Potty Training and Dairy Farming Have One Thing in Common

… a whole lot of poop. manure spreader

It is an exciting time here at our household. Jonnie is starting to show an interest in potty training. Yeah! We had about two days of real effort and then he decided that the super cool Lightening McQueen underwear was not for him. We are now back in diapers, but at least the interest is there. My dream would be if he would get out of diapers before the new baby. Here is to hoping, but in the mean time I still have to deal with poop. ugg.

Our training chair for the barn restroom toilet

While encouraging the potty training thing, we have been reading a very funny book titled “Have You Seen My Potty” by Mij Kelly. In the story, a cow steals Suzy Sue’s potty chair and all the farm animals want to use it. No more stepping in poop they say.

If ONLY animals really did use the potty or at least a designated area to relieve themselves. All the time, money and effort we spend to make sure our animals’ waste is cleared from their pens, composted and then applied on our fields in an environmentally friendly way, could be spent NOT dealing with poop. Manure (or animals waste) is a big issue on our farm. Tim and Jon spend probably 40 hours a week just moving and spreading the stuff. One cow will eat about 100 pounds of feed each day and produce about 100 pounds of manure.

Thankfully, now that the cows and most of the young stock are out on pasture, the animals take care of the stuff themselves. We purposely intensively graze areas, so that their manure (a very valuable, natural fertilizer) is concentrated in a way that is beneficial to the plants, but doesn’t create environmental problems. Many people only associate a negative image with animal manure. Images of polluted rivers and stinky farms give the stuff a bad name. In fact, animal manure is one of the best resources a farm can have to rejuvenate soil nutrients. Without it, we would have to rely on chemical inputs. Growing up my Dad would always say “smells like money” when we smelled manure being applied on a farm. Dad was right; manure is like liquid gold. See a video of Tim hauling manure yesterday.

A couple weeks ago the farm bought a new manure spreader and you would have thought it was Christmas for Tim. The spreader is bigger than our old one and more importantly, not falling apart. Hauling time was reduced significantly. Only a dairy farmer would be excited about a new poop hauling tool.

I hope that we can get Jonnie back on the potty training bandwagon. If you have any potty training tips, please share. With Erik, he just decided he wanted to be done with diapers one day and we never looked back.


Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy.  We are proud Organic Valley farmer members and sell our milk under that label. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, www.zweberfarms.com. Connect with us on FacebookTwitterand YouTube.

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