Sheep Manure vs Cow Manure: Organic Importance

Sheep Manure vs Cow Manure

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We have been using animal manure to fertilize our lawns and gardens since the beginning of time. Despite the revolution in the fertilizers industry, using animal manure is still popular among gardeners and lawn owners. 

Chicken manure is more commonly used to treat lawns as the nitrogen percentage is much higher than the other options. But the higher percentage of nitrogen in chicken manure does not make sheep, cow, pig, or horse manure any less demanded or desirable. 

As you have judged, this post is going to be all about manures. In this article, we have decided to discuss and compare the two most commonly used cow and sheep manure. We are slowly heading towards fall, which is considered the best time to fertilize the lawn and garden, It’s the need of the hour to be prepared to fertilize our garden. 

To be able to understand the differences, pros, and cons, we need to understand what sheep and cow manure “really” are; sheep and cow manure are the said animals’ feces that are further composted for several weeks to fertilize lawn or gardens and to be called manure.

Value Comparison between Sheep manure and Cow manure


Sheep manure is enriched in several nutrients and micronutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, sulfur, boron, and zinc. Whereas cow manure besides containing a noticeable amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, also contains magnesium, calcium, and sulfur.

From the above paragraph, we can judge sheep and cow manure both have been blessed with more or less the same nutrients, right? Then what’s the difference, well both sheep and cow manure both might have the same nutrients but the percentages are different. 

The sheep manure is high in nitrogen, contains a balanced amount of potassium, and a little low in phosphorus whereas in cow manure the percentage of nitrogen is much higher than the sheep manure, the rest of the major nutrients(potassium and phosphorus) are in balanced amounts. If we are supposed to get more specific here, sheep manure is ratioed as 1.1-0.4-0.5 whereas cow manure is 0.5-0.2-0.4.


Almost all kinds of manure or natural fertilizers are rich in nitrogen, treating plants with sheep manure(as it contains nitrogen in a noticeable amount) would support rapid growth, promotes green color, encourages fruit and foliage development whereas cow manure is a bit balanced, it improves soil texture, water-retaining capacity, and increases bacterial and fungal activity. 


Both cow and sheep manure is organic and harmless, they can be used to fertilize grasses and all kinds of fruit and flowering plants. 


As sheep and cow manure are all-natural, nothing “really” is added to bring down the odor. So, it must be kept in mind that both sheep and cow manure would have a noticeable odor. The sheep manure odor is a little less loud than the cow manure. The cow manure is also not unbearable. 

Composting time

Like all horse and pig manure, sheep and cow manure need to be composted or aged well to be able to serve the purpose. Both sheep and cow manure require a different amount of time to be called ready. To be more specific, the sheep manure is ready to use after 2 weeks of composting whereas the cow manure takes five to six months to compost. 


Like all natural and chemical fertilizers, sheep and cow manure do require a specific kind of weather to work up to gardener’s expectations. The cow manure can only be applied in fall whereas sheep manure in fall or winter. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is sheep manure better than cow manure? 

Both sheep and cow manure are more or less the same. The only thing that makes the sheep manure far more superior than the cow manure is that it’s handier because it comes in small sizes. 

Do sheep and cow manure need to be composted? 

Yes, like all other kinds of animal manure, sheep and cow manure must be composted to prevent burns and damage. The sheep manure takes two to three weeks whereas the cow manure needs at least five to six months to be called “ready to use”. 

Does sheep and cow manure burn plants? 

No, not that much. Cow and sheep manure are categorized as “cold manure”. They do not harm the plants as the hot manures do but if the feces are not composted properly, both sheep and cow manure can be a bit harmful. Fortunately, cow and sheep manure is not as damaging as chicken and horse manure. 

Which animal manure is the best of all? 

Chicken manure is considered the healthiest manure of all animal manures. The nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content in the chicken manure is much higher than the rest of the options. 

Why do sheep and cow manure need to be composted? 

Sheep and cow manure needs to be composted because the subjects being discussed contain ammonia and harmful pathogens that can damage plants. So, to prevent burns and damage, it is recommended to give these animal feces a required time to encourage the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi to break down the organic matter and convert it to highly nutritional matter. Read our complete guide on What Plants Like Chicken Manure?

How long does it take to compost sheep manure? And how long can it be stored? 

Sheep manure requires two weeks to compost and it can be stored for up to six months. 

Cow or sheep manure? Which one is more popular? 

Sheep manure is far more superior but cow manure is popular and commonly used. The sheep manure is highly nutritional for the lawns and gardens but a little harder to find. 

Does sheep manure have an unpleasant smell? 

Well, it does have an odor like all other organic fertilizers and animal manures but the odor is not that strong it is rather bearable. 

Is cow manure slow-release? 

Yes for the record, like all other animal manure out there cow manure slowly releases the nutrients and keeps on rewarding the soil for a long time 


Sheep and cow manure are just as popular and demanded as other pig, horse, and chicken manure. The cow manure is a little more known and demanded than sheep manure as it is easier to access. Both sheep and cow manure contain a noticeable amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that helps in boosting plant health.

Sheep manure is safer and handier as it is categorized as cold manure and comes in small size. Sheep manure takes 2 weeks to compost whereas, cow manure requires 6 months. The sheep and cow manure can be used to fertilize grasses and all kinds of fruit and flowering plants.

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