Member Since: 04/23/2011

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Re: QUESTION: Parrot Poop in the Compost Pile?

Salmonella is the biggest issue with chicken poop, rather than fungi, which means it should be OK to add to the compost pile. However, it does survive for a long time, so there are several rules to follow when composting. First you need to make sure the pile temperature is 131 degrees for 15 days and that you turn the pile as needed to make sure all the contents reach the proper temperature. It is also recommended you let the finished compost age for 6 months to let any possible surviving organisms die. The most important issue to consider is what the compost will be used for. If it's for flowers only, no problem. However, do not use compost with any kind of manure in it to grow vegetables to be consumed by someone with a weakened immune system. This includes, among others, very young children, pregnant women, HIV positive individuals, cancer patients and those with kidney disease.

Re: QUESTION: Parrot Poop in the Compost Pile?

As an avid gardener, I know it wounds like a good idea to include such a wealth of rich nitrogen source to your compost. As a veterinarian, I have to strongly advise against it. Bird droppings are a source of many diseases that can be transmitted to people (zoonotic). Some of the more common diseases found in bird feces are Chlamydia, salmonella, eastern equine encephalitis, cryptocsporidium and avian tuberculosis. Granted, the heat of the compost pile may kill these pathogens, but I would not gamble my health on it. The fungi, however, are a completely different story. Histoplasmosis and cryptococcus are two types of fungi that thrive in soil contaminated by bird droppings. They will form spores when conditions are not good for survival (extreme heat, cold). These spores remain in the environment for years and will cause infection when inhaled. Who doesn't get dusty turning the pile? So even though these infections are not common in normal exposure to household birds and their droppings, I would not recommend creating a concentrated source.