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Automatic modules outside of cities that turn pigeons' poop into fertilizer

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jnikola Jul 26, 2022
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Pigeon nesting, manure-collecting and fertilizer-producing stations outside the city centres
  • to clean the cities,
  • to raise the city's hygiene by removing disease-carrying elements
  • to protect birds' lives
  • to produce organic plant fertilizer (almost for free)
How would it work?
  1. Building a bird nesting and manure-collecting modules that can be easily installed, moved, cleaned and upgraded
  2. Feeding birds with organic waste only in built modules
  3. Collecting manure and processing it into plant fertilizer on-site or off-site - the fertilizer could be made by composting or by drying it and creating a particle fertilizer
  4. free-to-use (anybody can come and take some)
  5. reserved-for-industry (manure/fertilizer is being shipped to local farms)
  6. Educate people how they can use the fertilizer in their gardens
Additional information
Doves and pigeons are the most common birds in big cities, which can be seen by their litter all over cities, abandoned buildings or hard-accessible sheltered places, where they usually nest. In search of food, they roam the cities, scaring people, leaving the city full of their poop which can corrode metal (electrical wires, building constructions, etc.), and sometimes even spreading diseases . I personally got hit by falling pigeon manure from the skyscraper, which left a 2 cm hole in my fur jacket. Although not a common case, some cities banned feeding and harbouring pigeons to tackle the pigeon poop problem. Since the birds' poop is rich in uric acid, a nitrogen-rich substance, it is often used in plant fertilization. You can find details here and here.
Creative contributions

Is there any way we could build 'bird latrines'?

Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Jul 26, 2022
Having automatic modules indeed is a great idea. However, it could be costly and energy-intensive, beating the whole purpose down. Having said this, it is plausible that bird poop can be used as a potent fertilizer. The problem I see here is, like in many other instances, SCALE. On average, each bird at a time excretes not more than a few milligrams. Since the birds like pigeons and doves have high motility, it is hard to predict where they will be next to poop. This makes poop collection tough, and probably the device/system will be overwhelmed when a large number of birds go about excreting randomly all over the place. But something that I found interesting was the frequency of pooping these birds do. An average pigeon poops almost 48 times a day; one hen will produce 130 pounds of manure in a year. This is pretty big. Factor in the number of pigeons around a city square: we might have enough manure to sustain a small urban garden all year round. Back to the problem of scale again- how do we even go about collecting the bird poop? While developing modules that actively scan the areas for bird poop and collect the manure is one way to do things, a better alternative with less energy/design cost would be to build 'bird latrines'. However, how do we attract the birds to use the bird latrines? This is another problem. What could be the possible ways, if any, that could attract birds to defecate in a designated area? Are there any chemical/physical attractants that we can use? Are there any behavioural cues from animal studies that can be implemented to 'guide' birds to a certain area whenever they need to poop? I think these questions are worth wondering upon.
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jnikola2 years ago
Thank you Subash Chapagain, I think you raised great questions.
How do we attract the birds to use the bird latrines?
The modules I would like to build would definitely need to incorporate some kind of "attractant" for the birds. It could be, in its most primitive way, the food. However, pigeons are not trapped like chickens/hens, so they probably won't defecate in the same place where they eat. It could be a nesting area, a heated place during winter (solar-powered) or the only place in the city that doesn't have bird-scaring ultrasonic devices. Also, since pigeons use olfaction to navigate (probably using trace amounts of gases), we could definitely investigate this as a perspective solution or, for example, have bird-scaring or bird-directing drones that navigate pigeons into these modules ("toilets"). I will continue working on this question.
How do we even go about collecting the bird poop?
Once they are on one place, it shouldn't be hard to collect the litter beneath them.
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