sure to wash tools thoroughly and clean your hands well after you’re done moving manure. Store manure in a safe place, preferably in a loosely covered container or pile away from children, pets and water sources.
- Dust particles from dried manure are unhealthy to breathe. In my family we have a girl with asthma and eczema so it’s smart to watch what we bring around.
- If you use manures in your garden, always wash veggies and fruit before serving.