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Hay in compost

I have a compost pile and my room-mate has 2 bunnies I was using the leftover hay and manure in my compost but I began noticing many weeds in my gardens and contributed to the hay so I stopped using it but I hate to see all that organic hay and manure go to waste should I use it in my compost ?

22 comments
  • Douglas Hunt
    Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
    on Aug 4, 2013

    According to Cornell University, that bunny manure and hay well be to blame, but if you can get your compost pile up to 140 degrees for at least two weeks that should take care of most of the problem. See more here: https://weedecology.css.cornell.edu/manage/manage.php?id=41

  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    on Aug 4, 2013

    Douglas is right. You need to build a "hot" pile which will take care of your weed seed problems. The hay is a "brown" the bunny poop is a "green". You need a balance of them both to get it to cook, but it can be done. Try adding grass clippings (provided your not using herbicides, no pile gets hot enough to kill it off), leaves, veggie peelings, egg shells, coffee filters and grounds, black and white newspaper(they break down faster if shredded), etc. No meat, bones, grease or cat/dog feces. Turn it periodically and if it appears dry add water. I've found I get the best results, by making a hole in the middle of the pile and adding my materials, there, then cover it over. Builder's straw has a lot few weed seeds, so keep that in mind, if you are using it for mulch, etc.

    • Bonnie Bassett
      Bonnie Bassett Hinsdale, NH
      on Aug 7, 2013

      @Catherine Smith ty for your advice Catherine I am new at composting :)

  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks Nederland, CO
    on Aug 4, 2013

    Having enough "critical mass" to get the pile going and up to temp with just 2 bunnies may be a challenge. You might need to supplement it with other yard and kitchen wastes. When I was working my way through grad school I worked at an equestrian center. We had 38 horses there and I mucked out the stalls 6 days a week, with some other folks filling in on my day off. Our "compost" pile would get so hot that the snow would never stick...it also got hot enough to steam and make working on it uncomfortable (too hot through heavy rubber boots).

    • Bonnie Bassett
      Bonnie Bassett Hinsdale, NH
      on Aug 7, 2013

      @KMS Woodworks wow that I Hot! I am also composting organic kitchen waste... veggies coffee grounds, garden materials and leaves I also add dehydrated cow manure (but I will remember to use organic as Catherine said to do !)

  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    on Aug 5, 2013

    Amen, amen, KMS!! LOL But do be careful if you are using cow/horse manure. Ask the supplier if they are using herbicides on their pasturage. If so, pass on that. The herbicide goes thru the animal, but does not disappear. And no compost pile gets hot enough to kill it off, you will contaminate both your compost and your garden with it. You can use alfalfa pellets soaked in water for that nitrogen "green boost" if animal manure is not available or not a good choice. Just be careful, some people and I'm one of them are highly allergic to it in that form. DH has to add the alfalfa, for me. Once it's buried, I have no problem. We have 3 compost bins, one is for slow, gradual breakdown and the other 2 are "hot" piles. I at one point had to go flying out our back door in my nightgown to keep the local fire department from hosing down the compost bins, one fall morning, as the steam was rolling out the top of the bins. Our new neighbors thought they were on fire and had called the fire department. LOL

  • Cindy tustin
    Cindy tustin Arcadia, KS
    on Aug 5, 2013

    How lucky you are to have bunny manure. We raised rabbits for market for many years and had the most beautiful garden and flower beds. Alfalfa hay is good but I have never used what is commonly called prairie hay it is a nice name for bailed weeds. We Do feed to livestock and horse manure gets hot enough to burn out most of the weed seed. Just would not recommend adding to a regular compost if you use a compost barrel that can get hot enough to burn the seed.

    • Bonnie Bassett
      Bonnie Bassett Hinsdale, NH
      on Aug 7, 2013

      @Cindy tustin are you saying that you didn't feed your bunnies prairie hay? if you did how did you separate the manure from the hay our bunnies use the hay to do their business in I was sifting it out with a screen but it was a nuisance so I basically have stopped using the manure and the hay

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 5, 2013

    @Catherine Smith heat is not what "kills off" herbicides. it is time and moisture. in the time it takes for compost to mature any herbicides "life" would be over due to exposer any herbicide used in a animal food crop would have a 1/2 life of 60 days or less therefor the herbicide would be basically usless BEFORE the animal in question ate it also since most herbicides on grain/hay type crops are applied directly after the crop has germinated and are preemergants only a very small amount of the crop is effected as these are soil based herbicides that only eliminate the germination of weed seeds and would not have any effect on plants by the time it was consumed by the animal then eliminated and composted then applied to a garden

  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    on Aug 5, 2013

    Sorry April, your wrong. That's Big Ag baloney! The chemical make up of most herbicides do not work that way. And the "shelf life" in the ground is a lot longer than "advertised". Current studies from the University of Colorado, Princeton, and Duke present some very chilling stats on just how long those chemicals remain quite viable in the soil. The toxicity levels are far higher than previously though, which leads not only problems with the soil, but the leach from that soil into local ground water, rivers, etc. Also the University of Oregon has done a study with several of the Master Gardener groups in that state, to find out why all of a sudden they were loosing entire crops. Guess what, they found traces of herbicides in the finished compost that had been used. They traced the source back to a local farmer who had been supplying them with both raw and composted animal for years. He had used a herbicide on two of his pastures, and they found traces of that herbicide still in the samples.

    • Sia@South 47th
      Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
      on Aug 8, 2013

      @Bonnie Bassett Herbicides are as Wiki puts it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbicide. Before the days of Wiki, we knew of Herbicides as either Chemical or "Natural". Chemical were and still are harmful, even more so than back then. "Natural" are good, they do the least harm.

  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks Nederland, CO
    on Aug 6, 2013

    Ever wonder why cancer rate are so much higher than they were 50 to 100 years ago? Chemicals in our environment are a leading cause. One of the studies that surprised me was the increase in transgender fish...this was traced back to minute residues of birth control pills that make it through the waste water plants and are released into the waterways. There is a lot more going on than most folks can even imagine.

    • Sia@South 47th
      Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
      on Aug 8, 2013

      @Bonnie Bassett If that is true where you live then you must report it. There are "Dumping" laws, for a reason. xox

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 6, 2013

    Catherine I am not speaking of "shelf" life I am talking chemical 1/2 life and you can quote as many studies to me as you wish if you would prefer I can quote just as many back that states your wrong and since I have helped preform some of those studies myself I do trust my own research and those of my colleagues in the horticulture industry I have spent way to much time energy and money on a hort degree and to many years working in horticulture not to know that there can be skewed results in testing when it is being done. and finding trace amounts of herbicides can happen anywhere at any time if people around you spray them. it takes more than "trace" amounts to give you total crop failure. and as I said if they found trace amouts it was more due to drift that to "composting not being hot enough to kill the herbicide" I do not disagree with you on the cancer rates kms what I disagree with is someone being blind to exactly how herbicidal chemicals work and spouting "studies" unless they have actually been involved in said studies and can state the perimeters in said studies. as I do know about these studies and do know the perimeters of them, the stories you read about them were as usual fear mongering. case in point please go to you local drug store and look in the beauty aisle and look for cutical treatment or facial treatments using neem oil it is a quite common beauty treatment that has been used for centuries quite safe and 100% natural (I use neem soap regulary as it is a great skin moisturizer) then drive to your local nursery and ask for neem oil. let me preface this 100% neem oil is the same thing as used in beauty products and the same as what you would purchase from a nature store to make homemade soap. but read the label if you will notice from the fda regulated lable this 100% natural product now needs to be used in a manner similar as going into a hot zone. my point is not to say all chemicals are a great thing but in today climate of fear of ALL chemicals, even "studies can be skewed toward what the people providing the money want them to say.

  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    on Aug 7, 2013

    April, you have evidently misunderstood my level of "fear" factor. I am concerned that others who are trying to use alternative gardening methods, understand there may be things they need to be aware of that could cause them serious problems. I do have the background to understand the chemistry behind the make up of the herbicides. The chemical 1/2 life of some of these herbicides has been grossly under "advertised" by the manufacturers apparently, leaving the buyers with the impression that it would ok to use, Roundup is the first one that comes to mind. And part of this problem is I'm quite sure from the overuse or improper use of these type of products. In this case "more is not better", alternatives are a better choice.

  • Cindy tustin
    Cindy tustin Arcadia, KS
    on Aug 7, 2013

    We raised for market usually about 50 breeding does and the manure and urine fell through the wire bottoms of cages onto trays that were pulled and emptied we fed a pellet that contained everything the rabbit needed and had wire baskets on outside of cages and fed only alfalfa hay. With our business the manure was also a sale item dried and bagged.

  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    on Aug 8, 2013

    @Bonnie Bassett, you may not be glad you asked, LOL However, herbicides are commonly known as weedkillers, their basically pesticides for weeds. The are chemically produced and are designed to interfere with weed growth or they mimic natural plant hormones (i.e. the jurgones found in Black Walnuts, the fancy name for that is alleopathy). They are widely used in areas such as industrial sites, railways, and railway embankments, that sort of thing, they are not selective and will kill all plants in the area. Anna and I are arguing about how long the effects of this last. It's known these can cause cancer, birth defects and a host of other nasty things. This was not intended to cause "panic" but with the hope that people will take the time to educate themselves about these toxins. There are safer alternatives that can be used that are far less toxic to both people, animals and the environment. This is where the organic gardener's bang heads with the "chem-heads". And Anne is right there is plenty of research data out there that could be interpreted either way. However, I am comfortable with the sources I cited. They are all reputable Universities with no particular axe to grind one way or another. They are doing research that points out certain potential very harmful effects from these chemicals. I am an organic gardener and have been for over 30 years, so yes, I don't like chemicals and won't use them.

    • Bonnie Bassett
      Bonnie Bassett Hinsdale, NH
      on Aug 9, 2013

      @Catherine SmithI agree I thought that's what they were I have never used them didn't trust the chemicals in the either I handpull weeds and sometimes have used vinegar

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 8, 2013

    Catherine I do understand I am not speaking of "advertised" 1/2 life 0i am speaking scientifically proven 1/2 life. I do not nor have not ever worked for a chemical company. however I have been heavily involved in the outside testing of these chemicals. the issue is the people who write up the results are paid to do this even colleges, for the last 20 years there has been a movement to eliminate ALL chemicals and the testing that is done is way above and beyond what would be expected. and most pesticides that are now on the market (approved by the epa) have to have very short 1/2 lives. however the reporting by the media does not reflect this the media reflects what is politically correct. this is not to say that all chemicals are good neonicotinoids while deemed (and is) a save chemicals (made from nicotine) are 1 of the main unreported cause of the bee issue as they are systemic to the whole plant and kill any and all insects that feed on the plant bees included. but we are discussing herbicides and the 1/2 required by the fda precludes them being able to do what you are saying the chemicals used cannot work that way. also as you said more is not better actually this is more correct than you are saying more actually makes them work less effectively the same as over diluted, but any residual while traceable is not a viable as a plant killer at that time. and while people need to be aware of things that can cause them problems, the vehicle you have chosen as a "problem" isn't really a viable one to need to worry about here is the hypothesis for this; Glyphosate one of the main pesticides used in large scale farming has a 1/2 life of 60 days this is applied before a crop has germinated most hay crops are harvested 2-6 times in a growing season depending on where you are but only 1 application of glyphosate is used as it must be applied pre-germination and by the time it has lived out its 1/2 life the crop itself is thick enough to help control the weeds so 1-plant crop, 2- crop germinates, 3-apply herbicide, 4- crop grows and is harvested first harvest usually 50 to 60 days from germination, 5- crop cures, 6 - crop is baled and stored 7- crop is sold 90-180 days from germination 8- the hay is consumed by a animal, 9-the animal defecates and the resulting manure is collected for composting, 10- composting takes place (90- 180 days) so a solution of 2000 parts per million (ppm) the usual application in a field situation, in 60 days is 100ppm, in 120 days is 500ppm, in 180 days (6 months) is 250 ppm 240 days is 125 ppm 300 days is 75 ppm, 360 days is 37.5 parts per million or a ratio of 37.5-1000000. this is the minimum time before applying a compost from the sprayed crop. and non of this is accounting for rain, wind, heat and cold and those effects on the chemical breakdown in most testing a trace amount is 100 ppm or less and at this rate the herbicide cannot hurt a plant this would be tantamount to taking a eyedropper and dropping 37.5 drops into a 10 gallon sprayer do this with food coloring and see how that works and food coloring is 100 times more concentrated than glyphosate. and we use glyphosate all the time this is the active ingredient in round up and many other herbicides and it is safe after composting as it is not longer active

    • Sia@South 47th
      Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
      on Aug 8, 2013

      @April E And GMO's are a good thing to you as well I presume? Chems, and GMO = Not good for anyone, anything, anywhere.

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 8, 2013

    @Sia@South 47th actually this is not true as I explained in my post about the 1/2 life of chemicals. and yes there are many questios about this but as you would prefer to belive the media on this than facts go right ahead

    • Sia@South 47th
      Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
      on Aug 8, 2013

      @April E sorry luv I'm not one to ever trust in the media, never have. So that point is mute with me. I'd love to see your research you mentioned you had. Please do email. Until I actually see it, and read it, I'm afraid all of your points are without substance. In my humble opinion. We will agree, to respectfully disagree.

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 8, 2013

    I would like to email you this research but as it belongs to texas a&m university I cannot do so all I can do is quote results until it is published

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 8, 2013

    did I state that no I did not what I stated was that a herbicides would not be present in composted material in a amount to harm the plants the compost was used on please do not misconstrue my words or try to put words in my mouth many pesticides are safe many more have their beginings in the natural world and their components are remade in the lab case in point pyrethrums a very general insecticide this is naturally occurring in many species of chrysanthemum and had been reproduced in labs for mass productions and to say it is wrong to reproduce a chemical this way is like saying you should be producing penicillin from bread mold but no I do not like what they are doing with gmo food crops as the are working for bulk and disease resistance (among other and worse things) at the detriment to nutrition, health of the plants, taste, and stripping the soil. just because I point out a mistaken belief in the residual life of herbicides does not mean I support at will use of any pesticide. what it means is people need to go beyond the fear mongering that is in everything and get straight fact to support their beliefs I was quoting facts NOT beliefs. nor was I trying to be personally insulting. I am sorry for your inability to understand what I wrote

    • Catherine Smith
      Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
      on Aug 8, 2013

      @April E I understand quite well what you were writing about. Kindly, do not assume you are so knowledgable that some of the rest of us are not capable of doing our own research and drawing are own conclusions. And this is not the first time I've had this "discussion" on this issue. I find it extraordinary that you can so easily discount the data gathered from other Universities. Btw, who's funding your research? That is a key question anymore on how the final data on this type of research is presented.

  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    on Aug 8, 2013

    Bonnie, I apologize, we seemed to have highjacked your thread with this "discussion". Hopefully you got some information on your question before that happened.

    • Bonnie Bassett
      Bonnie Bassett Hinsdale, NH
      on Aug 9, 2013

      @Catherine Smith well it is all interesting but I am sorry my question caused such controversy so let us all agree to disagree thank you everyone for all advice and comments :)

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 8, 2013

    this research is being funded by a group of 3 texas and Oklahoma farmers cooperatives as they have been worried about skewed results being presented by the chemical companies therefore there have been no pressures from big money to show results in favor of their chemicals some have been found to be safe while others will most likely be taken from use by the farmers in these coops and this information will be shared throught the country at regiona and national coop meetings we feel the research we are doing is some of the most important chemical research that has been done in the last century as the "powers that be" just want facts not well what ifs they want to know real dangers and not just hype on how well the chemical works.

    • Sia@South 47th
      Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
      on Aug 8, 2013

      @April E so it's not through Texas A&M? Its local Farmers Co-op? Ahhh. Well then if this is as you say: Quote: "some of the most important chemical research that has been done in the last century" End Quote. Surely you will be published. In what journal? And when will it be out for the public to digest? Thank you.

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 8, 2013

    apparently you have no understanding of the word funding. nor how educational institutions get funding for experimentation and that many groups supply funds to educational institutions to research the information they need and as I stated before this information will be avalible at many agriculture coops in the near future as these are the people the research is being done for how they choose to publish the reports is up to them. and as you so nicely stated I suppose we will have to agree to disagree as you can lead a horse to water but you cannot force them to drink even when it is in their best interest to do so

    • Sia@South 47th
      Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
      on Aug 8, 2013

      @April E Nah, I'm just a woman who has written grants for various institutions, written and implemented various programs for large institutions, has a Masters Degree and was working on my PhD. I've been hired as a consultant more times than I'd care to remember. So yes dearie I can full well understand "Funding" and I full well understand Institutions of Higher learning and HOW that funding is gathered. Never ever assume you know a person here unless you have vetted them. BIG mistake with ME. Dear.

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 8, 2013

    then why did you just make your previous comment, lmao, you are the one making assumptions, also the one being obtuse ad making specious comments for the sake of argument. I personally do not care in the least what you think or if your "believe" the research I was putting out there what I can due to over fear mongering. you are the one whom in multiple replies that have been insulting and belittling "deary", just because your beliefs differ from research being done. I do not condone the flagrant use of chemicals however there are safe ones to be used, and that is the end I and many others are working are working toward. however constant fear mongering and uninformed arguments does nothing to this end. I am so sorry, you have such a misunderstanding of what I have been saying that you feel the need to try and rectify this with your credentials. but are you working in agriculture research? is your degree in agriculture? do you do consultations out in the fields. do you know the effect of grasshoppers on a wheat crop? or what to plant as a cover crop to try and reduce weeds naturally and add nutrients to the soil? if not how can you even think to presume to talk down to me. who does, and if so how can you be so dense as to not know that there are many things going on behind the politics of chemicals, beyond just safety of the natural world.

    • Sia@South 47th
      Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
      on Aug 9, 2013

      @April E What are your credentials? I was not in any way attempting be be rude, only responding to the antagonistic and insulting 'tone' of your statements. I repeat, I respectfully agree to disagree with you and any others that tout Chemicals are good for the environment, soil, farming practices, gardening large scale or small, our water tables, oceans, rivers, streams, fish, animals and humans. Period. And please use spell check when making your statements, it will lend 'credibility' to what you have to say. Thank you I am now done.

  • April E
    April E Oklahoma City, OK
    on Aug 9, 2013

    see there you go again putting words into my mouth I did not say all chemicals were good I have even stated specific chemicals that are harmful. what I have been saying is that some chemicals by their make up are not harmful to the environment the word some and what started this is someone trying to say that a chemical that has a 1/2 life of only 60 days would be present in composted manure of the animal that ate in such a high content as to be able to kill the plants said compost was applied on. and as my statement were not directed at you until you CHOSE TO ENGAGE ME IN AN INSULTING MANNER, therefor being rude first, get over yourself. I am so sorry if I miss typed a letter but if that's all you have in your arsenal I feel for you. now you asked for my credentials I have a bsa entomology. I have a phd in horticulture. I have worked in this field for 24 years since completing my education in both research education and in the private sector. before school I grew up on a orange ranch in southern California and a working cattle and wheat ranch in Oklahoma so I do know a bit about what I am speaking of. now I do research consultations as a double check. this is to assure that the client are getting truthful results from their test as some perimeters can be exploited to give skewed results. the work I do is for people like farmers coops to make sure they are not being fed bs by chemical companies. when such things are found (which is quite often) I then work with reputable researchers to get at the truth of the issue. not all large farms are food factories many are still run my family that want the best for their familys and the people whom the sell to. but you keep your nasty little attitude and closed mind, to think that you haven't read or understood 1 thing that I have been saying or how this conversation started smh.

  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    on Aug 9, 2013

    @Bonnie Bassett, you have nothing to be sorry about and for heaven sake don't let this little "tempest in a teapot" keep you from asking more questions on gardening issues or anything else for that matter. ^-^

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