Cow dung, which is usually a dark brown color is often used as manure (agricultural fertilizer). If not recycled into the soil by species such as earthworms and dung beetles, cow dung can dry out and remain on the pasture, creating an area of grazing land which is unpalatable to livestock. Cow dung is can used to remove oil and grease properties of any waste liquids.
In many parts of the developing world, and in the past in mountain regions of Europe, caked and dried cow dung is used as fuel.
Dung may also be collected and used to produce biogas to generate electricity and heat. The gas is rich in methane and is used in rural areas of India and Pakistan and elsewhere to provide a renewable and stable source of electricity.
In central Africa, Maasai villages have burned cow dung inside to repel mosquitos. In cold places, cow dung is used to line the walls of rustic houses as a cheap thermal insulator. Most of villagers in India spray fresh cow dung mixed with water in front of the houses to repel insects. It is also dried into cake like shapes and used as replacement for firewood.
Cow dung is also an optional ingredient in the manufacture of adobe mud brick housing depending on the availability of materials at hand.
A deposit of cow dung is referred to in American English as a “cow chip,” or less commonly “cow pie,” and in British English as a “cowpat”. When dry, it is used in the practice of “cow chip throwing” popularized in Beaver, Oklahoma in 1970. On April 21, 2001 Robert Deevers of Elgin, Oklahoma, set the record for cow chip throwing with a distance of 185 feet 5 inches (56.52 m).
Cow dung is also used in Hindu religious fire yajna as an important ingredient.
Cow dung is also used in the making of panchgavya, for use in Hindu rituals. It is also used as a medicine in India.