Designing Landscapes: What you can do with Zoo Do

I am the ecstatic winner of the Zoo Doo lottery!

That means I was chosen to take a truck load of animal poop to my home. In terms of my rig’s capacity, that’s about 1,700 pounds of steamy stuff. Are you jealous?

My Zoo Do!
My Zoo Do!

Sure, it wasn’t the Powerball jackpot. I still have to keep my day job. In fact, when you win the Zoo Doo lottery, you have to pay for your “winnings”.

And, you have to pick it up too.

So you might say “Why bother?” Why not just go to your local farm and pick up as much manure as you can carry and for next to nothin’? For example, see here.

You can be a manure self-starter, and that is great, BUT… and it’s a big ol’ but… the doo you get from a horse or a cow is just so common.

Zoo Doo is the stuff of local legend!

Zoo Doo is exotic. This stuff leapt from the hindquarters of a gazelle. It’s the thundering revelation of an elephant’s rearward beneficence. It’s made from the enlightened travelers of a giraffe’s digestive tract; the translucent spirituality of leaves from on high transmuted by mysterious processes, still not entirely understood by science, into wizened jewels down low. It’s the compact tonnage of a hippo. And feces from other species all in the mix.

Here’s contribution a list Dan Corum from the Woodland Park Zoo gave me:

1. African Warthog
2. African Elephants
3. Asian Elephants
4. Chickens
5. Mountain goat
6. Giraffes (Reticulated)
7. Goats (Nigerian Dwarf)
8. Grant’s Gazelle
9. Hippos
10. Japanese Serow
11. Kookaburra (bird)
12. Lowland Anoa
13. Malayan tapir
14. Miniature Donkeys
15. Miniature Horse
16. Oryx
17. Zebra
18. Pudu (world’s smallest deer)
19. Rabbits
20. Roosevelt elk
21. Sheep
22. Red panda
23. Pigs
24. Tree Kangaroo
25. Visayan Warty Pigs

These far-flung beasts bring a diversity of dung to the table. Dung abundance. A medley of manure. The diversity of micro-biota has to be off the charts. This is brown gold. And I was chosen to pick up the nuggets. I feel anointed. All together, it’s an alchemy of gastrointestinal enchantment. Zoo Doo contains the Voodoo, if you will.

This would be contraband for your local farmer to procure, but completely legal and normal for the zoo. The zoo is special in that way.
Zoo Doo also makes good sense.

In the case of Zoo Doo, you know the source. You can visit them almost any day of the week. You might even be able to pet some of them. And poo professionals do the work of collecting and concocting. I’m not saying they don’t use pesticides, but at least they’re very conscious about harmful effect of chemicals on their animals. I doubt they would want to use any chemicals considering the sensitivity of some exotic species.

These days, you buy compost mixes and mulches from commercial dealers and it’s kind of a crap-shoot. The last load of mulch I ordered I found small mechanical parts like bushings and gaskets. In the past I’ve found syringes (minus the needle thankfully), condoms, and surgical gloves. You just don’t know what people have put into (unwittingly or not) all those recycle bins and collection centers that are the source of much commercial compost. There have been cases of Clopyralid, a legal herbicide that persists through the composting process, killing or stunting plants after you’ve unwittingly applied it in the form of mulch to your garden (concentrations as low as 10 ppb can kill susceptible plants).

Zoo Doo benefits the zoo, too. You pay for your load. It saves on cost of disposal for the zoo and the poo makes them a buck or two.

And one other thing; Using poo to feed the plants closes the cycle. I’ve written about it before here. Our society treats poo as a waste product. It is not waste; it is food for the soil, it is essential. It’s part of the sun powered cycle of life. It’s absolutely necessary to keep the cycle going for all of us, for the long term. From poo, comes life.

As far as application, Dan Corum has the following advice:

“Sometime folks think that if a little Zoo Doo or bedspread is good, then a lot is even better. Unfortunately, there is too much of a good thing. It is best to use a little compost frequently that a lot all at once.”

Dan Corum’s Application Rates for Zoo Doo and Bedspread

Zoo Doo for vegetable and annual flower gardens:
For established gardens, apply one inch of Zoo Doo yearly. Blend into the surface of the soil before planting or leave on top of the soil as a protective mulch during the fall waiting to blend into the soil until the spring.
For creating new beds mix in 1/4 -1/3 Zoo Doo by volume.

Zoo Doo for lawns:
As topdressing for established lawns apply a light ¼” layer after aeration. (Aeration is usually done in late spring (May) or early fall (Sept)).

Zoo Doo bedspread application rate:
For tree, shrub, perennial, or rose beds apply one to two inches on the top of the soil as a mulch. Avoid heavy applications (over 1” deep) on shrubs with shallow roots such as rhododendrons and azaleas. Avoid mounding around the stems of woody plants.

I used Zoo Doo to top dress the wood chip mulch around our orchard trees.
I used Zoo Doo to top dress the wood chip mulch around our orchard trees.

To sum, it’s a quality product with a diverse micro biota not available just anywhere, it helps a good cause, it closes the long neglected cycle of fertility, and it’s plain cool even when it’s stinkin’ hot. What’s not to love?

If you’d like to throw your hat into the Zoo Doo lottery, keep an eye on this page, or ‘Like’ their Facebook page. Dan Corum says the next entry period will be in March 2014. He says you can also call 206-625-POOP (<– priceless!) in addition to the links above. So keep your noses to the air for the next one to drop.

20110125_James YoungJames Young is the owner of Blue Wheelbarrow Landscaping in Edmonds.

  1. You are one lucky guy! ZooDoo is fabulous. Years and Years ago you were able to get it for free from the zoo. My friend and I shared a truckload and we both had the most fabulous gardens we have ever had.

  2. Thanks Dru and Stephie!

    Dan just gave me an updated list (News Flash!) of the animals. In the interest of journalistic integrity (snicker!), here is the corrected current list of animal contributors to Zoo Doo…

    Contributors to Zoo Doo and Bedspread
    10/25/2013

    1. African Warthog
    2. African Elephants
    3. Asian Elephants
    4. Chickens
    5. Mountain goat
    6. Giraffes (Reticulated)
    7. Goats (Nigerian Dwarf)
    8. Grant’s Gazelle
    9. Hippos
    10. Japanese Serow
    11. Kookaburra (bird)
    12. Lowland Anoa
    13. Malayan tapir
    14. Miniature Donkeys
    15. Miniature Horse
    16. Oryx
    17. Zebra
    18. Pudu (world’s smallest deer)
    19. Rabbits
    20. Roosevelt elk
    21. Sheep
    22. Red panda
    23. Pigs
    24. Tree Kangaroo
    25. Visayan Warty Pigs

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