Dung, properly signifies the excrements of animals, together with the litter. It likewise comprehends whatever will ferment with soil, such as the green stalks of leaves and plants, when buried in the earth, etc.
The value and use of the dung of most animals, are sufficiently proved by experience. Much, however, depends on adapting the various kinds of dung to different soils, the defects of which are as unlike as the dung employed to improve them : some lands are too cold, moist, and heavy; others are too light and dry; to ameliorate which, there is hot and light dung, such as that of horses, sheep, pigeons, etc. as also fat and cooling, viz. that of oxen, hogs, and the like.
Dung possesses two remarkable properties, one of which is to produce a sensible heat, greatly promoting vegetation ; the other is, to fatten and render the soil more fertile. The first of these is seldom to be found, unless in the dung of horses, or mules; the great effects of which, when newly made, and somewhat moist, are conspicuous in our kitchen gardens, where it invigorates and gives new fife to every plant, supplying the absence of the sun, and affording us all the vegetable delicacies of the spring.
Horse-dung, however, is equa ly excellent for steril and poor lands ; but, if it be used when too new, or be laid on alone, it is to some soils very pernicious ; or, if it be spread too thinly on dry lands during the summer, it proves of very little service; its fertilizing properties being absorbed by the sun, which renders it little more than a heap of stubble, or dry thatch. Hence, horse-dung is best calculated for cold ground, while that of cows is adapted solely to a hot one : when mixed together, or with mud, both form an excellent manure for either of those soils.
The dung of deer, and sheep, differs but little as to its properties, and is, in the estimation of some agriculturists, the most proper for cold clays: with this intention it should be pulverized, and spread thinly over the autumnal or spring crops, in the proportion of four or five loads per acre, in the same manner as ashes, malt-dust, etc. are strewed.
Hog's-dung is supposed to be fatter and richer than that of any other animal; and has been found to be the most serviceable to apple, pear, and other fruit-trees. It is also particularly excellent for grass, one load of it being said to be more beneficial than two of any other manure.
The dung of pigeons and hens contributes greatly toimprove meadow and corn-lands. The former is, without exception, the richest that can be laid on arable soils; but previously to being used, it ought to be exposed to the air for a short space of time, in order to exhale part of its fiery ingredients. It is, in general, very proper for cold clay-lands, but should be carefully dried before it is spread; be-ing apt, during wet weather, to clod olod together in lumps. - The dung of poultry, is of a heating nature, abounds with salts, and greatly tends to promote vegetation; it is more speedy in its operations, than that of animals, feeding on the leaves of plants.
Goose-dung is a very valuable and useful manure to the husbandman. Beside its fertilizing properties, when laid on land, the dung of these birds contributes to the fattening of sheep; and it is a circumstance deserving notice, that cattle, and sheep in particular, are most partial to, and fatten best on, those pastures on which the largest quantity of goose-dung has been dropped.
However excellent dung is from its own nature, it acquires additional vigour, if mixed with lime, in the proportion of one-fourth of the latter to three-fourths of the former. By this means, a smaller quantity of manure is consumed ; the seeds of weeds, where this composition is laid on, are effectually destroyed ; and the fermentation of the dung promoted, which consequently heightens its fertilizing" properties. - bee Manure.
Dung-hills, or Dung-meers, in husbandry, are places where soil or dung is collected, mixed with other putrefactive ingredients, and left to digest together. For this purpose, the usual practice is, to dig a pit of sufficient depth to contain the stock of soil which the husbandman may be able to collect. Into this pit are thrown the refuse of fodder, litter, dung, weeds, etc. which lie there, and rot, till the former may have occasion to make use of the compost. - Dr. Dar-win, however, proposes to place the heap of manure or dung on a gently-rising eminence, with a baton beneath, in order that the su-perfluous water, which would otherwise prevent the fermentation of the straw, may drain off, and be collected. He adds, that some earth, weeds, leaves, saw-dust, or other vegetable or animal recrement, should be thrown into the bason, which will thus promote the fermentation and putrefaction of the substances it contains, while the draining from the dung-heap will not be dissipated.
This, doubtless, is a more rational plan of constructing dunghills, as the alkaline liquor thus collected, may farther be advantageously employed for steeping wheat, or other seed-corn ; which, in consequence of such saturation, will vegetate more luxuriantly, and yield a more abundant harvest.
Dung. - The quality of the dung of different animals depends in a great measure on the richness, or poverty, of their food. Thus, if cattle be fed on lint, rape, or other oily seeds, it will be of the most fertilizing nature : the dung obtained from those kept on oil-cake, is next in value ; then succeeds the manure produced from animals subsisting on turnips, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, or other succulent roots ; next in effect, is that resulting from the best hay; after which follows that of cattle supplied with ordinary hay; and the poorest is that obtained from straw. - it deserves to be remarked, that the dung of fat animals is unquestionably richer, and consequently contributes more to fertilization, than that of lean creatures ; which, if worked hard, and fed on straw, " is poor indeed."
In the county of Middlesex, where all the produce of land is sold at very high prices in the markets ok the metropolis, the soil is kept in good heart, by the immense quantities of dung which are brought in the carts on their return ; because no cattle, though fed in home-stalls, can produce so large a supply. But, in counties that are more remote from London, the most effectual mode of manuring, in the opinion of Mr. MiDDLETON, consists in raisin green crops, for the purpose of feeding sheep and bullocks on the land. This, says he, is the only method, by which the loss of nearly all their urine can be prevented : for there is a great waste, equal perhaps to one-half, in the stables, cow-houses, sheds, fold-yards, and dung-hills of farms, even though conducted in the most careful manner ; but, in those which are under ordinary management, such loss amounts to three-fourths; whereas no waste can possibly arise, when cattle are soiled on tares, clover, etc. in the field ; the whole being immediately applied to the amelioration of the land, without incurring the expence of conveyance.- - We do not pretend to decide on the practicability of this plan ; which, in many situations, may be applicable to a considerable extent, and attended with great advantages : on the other hand, we are firmly persuaded, nay convinced from the experience of able and successful farmers on the Continent, that stall-feeding, with cut hay and straw, is the greatest of all improvements made in modern husbandry.
Dung - Hills. - The following judicious method of raising dung-hills, is practised in the county of Middlesex : it justly claims the attention of those farmers, who find it necessary to collect dung, for the use of their lands. - First, all the scrapings of roads, the mud of ponds and ditches, and the top-mould from gravel-pits, are spread in the most convenient places, as bottoms for dung-hills. On these strata is carted the whole of the dung, produced on their own farms, together with all that can be procured from the metropolis, and the different inns on the road; to E which are sometimes added chalk, ashes, soap-boilers' waste, bricklayers' rubbish, etc.
In this state, the heap remains till within a month of the time for spreading the manure on the land ; when the whole is turned, and intimately mixed ; the larger clods are then broken into small pieces, while such as may be too dry, are thrown into the middle. Thus treated, the mass unites more perfectly ; and the putrefaction will be completed, while the nutters continue in a heap. By this mode of forming the basis of dung-hills, the fertilizing liquor (that distils from the dung during the fermentation and heat which necessarily take place) is effectually preserved, and contributes greatly to the amelioration of the soil.