Updated date:

The Many Uses of Cow Dung: A Natural and Renewable Resource

Linda Crampton is a writer and teacher with an honors degree in biology. She loves to study nature and write about living things.

An alpine cow in Switzerland

An alpine cow in Switzerland

A Useful and Abundant Material

Cow dung, manure, or feces is indigestible plant material released on to the ground from the intestine of a cow. Feces is generally not a favourite topic of conversation, whether it comes from an animal or a human. Cow dung is worth discussing, though. It's a useful material and helps us in a variety of ways. It's also a plentiful and renewable resource. It's a shame when it's wasted.

Cow manure has a soft texture and tends to be deposited in a circular shape, which gives dung patches their alternate names of cow pies and cow pats. The manure is used as a rich fertilizer, an efficient fuel and biogas producer, a useful building material, a raw material for paper making, and an insect repellent. Cow dung "chips" are used in throwing contests and cow pie bingo is played as a game. The manure also plays an essential role in the lives of various animals, plants, and microbes, including dung beetles and the Pilobolus fungus.

Cow dung drying in stacks for fuel

Cow dung drying in stacks for fuel

Fuel and Biogas From Cow Manure

Dried cow dung is an excellent fuel. In some cultures dung from domestic cows or buffalo is routinely collected and dried for fuel, sometimes after being mixed with straw. Pieces of dung are lit to provide heat and a flame for cooking. Dried dung has lost its objectionable odour.

Even in North America people are making use of the energy stored in cow dung, although this is usually done indirectly by making a biogas from the dung. A biogas is a mixture of gases produced by the anaerobic digestion of organic matter by bacteria. An "anaerobic" process occurs in the absence of oxygen. The organic matter that is digested can be animal dung, sewage, plant material, or food waste. The device that digests the material is referred to as a biogas digester.

Production and Uses of a Biogas

The general process for making an anaerobic digester for cow dung starts with placing dung and water in an airtight container. The container must be kept warm and left undisturbed so that bacteria can do their work. The gas that is produced is withdrawn through a tube and stored.

Once a biogas has formed, it can be reacted with oxygen to produce energy. The gas can be used to cook food, heat water in a boiler, and replace conventional fuel in motor vehicles. In addition, the energy in a biogas can be used to produce electricity.

Biogas produced from cow dung generally consists of methane, carbon dioxide, and other components, such as hydrogen sulphide. Since there is so much methane in the gas, it's important that it doesn't escape into the environment. Methane is a major greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming.

Using Cow Dung as a Building Material

A mud and cow dung paste is often applied to the floors of rural homes in India and may be applied to the walls as well. The mixture reportedly forms a waterproof layer that helps to insulate the house from heat entry or loss and doesn't smell unpleasant. A relatively new process is to make building bricks from cow dung mixed with straw dust. The bricks are much lighter than conventional ones.

It's been suggested that the manure residue from biogas production could be used instead of sawdust to make fibreboard. The manure, which contains fibres, would be sterilized and then mixed with resin to make the board. Fibreboard has many uses. It's used to manufacture furniture and floors in homes, for example.

The high fibre content of cow dung also enables people to make paper from the dung. The dung is washed to extract the fibres, which can then be pressed into paper on a screen. Some people make cow dung paper as a hobby. The paper can also be bought commercially.

Insect Repellent and Perhaps a Disinfectant

The smoke from burning cow dung has been found to repel insects, including mosquitoes. This has lead to the deliberate use of cow dung as an insect repellent in some areas. It would be interesting to know whether the smoke from the dung is a more effective repellent than the smoke from other fuels, and if so why this is the case.

Strange as it may sound, in some cultures cow dung is applied to walls and floors as a disinfectant as well as an insulator. There may be some value in this seemingly bizarre practice, as the FAO quote shown below suggests.

Scientists sometimes discover that traditional beliefs have merit, but this hasn't happened yet with respect to the idea that cow dung can act as a disinfectant. Unsterilized cow dung may contain microbes that can infect humans. It's therefore a bad idea to allow the raw dung to contact a wound or to come into contact with food, the mouth, or another body opening. The notion that the sterilized dung has disinfectant abilities needs to be explored.

Cow dung and cow urine possess complex degrading substances and may possess antibacterial properties.

— FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)

A mosquito feeding on human blood; the smoke from burning cow dung is said to repel mosquitoes

A mosquito feeding on human blood; the smoke from burning cow dung is said to repel mosquitoes

Cow Manure as a Fertilizer

Removing cow dung from fields is important because the dried pats reduce the grazing area. In addition, the cow pats give off methane, which acts as a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Water runoff can carry some of the dung into rivers and other bodies of water, polluting them with excess nutrients.

Many people are aware that cow manure can make a good fertilizer and are reminded of this every time they pass a fertilized and odoriferous field. Cow manure is rich in minerals, especially nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It can support the growth of beneficial microorganisms when it's mixed with soil. Manure can also improve the texture of the soil and help it to maintain moisture. Often, however, manure is too rich in certain chemicals and needs to be diluted or left to sit in the soil for a while before crops are planted.

Cow Pie Games

Cow Chip Throwing

Yes, cow pies really are used as a source of entertainment. A cow chip throwing contest is much like it sounds. People throw dried cow pats as far as they can. The person who throws their "chip" the farthest wins. Cow chip throwing is popular at some fairs.

Cow Pie Bingo

In cow pie bingo, chalk squares are drawn on an area of grass, which is cordoned off from its surroundings. Each square is identified with a number or letter. People pay for a square. One or more cows are then led on to the grass. As the cows wander and graze, the spectators wait for a cow pie to be released (which gives a new meaning to the term "spectator sport"). When a cow pie lands on a person's square, that person is the winner.

A Soutpansberg dung beetle (Scarabeus schulzeae) from South Africa

A Soutpansberg dung beetle (Scarabeus schulzeae) from South Africa

Dung Beetles

Humans aren't the only ones to make use of cow dung. As their name suggests, the manure is very important in the life of dung beetles. The dung of any herbivorous mammal will do for their purposes.

Most dung beetles belong to the insect family called the Scarabaeidae. They live on every continent except Antarctica. Some of them have a brightly coloured, metallic appearance and are attractive insects.

Dung beetles are classified as rollers, tunnellers, or dwellers.

  • Rollers take a small piece of dung from a cow pat and shape it into a ball. They roll the ball away and bury it in the ground. The beetles use the ball as food or as a place to lay eggs.
  • Tunnellers dig a tunnel through the cow pat and into the soil underneath it, where they lay eggs. The dung that enters the tunnel is their food source.
  • Dwellers live inside the cow pat in a shallow pit. Here they feed and lay eggs.

The beetles often play an important role in their environment. They aerate and fertilize the soil and remove cow pats from its surface. This clears the land and prevents dung from being washed away by rain to contaminant waterways. The nutrient-rich dung also provides good food for earthworms. The first video below shows beetles competing for the dung. The second shows how the insects can help farmers.

Dung beetles were known as scarabs by Ancient Egyptians. They considered the beetle known today as Scarabaeus sacer to be a sacred animal. Its habit of repeatedly rolling a ball away from dung reminded them of Khepri, a sun god. He was believed to roll the sun across the sky every day in a similar fashion.

Pilobolus: An Enterprising Fungus

Pilobolus is a fungus that grows on herbivorous dung, including the dung of cows. Like most other fungi, the body of Pilobolus is made of thread-like structures known as hyphae. The threads form a tangle known as a mycelium. Also like other fungi, Pilobolus can't make its own food and must absorb nutrients from its surroundings. It does this by secreting digestive enzymes into manure and then absorbing the products of the digestion. Pilobolus, some bacteria, and some animals are decay organisms. They slowly break down and remove cow pats.

Pilobolus cristillinus growing on dung

Pilobolus cristillinus growing on dung

Pilobolus Spores

Fungal Life Cycle

Pilobolus is famous for its method of distributing its spores. Cows eat the spores as they're grazing on grass. The spores have a tough coat and pass through the cow's digestive tract unharmed. They leave the digestive tract in the cow's feces. The spores then germinate, producing the fungal mycelium in the cow pat.

The mycelium eventually produces new spores. At this point a problem arises. Cows avoid eating their own dung, so how are the fungal spores going to get into another cow's digestive tract to complete their life cycle? The solution is to "shoot" the spores beyond the cow pat and onto the surrounding grass.

The Dung Cannon

The spores of Pilobolus are located in a sac called a sporangium. This is borne at the top of a stalk projecting beyond the surface of the cow pat. Below the stalk's tip is a light-sensitive area that detects sunlight and causes the stalk to bend towards the light. The tip of the stalk becomes swollen with liquid and eventually bursts, shooting the sporangium into the air and beyond the "zone of repugnance" around a cow pat. The sporangium can move as fast as 35 feet a second, reach a height of 6 feet, and travel as far as 8 feet away.

Pilobolus is also known as the hat-throwing fungus and the dung cannon because of its interesting behaviour. The behaviour is shown in the video below. The creator has sped the video up.

Safety Precautions for Handling Dung

If you want to experiment with cow dung, remember that the raw material may contain pathogens (microorganisms that can cause disease). Gloves should be worn and hands should be washed thoroughly after handling dung of any kind.

If you're tempted to make your own mini anaerobic digester, as some people do, make sure that you follow the assembly instructions carefully. The pressure of a gas in a confined space such as a digester can be very dangerous. In addition, the methane in a biogas is flammable. It would be best to seek the advice of an expert when creating a digester.

As long as safety precautions are kept in mind and safe procedures are followed, cow dung can be a wonderful resource. This is especially likely in areas with a large cow population. It's interesting that what is waste for a cow can be helpful for us.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: A cow shelter has around 50,000 cows, and produces around 300 tons of cow dung every day. Therefore, how can cow dung be used in the most profitable way?

Answer: I'm a science writer, not a business person, so I can't answer your question. An organization or person that knows something about making money from dung may be able to help you. You could contact a college, university, or agricultural organization to see if they know anything about the business aspect of cow dung.

Question: Cow dung is used for medicine. Is this statement true or false?

Answer: If you mean if cow dung effective as a medicine, then the answer is “False.” As far as I know, there is no scientific evidence that the dung has any benefit as a medicine. Depending on what pathogens (microbes that cause disease) it contains, it could be dangerous to use the dung either internally or externally.

While cow dung may have disinfectant properties when applied to the wall or floor of a home, this hasn’t been proved yet. Even if this is found to be true, the dung mustn't be used as a medicine until scientists prove that it has components that offer health benefits to humans and then find a way to prepare the dung so that it helps people instead of harming them. This may never happen, although unexpected discoveries are sometimes made in science.

Question: Why is raw cow dung not used in a crop field?

Answer: Cow dung can be a good fertilizer for soil, but there are several reasons why it shouldn’t be applied when it’s fresh. One of these reasons is that the dung may contain a high concentration of ammonia. The nitrogen in the ammonia is a good plant nutrient, but an excessive concentration of ammonia can damage plants. Another reason why raw dung shouldn’t be used as fertilizer is that it may attract pests when it’s fresh.

It’s often recommended that manure is composted before being used as a fertilizer. Composting has several benefits. The process produces heat that kills plant seeds and pathogens in the dung and reduces its unpleasant odor.

Question: How healthy are cow dung cakes for the purpose of cremation of human bodies and how much does the project cost?

Answer: Using cow dung for a cremation is certainly more environmentally friendly than cutting down trees and burning them. I don't know about the health risks, but I would think it's important to carry out the cremation outdoors in a very open area with lots of air circulation. I have no idea how much the project would cost.

Question: Can we use cow dung as a boiler's fuel?

Answer: I have read proposals that this should be done as well as reports that people have actually used the dung to produce hot water. I don't know the details of the process or how efficient or safe it is, however. These are things that you would need to investigate before trying it.

Question: What is the aim of using a cow dung stove?

Answer: I’ve never used one, but I imagine the aim is to cook food with energy from a renewable and easily obtainable fuel (cow dung). An efficient cow dung stove that produces sufficient heat to cook food and releases harmless byproducts could be very useful in areas where dung is abundant. It’s a great way to use animal waste.

Question: Can we make nanotech fabrics from cow dung?

Answer: I’ve heard of fabric made of cow dung, but not of nanotech fabric. I’ve read about a Dutch designer who has made fabric from the manure. She’s shared an overview of the process, but I'm sure more details are involved. The dry dung is first processed to extract the cellulose fibres from the grass that the cow has eaten. Acids are then extracted from wet dung and mixed with the cellulose fibres to make cellulose acetate. Fibres of cellulose acetate are used to make a fabric.

© 2014 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 28, 2019:

This would likely depend on the chemical composition of the curtains and on how they interact with the chemicals in the dung. If you want to add cow dung to the curtains, I suggest that you first place a small quantity of the dung on a small, inconspicuous part of the curtains in order to observe the results.

Sanjay on July 25, 2019:

Can i use cow dung on bamboo curtains?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 16, 2019:

Thank you.

Arun kumar Gupta on July 16, 2019:

Just keep posting such useful topics.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 19, 2019:

Thanks for the visit. I think that cows are underrated animals and can be cute.

Lashirah Umaiza on February 19, 2019:

cows are not cute

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 25, 2018:

Hi, Uttam. I'm a science writer, not a technologist. You need to contact someone who has experience in constructing a soak pit such as the one that you describe as well as a scientist that studies cow dung. Make sure that you get professional advice. Cow dung is not sterile. I very much doubt that it can be used in the way that you describe. If you can't get a professional's advice, don't use the dung. It could be dangerous for health.

Uttam Kumar Tamboli on November 25, 2018:

I am working on a project of Low Cost Innovative Soak pit for community. It's a project to develop the Rain water harvesting and the waste water recharging arrangement in a combo offer at cheaper rate and easy buildup. For that I use waste materials and the prime elements of construction.

But , I need to enhance the purification segment of water in soak pit . For that I need to know ... Can i use Cow dung in any way for purification of water like with a slurry chamber or something and also

Will the use of cowdung lay a bad impact on the lower arrangements of sediments in my soak pit ???

Kindly answer

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 15, 2018:

Thank you very much for the comment and for sharing your personal experience, Chitrangada. Cow dung is an interesting topic.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 15, 2018:

Nicely covered topic, on the many uses of cow dung.

It’s widely used in Indian villages, for the reasons you mentioned above. It’s low cost, contains renewable energy and easily available. A perfect way to use natural resources. It’s good as a fertiliser, as well as fuel.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful information with others, through your well researched and well written article!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 05, 2018:

Hi, Meu. As I say in the article, biogas produced from cow dung generally contains methane. This chemical is a good fuel.

Meu on August 04, 2018:

May I ask if, what is the component/substance of a cow dung which makes it a biogas?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 20, 2017:

Thank you very much, Quinton. It's sad that people are losing their understanding of agriculture. Urban life has its advantages, but it has some serious disadvantages as well.

Quinton James from American Midwest on December 20, 2017:

Very entertaining and educational... Good job! There is so much about basic agriculture that is no longer known by each passing generation as urban areas expand and rural living recedes. A lack of understanding prevents good sense from developing and I think we are seeing more fear of agriculture than ever before. Your article is a ray of sunshine here.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 04, 2017:

Hi, Shreyansh. It would probably be helpful to contact someone experienced in making bricks made of cow dung. They should be able to describe the best way to create them.

Shreyansh Diwan on October 26, 2017:

I appreciate your work , As i am also working with cow dung and clay for better building material, although i wanted to know that during baking process of bricks as dried cow dung is used as flammable substance so what can i do to protect it from burning and also how can i control the moisture content .

kindly help me with above situated problem.

thnakyou

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 23, 2017:

Thank you very much, Piyush. Good luck with your project.

Piyush sharma on September 23, 2017:

Aweeeesssooooommmeeeeee!!!!! you've done a lot of study on cow dung dude !! And thank you , this information is very helpful for my NCSC project

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 20, 2017:

Hi, suresh. The percentage of each chemical in cow dung varies, depending on a range of factors. The best thing to do would be to take a sample of the dung to a lab that can analyze it. Perhaps an agricultural college in your area would know of a suitable lab.

suresh on September 20, 2017:

How to analyse compounds like nitrogen.pottasium.sulphur.etc etc in cow dung n can you explian the composition of cow dung.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 13, 2017:

Sorry, Cedrick, I don't know which substance in cow manure makes it an insect repellent. I'm not sure that the chemical has been identified. The effect may be due to a mixture of chemicals instead of only one.

Cedrick Hernan on July 08, 2017:

May I ask if, what is the component/substance of that cow manure which makes it as an insect repellent?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 06, 2017:

Thanks for the comment, ishara. I'm glad the information was useful.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 06, 2017:

Thank you for sharing your story, Sara. It sounds like medical researchers should do some more investigations in relation to cow dung. It's an interesting material!

ishara muthumali on June 05, 2017:

thank you for ur article here. it was soo useful 4 my research

Sara on June 04, 2017:

They state here that cow dung can cause infections if put on a open wound. I beg to differ, I was born in 1934 and lived on a active farm until after I graduated. If we had a open wound when I was a kid my mother would seek fresh cow dung in the pasture and put it on the wound. Yes it healed very quickly and with no infection....in fact if we had an infection Mom would do the same for it. In fact there was a salve made from cow dung way back then but was eventually taken off the market. We ran around the farm in our bare feet often sliding thru cow dung and we never had athletes foot....ha, IN case you are wondering, I am a female........can'the stand cow dung since I got older.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 19, 2017:

Thank you, Gani. I appreciate your comment.

Gani on April 19, 2017:

This is interesting and educative. I am so much in love of this article looking forward to read more of your articles.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 01, 2017:

Hi, Sasanka Ghosh. The smell of feces is mostly caused by chemicals produced by gut bacteria. The bacterial community in a cow's gut is different from the one is humans, so the smell of the dung is different.

Sasanka Ghosh on January 01, 2017:

I want to ask a question related to this. Why the smell of cow dung is not bad as in the case of other animal or human ?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 04, 2016:

Thank you very much for the interesting comment and the share, DrMark1961. I'll be thinking about the image of "road apples" for the rest of the day!

Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 04, 2016:

Great article! When I lived in the Sahara the cow dung came out so dry that it looked like horse "road apples". Now that I am back in the tropics it is slimy, like I remember it, and we use it here as fertilizer. The Indians seem to know how to use it best.

I shared this to Flipboard!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 30, 2014:

Thank you for the comment and for sharing the information, Sunder1.

rahul from India on November 30, 2014:

In India, cow is considered mother and its is very pure used for many purposes

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 27, 2014:

Hi, vespawoolf. Thanks for the visit. Cow dung is certainly a useful material!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on November 27, 2014:

Of course I´ve heard of cow dung used for fertilizer and fuel, but I didn´t realize it could be made into paper or spread on the walls of homes. Very interesting. We buy fresh milk from some very beautiful local cows, so next time I see them I will appreciate them more!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 09, 2014:

I haven't heard that song before! I'll look out for it. Thank you very much for the comment, Lady Lorelei.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on October 09, 2014:

I've stepped in a few cow pies in my day but never flung the dung. Now I have the funny feeling that I'll be hearing Stompin' Toms "Margo's Cargo" song for the rest of the morning which was of course about selling cow dung.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 27, 2014:

Thanks for the comment and for sharing the information, john000. I agree with you - we certainly do need to be more creative in our selection of resources!

John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on September 27, 2014:

I am reminded that cow dung, or manure, is also a great starter for compost. Mixing a shovel full of manure with my vegie debris and clippings and then watering helped break down the materials much more quickly. We really do need to look more creatively at reusing resources. Who would have thought that a cow pie could teach us so much! Great information.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 22, 2014:

Thanks so much for the pin, Flourish!

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 22, 2014:

I'm back to pin this. Cheers!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 17, 2014:

What an interesting piece of information, Sally. Thanks for sharing it.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 17, 2014:

Thanks for the joke and the comment, chef-de-jour! I appreciate the votes and the share, too.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on September 17, 2014:

AliciaC

Some of the best tennis courts I have played on had a surface which was made from cow dung. The courts were resurfaced regularly and were painted green afterwards. They made an excellent surface to play on.

Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on September 17, 2014:

Reminds me of an old John Cleese joke...What's brown and sounds like a bell? DUNG!

Thank you for revealing all about this most precious of countryside materials. We have some wonderful dungheaps around these parts - Yorkshire - we call them muckheaps. Farmers pile them up to let the dung mature before spreading it over the land. An age old sustainable tradition.

Votes and a share.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 12, 2014:

What an unusual game! I've never heard of people throwing cow patties at each other for fun before. This sounds like another interesting way to use cow dung! Thanks for the comment, Mel. I appreciate it.

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on September 12, 2014:

I come from a rather red-neckish family, and we used to have fun throwing cow patties at each other in the summertime, sort of like a snowball fight but in the heat. It's amazing what bored country people will think of to pass the hours. Very interesting hub, you are always thinking of ways to help the planet out by using the most mundane and seemingly distasteful things. Great hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 06, 2014:

Hi, Rolly. Yes, cow dung is a wonderful resource. We really do need to take advantage of it! Thank you very much for the comment. Blessings to you, too.

Rolly A Chabot from Alberta Canada on September 06, 2014:

Hi Alicia... what a research project this must have been, very interesting indeed when I see all of the uses you have listed. Leaves one to wonder why our western culture has not taken advantage of the renewable resource... after all we grow them here in beef country...

Hugs and Blessings

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 05, 2014:

Hi, VioletteRose. Thank you for the comment. It's very interesting that some people consider cow dung to be disgusting while other people love it and use it for purification!

VioletteRose from Atlanta on September 05, 2014:

Very useful, I agree with you very much about the uses of cow dung. Strange it may seem, but in some cultures using cow dung with water is seen as a way to purify the surroundings.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 24, 2014:

Thanks for sharing the interesting story, techygran. It's so lovely to hear about cows being kept without any intent to slaughter them! Thank you very much for the vote and the share, too.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on August 23, 2014:

Yes, well-written article AliciaC-- our 'nomad farmer' son (he travels about helping his farmer friends) once had charge of four young bovine males as composters (there was no intent to slaughter them or use them for other purposes) and all their gardens flourished. Eventually, however, the bulls (or bull-ets?) required some intervention to curb their natural testosterol-driven behaviours and were passed along to another good-willed young farmer. I have much respect for the contributions of farmyard animals and appreciated the information you provided in this article. Voting up and sharing!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 22, 2014:

Thank you so much, Audrey!

Audrey Howitt from California on August 22, 2014:

Wow! just an excellent article!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 21, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment and the votes, tillsontitan. Cow dung being used as manure certainly does have a distinctive smell!

Mary Craig from New York on August 21, 2014:

As a city girl, well I grew up there anyway, I had no idea how useful cow dung could be. I did know about it as a fertilizer though. I had a neighbor who used it to fertilize his garden and we could smell it for days.

This was very interesting and educational Alicia. You certainly wrote a comprehensive hub!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 17, 2014:

Thank you, Vellur. I appreciate your comment and vote!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on August 17, 2014:

Great hub about the many uses of cow dung. I knew some of the uses but not all, interesting and informative. Voted up.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 17, 2014:

Thank you very much, truthfornow!

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on August 17, 2014:

You always teach me new information and interesting facts about something in nature. Who knew cow dung had so many uses? I only knew about it being a good fertilizer.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 10, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, the votes and the pun, Suzanne! I appreciate your visit.

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on August 10, 2014:

A fascinating hub about the ins and outs (sorry for the pun!) about cow dung. The Pilobolus pictures were especially fascinating. Voted useful and up!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 09, 2014:

Thank you very much, Deb. It is surprising that cow dung is so useful!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on August 09, 2014:

I knew that cow dung was useful, but never dreamed that it was this useful. Great work on keeping us informed.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 08, 2014:

Thanks for the comment, Bill I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 08, 2014:

Very interesting Linda. I didn't know there were so many uses for cow dung, especially as an insect repellent. Thanks for the education and have a wonderful weekend.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 05, 2014:

Thank you, Maren Morgan. Cow dung may be a strange topic, but it's one that I find interesting!

Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on August 05, 2014:

AliciaC, I think you've said everything that can possibly be said on the topic!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 05, 2014:

Hi, Dianna. Yes, wearing gloves is a good idea when dealing with cow dung! Thanks for the visit and the comment.

Dianna Mendez on August 05, 2014:

I don't know if I could ever play this type of bingo without wearing gloves. It would be so valuable to use this waste product for new fuel resources. Interesting read.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 05, 2014:

Thank you so much for the comment, karthikkash! It's great to hear from someone else who has seen cow dung being used. The dung is amazing stuff.

Karthik Kashyap from India on August 04, 2014:

Wow!! Thank you for this article. Coming from India, I know that village folk still use cow dung in front of their houses as an insect repellent as well as dry it for fuel.. But wasn't aware of the other benefits. Wonderful article..

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 04, 2014:

Thank you very much, MG Singh. I hope the hub is useful for some people!

MG Singh from UAE on August 04, 2014:

Excellent post. Will be particularly useful for developing countries like China and India

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 04, 2014:

Thanks for the kind and amusing comment, Rebecca! Yes, it is interesting that cow dung contains so much potential energy. It's a valuable resource.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 04, 2014:

This is fascinating, Alicia. But it makes sense that energy would be stored in all that cow sh...uh, dung. lol what a unique idea for a hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 04, 2014:

Yes, cows and their dung are certainly very useful! Thank you very much for commenting, Cynthia.

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on August 04, 2014:

I never knew there were so many uses for cow dung Alicia. Basically if you own a few cows not only will you have a source of meat and milk, but you will have fuel for your fire, be able to make bricks and fertilise your crops

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 03, 2014:

Hi, RTalloni. Yes, I expect people who have lived on farms have all sorts of tales to share about cow dung! Thanks for the visit.

RTalloni on August 03, 2014:

Interesting to learn more about utilizing this by-product as various cultures have for centuries. Those who grew up on American farms have their own experiences with cow patties and will probably read of this with a good measure of curiosity.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 03, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, Nell. The uses of cow dung are interesting. They're sometimes funny, too!

Nell Rose from England on August 03, 2014:

I like the idea of Cow Pie Bingo! lol! fascinating stuff, so many uses, and yes as you said its only grass and other natural products so it does make sense, great hub and really interesting alicia, nell

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 03, 2014:

Thank you so much for such an informative and kind comment, Martie. It's very interesting to hear about your personal experience with cow dung!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on August 03, 2014:

Excellent article about cow dung and its many uses. I always use it as a fertilizer in my garden, but then it has to be well-sweated - a process that kills the seeds of grass and other plants in the dung. Of course, we don't want all of that in our gardens. I remember as a child I have entered many houses (on farms) with floors pasted with cow dung. The smell was fresh and clean, and I remember it repelled insects and spiders. Cement, wood, and eventually ceramic tiles brought an end to the use of cow dung as a floor-paste. Excellent article, as always, Alicia :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 02, 2014:

Thank you for the kind comment and for sharing the interesting information, Homeplace Series! I appreciate your visit.

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on August 02, 2014:

Back at the one-room country school in Iowa, cow patties made great bases. Important to choose ones that were well tried, of course. Great memories. Lots of good, current information. Very useful hub, full of good information. Thanks for sharing!! ;-)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 02, 2014:

Hi, Devika. I appreciate your comment and all the votes! Thank you very much for the visit.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 02, 2014:

Thank you so much for the interesting and kind comment, Suhail. I appreciate the vote and the share, too! I am very much looking forward to your next hub. I hate the fact that wolves sometimes have a bad reputation that they don't deserve.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 02, 2014:

Cow Dung has many uses I had no idea of. You informed me perfectly. Voted up, useful and interesting.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on August 02, 2014:

Linda,

Since I am an environmentalist I can't tell you how happy I was to read this article. It sent me back to the Memory Lane. When I was a student of civil engineering, I did two projects as part of my final year studies. One was on solar desalination plants and the other one was on using cows and their dung for silvicultural benefits and bio-gas production, respectively. So I was able to relate to what you wrote.

More recently, I was visiting farms in the US west where cows were being routinely killed by grizzlies and cougars and everyone was blaming wolves for it. So now you can guess what my next article is going to be on.

Your article was very informative and interesting. Voted up and shared!

And btw, it's about time you also wrote about your adventures with your two dogs :-)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 02, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment and vote, Faith. I wish I lived in surroundings like yours. Rolling hills and pastures sound lovely! I am enjoying my weekend so far, thank you, and hope you're doing the same.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on August 02, 2014:

No wonder the pastures across from my home are so verdant and plush, and really beautiful as they are rolling hills instead of flat. They have a lot of Black Angus cows here, but thankfully the smell is not bad at all due to they switch the cows out of the three different pastures that go behind my home.

This is especially interesting as to the many uses of cow dung. I am truly surprised to learn that it can be used as a building material and to repel insects, which I would have thought it would attract insects or maybe flies. I am glad there is no smell when smeared on walls.

Voted up +++ and away

I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 02, 2014:

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Peg. I loved hearing about the friendly cows (and about their generosity in providing manure)!

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on August 02, 2014:

This is so interesting. Who would have thought that cow dung played such an important part in the role of insects and sports? You've explained it in such a way to be understandable and educational. I've actually collected cow dung to use in my garden in the past. The odor is not too offensive and the cows were quite friendly while we invaded their pasture.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 02, 2014:

Thank you for the comment and for sharing the information, thewritingowl. It's nice to meet you!

Mary Kelly Godley from Ireland on August 02, 2014:

Wow have to say being a dairy farmers daughter I thought I knew a lot about cow-dung but the most we ever did with it was agitate it (mix it) and spread it over the land and yes it was an excellent grass fertilizer. Well said.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 02, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, the votes and the share, Flourish! The idea of using cow dung on walls is very interesting (and strange for some of us). It seems to work well, although I wonder about the side effects, too!

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 02, 2014:

This was both educational and awesomely green in every sense of the word. I do wonder whether coating your house in poo has side effects when it rains. Voted way up and more plus sharing.