January 16, 2020
Can I Compost My Guinea Pig’s Poop?
What’s the Scoop on Composting Poop?
When pet parents clean their rabbit’s, guinea pig’s, or chinchilla’s habitat every week, the pet’s feces and uneaten hay are commonly thrown in the garbage. However, more and more pet parents are learning that composting their companion herbivore’s feces can yield amazing compost! This blog post will cover the basics of how to compost your pet herbivore’s waste.
If you currently compost at home, simply add your pet’s waste to your existing compost pile and stir. Small amounts of uneaten hay can also be added to compost along with the waste, just ensure that the compost pile is balanced in its overall content (too much of one organic is not always good!). While the chance of hay sprouts is minimal, try to avoid including seed heads that can be found in hays like our Western Timothy Hay.
Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Decomposition
It is important for every home composter to practice good composting standards for aerobic decomposition. Stirring, turning, watering, checking the temperature, and covering your compost every few days will allow for efficient decomposition over the future months. Monitoring your compost in this manner will ensure that the mixture does not undergo anaerobic decomposition. Anaerobic decomposition is the same kind of decomposition that takes place in landfills. It tends to make decomposing organic matter very pungent, produces large amounts of methane, and takes many more months for organic matter to fully decompose as compared to aerobic decomposition.
When your compost is ready to go you can use it in your own garden, or offer it to neighbors, families, and friends. They might be surprised at first to learn how your small herbivore contributed, but it’s likely that they’ll find the compost to be a high-quality source of nutrients for soil and plants!
If you live in a larger town or a city, it’s possible that a commercial composting facility is near you and accepting household organics. These facilities can often take large amounts of organics for a small monthly fee. Composting through a facility like this takes the guesswork and maintenance requirements out of composting for many households. It also allows those who can’t compost at home to still effectively divert their organics from the landfill.
One of the easiest ways you can investigate the availability of a commercial composting facility is to Google search “composting facilities near me.” If there is a facility in your area, reach out to them through a phone call or email and explain that you want to regularly transport your herbivore’s waste and uneaten hay to have it composted. They will be able to tell you if the organics you want to dispose of are desired at their facility, as well as provide you information about memberships, fees, and any potential benefits (sometimes finished compost is available for members to purchase at discounted rates).
Depending on where you live, some facilities can pick up composting materials curb-side, just like recycling or trash. In other areas, organics will have to be personally transported to either the facility or to specific drop-off points. Make sure to understand the collection method of your composting facility, and plan to invest in a compost receptacle that is appropriate for the type of collection the facility is capable of.
Tips for Compost Health and Composting Success:
- Our small herbivores at home are similar in some ways to large herbivores like cows and horses. This is partially why rabbit, guinea pig, or chinchilla feces are such a great addition to compost piles!
- Do not compost the waste of any animals who are ill, contagious, or taking medication, as these unwanted elements may wind up in your soil.
- Litter can also be composted! Plant-based litters, such as our Eco-Straw, can be composted along with feces. The same rules of composting apply to litter: make sure there isn’t too much of one type of organic in your compost pile.
- Herbivore waste can be composted at home, but it is not recommended to compost the waste of carnivores due to the possibility of parasites or harmful disease organisms being present in these feces. There is mixed information and opinions on whether the waste of omnivores should or should not be composted at home, so it’s best to refrain from composting it on your own. If you have a membership to a commercial composting facility, contact them about their capabilities before sending any animal feces with other organics to compost.
- Follow good practices on storing backyard compost in order to avoid attracting pests or stray animals. There’s always a chance that some animals, particularly predators, might be attracted to your organics when the scent of a prey species’ waste is present.