Alpaca and Lama Manure vs Horse and cow manure?

Asked September 13, 2017, 4:47 PM EDT

We live in the Black Forest and do most of our gardening in steel bathtubs ( helps to keep the rodens from eating the roots) and I have a chance to get some alpaca and lama manure. Is it better than the horse and cow stuff? Can I use it mixed with the dirt for my garden? I also have chickens and the resulting manure which I use as it becomes availabe and cooled down somewhat. Thanks in advance for your response. Gene

El Paso County Colorado

1 Response

Hello Gene,
thank you for your question.
There is lots of conflicting information out on the web regarding sources of manure.

Horse manure will have weed seeds (not digested by the horses ).
Assure that cow and horse manure will be aged in order to avoid burning of plants.
The diet fed to the animal will have a lot to do with the nutrients in your manure.

Some websites say Alpaca manure is lower in nitrogen and therefore doesn't have to be aged and can be applied to the plants directly, others say its has a the highest amount of nitrogen and therefore needs to be aged. Nitrogen is very important in the initial planting stages, it will encourage the "green growth".

Cow manure from pasture grassed animals will be different then manure from dairy cows. Beware of the salt (nitrogen) content.
Diet fed to the animal wil account for the nutrients in your manure.

Chicken manure is higher in phosphorus then other manures and would be a good fertilizer to encourage setting bloom/fruit on tomatoes, peppers, squash, blooming perennials, once your plants have a certain size.

Gardening in soil and "raised beds" is similar, fertilizer salts will leach out into the soil below. Your way of gardening will keep the nutrients and fertilizer content very concentrated and I would compare it to "container gardening".

Make sure you have drainage holes in your tubs. I would age ALL manure to be on the safe side.You could keep a log of what manure, and how much you added and record your results in the next growing season. I also encourage you to send in a soil sample for a soil test now or in a couple of years to evauate for your nutrient content.

Below are a few links from CSU extension that reinforces the importance of mixing in manure in the fall. E-coli is a concern to take in consideration. Links for soil testing and fertilizing the vegetable garden are attached as well
http://planttalk.colostate.edu/topics/soils-amendments-composting/1606-soil-tests/.
http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/fertilizing-the-vegetable-garden-7-611/.
http://planttalk.colostate.edu/topics/soils-amendments-composting/1618-manure-soil-improvement/
I hope theses will help you have a successful garden in the future.