Alpaca Poo and Worm Composting
December 4, 2019
I have a lbunch of alpaca poop from my pacas, more than I need, I have a scoop on my tractor to load pick up or other such. I would like some ideas on worms although the poop is pretty good on its own no harm in making it better. I see you have classes.
Answer by JZ: Other master composters may respond to your question. Here are my thoughts.
You have a fine idea. If you practice with red wigglers in alpaca manure, I think that you will be pleased. Yes, I would encourage you to attend any one of our future worm classes. It is a fine idea to decompose (compost) any manure to its end product which is humus. Then the end product is ready to be added to your garden soil. Humus is a beneficial soil nutrient package.
Worm manure (castings) is / are humus. Worm castings are a few percentages higher in many nutrient categories, than regular compost. Perhaps what you might consider starting stating a small worm composting setup, then see how it goes. If it meets your expectations, then you could expand to a larger operation. With a bit of attention to detail you could let that be an outdoor worm setup of any size you wish it to be. A straw bale bin setup outdoors may be a useful consideration.
I could recommend the book “The Worm Farmers Handbook” by Rhonda Sherman, available from Amazon.com.
From original questioner: Thanks John, Is it too cold now to put some worms to work?
Answer by JZ: You may put worms to work now, in central NM. As i mentioned, a bale composting bin setup would help to insulate the worms from ambient air temp. The decomposition of organic material - manure will create some internal heat in the pile. Importantly, the setup should be maintained at 50% moisture - similar to the moisture content of brewed coffee grounds - moist but not dripping. Once you have chosen a method for containing the manure, then the top of the pile should be covered with a tarp to contain the moisture. A variety of homemade composting bins are described and pictured on our website. See Homemade Bins under Composting Info.
We list local composting worm sources on the website under Resources.
Amazon also has red worms for sale.
To see variety of composting bin styles, search “composting bins” “straw bale composting bins”. Look at the pictures of each.