The most exotic fertilizer money can't buy
Zoo Doo is produced from herbivore manure and bedding — much of it courtesy of the prolific pachyderms – which has been allowed to compost for a couple of months. It makes excellent fertilizer for gardens, and the best part is, it's free!
What is Zoo Doo made of?
The Oregon Zoo's Zoo Doo is the combined product of animal bedding and manure from elephants, goats, hippos, rhinos, zebras, gerenuk, giraffes and other herbivores. No carnivore, omnivore or primate manure is used.
How's it made?
Manure and bedding are collected from around the zoo and brought to our on-grounds processing facility. Once there, it is placed in a pile and allowed to heat up to a high temperature long enough to destroy any pathogens, parasites, or weed seeds that might exist. After that phase has been completed, we bring up the oxygen levels of the pile to facilitate the composting process as well as providing air flow to cool the pile to an optimum rate of decomposition for at least 30 days. We then allow the Zoo Doo to cure for 60 days.
Why does Zoo Doo make such excellent fertilizer?
Zoo Doo provides plant-ready nutrients as well as trace nutrients. It also adds humus to the soil, which aids in building soil texture and improves water retention.
How should I use Zoo Doo?
Zoo Doo has been used to amend soil, or blended with other materials to create a soil mix. At the Oregon Zoo, we also use Zoo Doo as a decorative top mulch throughout the grounds (it looks that good!).
How can I get Zoo Doo?
Zoo Doo will be available between 7 and 10 a.m. on Feb. 7, 21 and 28, and on March 7, 14 and 21. Tractor assistance from zoo staff is available for larger loads, and a U-load space will be available for smaller amounts (bring a container). Anyone interested can come to the zoo composting facility just inside Gate A, located a couple hundred feet up the hill after exiting Highway 26.
Zoo Doo by the numbers:
1988: year that the Oregon Zoo started making Zoo Doo
1350: cubic yards of animal waste diverted for Zoo Doo annually
975: cubic yards of Zoo Doo composted annually
9: number of herbivore species that "contribute" to Zoo Doo
0: dollars Zoo Doo will cost you!