rot
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Dry Stall for the soil, cat litter and in the compost

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I was down at the feed store the other day. I was kind of looking for something cheap to use as a cat litter that I might later run through the compost operation. I'm also looking for cheap bird seed for our backyard birds.

I came across a product called Dry Stall for horse stalls. The 50 lb sacks didn't mention exactly what it was composed of but described it as a volcanic rock aggregate.

The main purpose is to use in horse stalls to keep things from getting too muddy. The packaging then went on to explain that it could be added to hard clay soils to break it up and provide better water capacity. It also explained that it could be used as a cat litter and could even be mixed with clumping types of cat litter to make your clumping cat litter go farther.

Has anyone used this stuff for their soil or cat litter? I didn't get a price but maybe I can use some of this stuff.

I don't think it will harm compost but it doesn't break down. If it improves the soil structure then composting cat litter would be OK and we'd reduce our curb side trash pick up close to nil.

Thanks in advance
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DoubleDogFarm
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rot,

I can't help you, but I will say NO cat or dog poo in the compost. :shock:


Eric

rot
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Fair enough

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Fair enough DoubleDogFarm.

I've got the gift of the dogs already all over my yard so I've set up bins just for that on two year cycles that just goes back to where it came from - no food crops involved. The surfers 15 miles downstream from here are not getting sick from our dogs.

The cats are indoors and if I could digest the cat litter too I'd eliminate the bulk of our remaining trash for pick up. Because we have a bunch of cats I need a cheap cat litter.

I have a few clean compost bins too but these days I'm into more of a digesting operation than I am into producing compost.

Just a little something I can do.

two cents
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toxcrusadr
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Nothing wrong with composting pet waste, it's done all over and even encouraged by cities in places like Alaska where mass quantities of frozen dog poop thaws in the spring and pollutes the trout streams.

However, they can have pathogens and parasites that can affect humans, so it's recommended to 1) make a separate compost pile and 2) don't use the compost on the vegetable garden. Sprinkling the resulting compost around perennial shrubs or trees is a good way to use it.

Just my 2 cents, YMMV.
Tox

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rainbowgardener
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Dry Stall is pumice ( https://drycreekcactus.com/soils/index.php in the middle of the page). As such it won't compost. It is a mined product, with all that entails re environmental impacts.


I use Swheat Scoop cat litter. It is a wheat product, grown not mined, and compostable. It is clumping and scoopable, so I scoop the pet wastes out. Every once in a while, I dump the whole box of (scooped out) litter into the compost pile.

So I am not composting the pet wastes, but am composting the litter.
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rot
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Pound for pound

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I've been looking at the swheat scoop stuff. I forget how much it costs exactly and I haven't checked since the summer but it was like $0.70/lb. The cheapo clumping stuff I get at bulk club is $0.28/lb. Since I no longer count cats just the cat boxes, I'm really price driven.

I'll check the local prices again. Maybe if it gets down to the $0.50/lb range it will be doable.

Whacky thought: I've been buying 20 lb sacks of wild bird seed at $0.27/lb. I wonder if I could get the cats to use that. If it clumps, I could feed the birds the unscooped stuff. Of course whatever goes in the compost bin will probably grow like crazy.

Thanks folks. I'm still lookin' 'round.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Pound for pound

rot wrote:..
I've been looking at the swheat scoop stuff. I forget how much it costs exactly and I haven't checked since the summer but it was like $0.70/lb. The cheapo clumping stuff I get at bulk club is $0.28/lb. Since I no longer count cats just the cat boxes, I'm really price driven.

I'll check the local prices again. Maybe if it gets down to the $0.50/lb range it will be doable.

Whacky thought: I've been buying 20 lb sacks of wild bird seed at $0.27/lb. I wonder if I could get the cats to use that. If it clumps, I could feed the birds the unscooped stuff. Of course whatever goes in the compost bin will probably grow like crazy.

Thanks folks. I'm still lookin' 'round.
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Now that's a new one, using bird seed! But, I wonder if it would actually soak up liquid very well, with those hard shiny coverings that protect the seeds. You got me thinking though. How about cracked corn chicken feed? It wouldn't sprout and might be more absorbent.

I wish they'd make more litter out of newspaper. There is only one brand that's fine grained and scoopable (PaPurr), and no one carries it locally.
Tox

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applestar
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I tried cutting the swheat scoop and world best cat litter (corn based) with wheat bran. I had had a 50lb bag that I originally bought to use as mushroom substrate and bokashi starter (it was the only size I could get it in and wasn't all that expensive).

It works. There's a point of reduced clumpability though, so you have to play with it a bit. It also doesn't quite have the odor suppressing ability but the ratio at which it doesn't clump well also is basically when it doesn't mask/absorb odor anymore. I wasn't all that exact about it. If someone figures it out, do post! While I was doing it, I had it down to so many pint size deli cups of good stuff and so many cups of wheat bran.

I still have the bag of bran out in the garage but I can't use it in the litter any more because some kind of black bugs moved in. I might still be able to use it for bokashi, but I've been meaning to spread it out on by veg beds to break down over the winter.

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in warmer climates year around and in the spring, summer and fall months of most places you can feed animal manure( dog and cat in this situation) to black soldier flies. they will eliminate any pathogens or disease from the manure as they consume it. will reduce its weight by 95%. they also give you a compost that the worms like to eat but you don't get much as they reduce volume of material quite a bit. you can feed the adult larva to chickens for protein rich food in return for healthy eggs with 0% chance of any cat or dog poop pathogens/disease. then eventually you could use the chicken manure to make the final compost that properly composted you could use on food crops.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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applestar
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Ah the BSF's. I'm still debating on that.... it DOES sound like a good idea though. I'd definitely consider it if I had chickens, ducks, or fish or ??? to use the larvae for feed.

This thread HAS reminded me that I wanted to resume my experiments with bokashi/EM digesting the used cat litter. I tried one batch using the standard bokashi recipe and straight used cat litter, but had the intuitive feeling that I could be fostering unwanted bacteria. My plan now is to culture the EM-A molasses solution to multiply the beneficials a bit more before mixing into the cat litter. I may also dilute the cat litter by using 1/2 cat litter and 1/2 bran, but make a larger batch in a storage tote.

cynthia_h
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Re: Pound for pound

toxcrusadr wrote:
I wish they'd make more litter out of newspaper. There is only one brand that's fine grained and scoopable (PaPurr), and no one carries it locally.
Is "Yesterday's News" not scoopable, then? It's not offered at the independent pet-supply store I go to, but it *is* made from recycled newspapers.

https://www.yesterdaysnews.com

Maybe there's somewhere near you that offers it, or maybe it's scoopable. Just a thought/possibility.

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DoubleDogFarm
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in warmer climates year around and in the spring, summer and fall months of most places you can feed animal manure( dog and cat in this situation) to black soldier flies. they will eliminate any pathogens or disease from the manure as they consume it. will reduce its weight by 95%. they also give you a compost that the worms like to eat but you don't get much as they reduce volume of material quite a bit. you can feed the adult larva to chickens for protein rich food in return for healthy eggs with 0% chance of any cat or dog poop pathogens/disease. then eventually you could use the chicken manure to make the final compost that properly composted you could use on food crops
Soil, very interesting. Is there a site with more information on this? I know a little bit about BSF, just not the poo part.

Eric

rot
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BSF Links

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Did a fast web search on 'black soldier fly' and found this:

https://themodernhomestead.us/article/Black+Soldier+Fly.html

rot
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Cat Litters

Cat Litter
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Traipsing through the web I came across someone listing chick feed as a compostable cat litter. I'm not sure what it is and it isn't clumping but it made me think of birdseed.

I think yesterday news does clump but it made the rabbit sick and none of the cats went near it. One of these days the unused half sack will make its way to the bin.

Applestar did make me pause. I hadn't considered that a cat box full of grains would be an excellent place to raise bugs but that's not necessarily what I'm looking for in a cat litter. If I find some of that wheat stuff cheap enough I'll take a chance. The desert influence and relative humidity in the teens around here does have a few perks.

Thanks again everyone
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applestar
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Wheat bran is from the feed store. Just to clarify, the bugs moved into my supply in the garage, not into the litter. I didn't want to bring in bug-ridden bran into the house.... Besides, for all I know, the kitties will have refused to use the litterbox. :roll:

BTW, wheat bran has a pleasant smell, but by the time the bugs got into it, it had started to go rancid and had a sharp tang to the smell. Another reason NOT to use it any more. Better used to enrich the soil or bokashi.

Birdseed will probably invite mealworms and grain beetles. If you can stay ahead of them so they're still in the larval stage when you put them out, I imagine the birds will enjoy the extra protein, but if you can't, you'll end up with fluttering moths everywhere (which the cats may enjoy chasing) but they'll probably get in your pantry as well. You COULD mix them with ag-grade Diatomaceous Earth, which they put in feed, but the dust may not be good for the cats. On the other hand, DE would increase absorption....

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Re: Cat Litters

rot wrote:
I think yesterday news does clump but it made the rabbit sick
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Why did it make the rabbit sick? I often recommend Yesterdays News as rabbit litter and have never had a single owner have any problems with it.


As to the bird seed as litter, I wouldn't expect it to clump or absorb well (we sometimes recommend unpopped popcorn as a temporary litter for owners to be able to collect a urine sample from their cat at home), but it can be used to make biochar if you have some that goes rancid or otherwise unusable. Biochar is a great supplement to compost or directly to the soil. Make sure you add it with a good nitrogen source or soak it in a nitrogen source such as urea or fish emulsion or it can "steal" nitrogen from your soil.

Be as green as you can when producing biochar - I make mine only when camping so I'm just using a fire that's already there, I don't build a fire just to produce the biochar. It is also best to make sure you are burning the off-gassing fumes so you aren't adding more emissions to the atmosphere. Search hmmmm, is it "Jason's retort"? You'll find it if you search "biochar". Slightly off topic, but the urine soaked Swheat could be turned into biochar also.
Sharon
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toxcrusadr
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Yesterday's News is pelletized, which means it's in broken tube-shaped pieces almost as big around as a pencil, and hard. It's absorbent, but not clumping in the sense that other litters are. And the pices are so big that even if it did make a clump, the loose pieces wouldn't pass through the scooping shovel. I found it fairly useless, just because of the particle size.
Tox

rot
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The rabbit just gone got sick is all

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I don't know why the rabbit got sick. He just got sick when we tried out the yesterday news. Maybe it was coincidence but neither the rabbit or the cats would go near that box. She who must be obeyed made it quite clear that that litter had to go and so it did.

I didn't care for the pellets either.

I thought char was essentially carbon and precious little else and as such, isn't going to break down into anything else. I thought the point of char was to build humus or structure in the soil. Since char is basically elemental carbon, I guess I don't understand how it could steal nitrogen and I fail to see what it could possibly do in a compost bin.

two cents
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Odd Duck
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Part of the point of biochar is that it is only partially burned so it is supposed to have many organic compounds that remain - "bio-oils". These are reputed to do many different things for the soil and I'm sure there are better sources for that info than me. What I know, I learned from the web and National Geographic.

The reason it can "steal" nitrogen is also part of why it works as a nutrient sink. Activated charcoal will adsorb chemicals and hold onto them. That's why it's used as part of most water filtering systems. Biochar is partially "activated charcoal" and can also adsorb nutrients and can hold onto them. This is part of why it acts as a slow-release nutrient sink. But, it's got to GET those nutrients at some point and it can adsorb them from your soil initially if you don't "load" it before putting it into the soil. It will eventually give back that nitrogen, but could potentially cause a deficiency in your soil/plants if this "loading" step is not done.

Various sources suggest a variety of different things to add to your biochar before adding it to the soil, but all the info that I found recommend at least a nitrogen source to prevent it from becoming a nitrogen "thief" on initial addition to the soil.

As far as the compost bin, the point would be to hold onto some of the nutrients that might otherwise leach out during the composting process. Biochar certainly seems to have added some tilth to my soil, but since my raised beds now have crazy amounts of compost, it's a little hard to tell how much to attribute to the biochar. I have a relatively small percentage of biochar, since I only make it in small volumes on the camp fire.


On the bunny litter, Yesterday's News is not my favorite litter, but is so readily available I have recommended it a lot. Sorry to hear you had problems with it and I will have to rethink my recommendations.
Sharon
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DoubleDogFarm
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Various sources suggest a variety of different things to add to your bio-char before adding it to the soil, but all the info that I found recommend at least a nitrogen source to prevent it from becoming a nitrogen "thief" on initial addition to the soil.
My brothers wood fired boiler, house heating, creates several garbage cans of "Charcoal" per year. I believe there is more to bio-char than this. He runs the charcoal through the chicken house, before introducing it into the vegetable garden. The chickens scratch and poop, adding the nitrogen source.

It seems that the charcoal has mostly eliminated the chicken house smell.

Eric

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