Chicken Manure: Turning Waste Into Quality Fertilizer

Ed Wike
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What Is Chicken Manure?

Chicken manure is what comes out of the chicken when it’s fertilized and ready to be used. It is formed in the coop or chicken run outdoors. The droppings that the chickens make throughout the day, are removed from the coop on a daily or weekly basis.

Chickens produce much more manure than their body weight. For example, a four pound chicken will generate the equivalent of one pound of manure.

Chicken manure is nitrogen-rich. That’s not a secret. But what you may not know is that it’s also high in phosphorus and potassium. What’s great about that is that chicken manure can fertilize your lawn and garden, as well as the plants in pots on the porch. That saves you money if you buy those types of fertilizers.

What about the D-word? Don’t worry. There are no nasty droppings in it. It is free of chicken proteins, which can be a bit smelly.

What Nutrients Are In Chicken Manure?

Chickens provide us with eggs and meat, but another hidden gem is chicken manure.

It's a good idea to collect it regularly because it makes a quality fertilizer for crops, which in turn, will improve your soil.

Manures from other livestock like cows, horses, and other animals are applied to the soil in a similar way to chicken manure.

By adding manure to crops, the crops are able to get nutrients and water from both the soil and the manure. That is important because soil lacks some nutrients and manure can provide those important nutrients.

Higher nutrient levels in crops can improve crop quality and in some cases, increase crop yield.

So which nutrients are in chicken manure that make it such a good fertilizer?

Chicken manure has unique properties that make it an effective fertilizer. Here are some of the key nutrients in chicken manure.

NITROGEN: Nitrogen is an important nutrient for plant growth and development. You'll find nitrogen in chicken manure in the form of ammonia. When chicken manure is applied to the soil, the ammonia is converted to nitrates by bacteria in the soil. Nitrates are absorbed by the plants, and are used to build proteins, chlorophyll, and cell membranes.

PHOSPHORUS: Phosphorus is in abundance in chicken manure. It is one of the primary nutrients in chicken manure and it is also an important mineral substance that all living things need.

Chicken Manure Composting

Composting chicken manure is simple, you just need to bear in mind a few things. Here are 3 ways to compost chicken manure:

Use a tumbler.

Tumblers move as they compost so that the materials are mixed and aerated regularly. Get a large tumbler like this one.

Put in a pile and layer it.

Steer clear of adding too much material at one time. Using the same bulk products allows you to space them out a little more.

Start a heap.

Of course, you can also start a heap with just the layers. This takes longer to get compost going because you need to add more nitrogen-rich material if you want compost quickly.

Here are some problems to be kept in mind while composting chicken manure:

Avoid creating an environment where rats and mice are likely to live, as they too will use the manure. Make sure there are numerous escape routes for the manure.

To avoid this, steep the manure for a week or two and drain off any liquid. Use a pitchfork around the edges to air out the pile. The pile should be at least 10 feet from any building or structure.

Provide the materials with a little acid. You can do this by adding a cup of pine needles or oak leaves to the pile.

Benefits of Chicken Manure Fertilizer

Chickens are funny little creatures. We’re not only amazed at their antics, whether it’s racing around the pen or clucking at the gate, we’re also amused by their waste.

But we’ve been taught to think of all chicken droppings as being full of drug-resistant strains of salmonella.

After all, this is what farmers have told us for so long.

But over the past several decades, the scientific community has revealed the truth. Chicken manure fertilizer does not contain salmonella. This is good news for people who want to grow their own food and need a quality fertilizer.

The best part is that you can get all the nutrients you need from a high-quality chicken manure fertilizer. It is often low in nitrogen and can be lower in potassium and phosphorous than other fertilizer options.

If you are going to use chicken manure in your gardening, it is important to know the options available to you.

This post will detail the different types of the chickens’ waste, the potential uses, and how to properly apply it to your garden.

Drawbacks of Chicken Fertilizer

The drawbacks of chicken manure include odor, the gamey smell, especially in summer. Also, the availability of it, particularly for those who don’t have chickens, or for those who are buying it, which costs more than natural, bagged types. Some may also consider manure to be a dirty word because of its association with a larger issue in modern farming, an unhealthy soil condition known as “nutrient loading”. This occurs when organic matter like manure is applied to soil in excess that causes runoff, and a pollution problem

There’s also the issue of pollution. This is a problem with many fertilizers but it is usually overlooked when talking about manure, it can contain excess nutrients, like nitrogen, that run off into ground and natural water sources. In some cases, manure can do more harm than good, polluting ground and water sources.

However, when used in the right way, manure can contribute to the betterment of the soil in ways that other forms of fertilizer can’t. How is it done?

Chicken Manure can be turned into top quality fertilizer with the proper composting and mixing techniques.

Other Types of Poultry Manure

People who keep small flocks of poultry often cannot use all the manure that these animals produce. The amount of manure that you have may be significant—perhaps equivalent to the amount of manure produced by two or three large, commercial flocks.

Manure can be used to grow your own fruits, vegetables, flowers and trees. Therefore, it is essential to reuse that manure so that you maximize the yields from your garden. You can use poultry manure in the following ways:

  • Spread the manure over the soil in your garden at the rate of one cubic yard per 500 square feet. This will add a considerable amount of nutrients to the soil and improve soil quality.
  • Add manure to your compost pile.
  • Incorporate manure into existing landscaping.
  • Cover aged manure with soil, straw or mulch to reduce smell and slow down decomposition.
  • Mix the manure with other materials to increase the total volume of material and then use it for composting.

How To Use Chicken Fertilizer

If you have chickens or happen to know someone who does, you know that raising enough edible eggs to make a difference in your family diet takes a lot of chicken manure. Most of the items on your list can be found at a local feed supply store. Call ahead if you’re seriously interested in getting started with making your own compost and ask if they have any advice for you.

Offering cracked corn for chickens is a great way to make sure they eat it all. With chickens, cracked corn is an effective bait!

To turn your chicken manure into a compost that’s great for your plants, follow this simple method.

Verify that you have enough warm, moist chicken manure to ensure that your pile will compost, rather than rot. This is a critical step to composting, so don’t rush just because you’re eager to use what you’ve got. Once the manure starts to spoil, there is no way to "fix" it and it’s not good for your pile.

Dig a shallow hole about 12 inches in diameter, putting the ground used to cover the hole to one side. This allows the pile to be capped and filled in with one layer of dirt. Cover the bottom of the hole with straw. It is okay if the straw is damp or even slightly wet.

Chicken Manure As Fertilizer

Chicken manure can be a great alternative to traditional gardening fertilizers. In just a few months, the average chicken can produce up to 50 pounds of manure, which is a wealth of nutrients for the plants in your garden.

Manure is a common material used in organic gardens as it adds many nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the surrounding soil. Fertilizers such as these are important for a well-balanced garden and should be used in the spring and fall.

Professional growers often use chemical fertilizers for their crops, but many organic gardeners are against using harmful chemicals in their gardens. Chicken manure is a great alternative to these because it is natural and, more importantly, it is free.

Chicken Manure Tea

Chickens can be a great source for "self-provisioning." They give you delicious, healthy meat and their waste can be used to fertilize a garden. This creates a perfect ecosystem in a homestead where you are saving money, getting healthy meat, and growing your own vegetables.

Many people use their chicken manures to fertilize their gardens straight out of the compost pile. This is fine, as the manure is broken down and there is a certain degree of control over the distribution.

However, there is a better way to use your chickens' supply while maximizing garden fertility.

Chicken manure makes a great break to your garden's diet in the form of a "tea."

A tea is created by mixing the manure with water and allowing it to steep. A diluted version of this "liquid gold" is free for the taking, using this simple technique:

First, dump all the chicken manure you plan on using into a bucket. In the future, use of a garden cart makes this step easier.

Next, fill the bucket with warm water to equal the volume of manure in the bucket.

Put the bucket back outside and leave it be.

Come back a few hours later and stir it up, or use a non-electric hand-mixer to hasten the process.

Leave the mixture for 24 to 48 hours until most of the solids have sunk to the bottom.

Where To Buy Chicken Manure

Chicken manure is a great fertilizer for your garden. It’s a natural, inexpensive product created without the use of chemicals or other additives. It’s a great, easy, and fun way to look after your garden. Chicken manure allows you to grow your vegetables in soil that is rich in nutrients.

Purchasing chicken manure in bulk is only half the battle. You also have to learn how and where to use the fertilizer to get the best results. By using chicken manure for your garden, it will help your plants to grow quickly and protect them from harmful diseases.

For an added bonus, this fertilizer is easy to store. Instead of keeping it in your bags or spreader, bag it up and store it in a cool place over the winter. This will keep it fresh for your plants during the following year. You can add it to your garden as you need it … and it will be ready for you to use in the future whenever it is needed.

Espoma GM25 3-2-3 Organic Chicken Manure, 25lb

Is there anything that you can't do with chicken?

Okay, so maybe there are a few things “ but chicken manure comes pretty close on the list of things that are completely useful and versatile.

It is an all-around great fertilizer for different plants, from berry bushes to trees to lawns.

This particular formula is a good choice for food producers who are interested in establishing a sustainable farming operation. It is available from suppliers who specialize in sustainable soil management, such as Espoma.

Let's take a look at a variety of ways that you can utilize this composted chicken manure fertilizer.

Pearl Valley Organix 080951 Coop Poop All Purpose Garden Food, 40 lb

Preparation is key for cooking great food and growing strong plants. Recipes and products are the first steps towards finding success for everything you want to prepare and garden.

The problem is that many products contain chemicals or additives you may not want to put in your mouth or on your plants. There are endless companies and brands to choose between and many don’t have high standards for organic or quality ingredients. That’s why a garden or cooks love to find natural, quality ingredients and products. These are available for less from larger companies or in bulk from local farmers.

You can have quality ingredients at the most affordable prices by buying in bulk. Pearl Valley Organix is a company specializing in natural, organic products, including fertilizers and soil amendments. They sell products for organic gardening in stages. Click on their link to see the options they have available. You can also check out their extensive list of lawn care products. For example, you can stock up on chicken manure fertilizer in a large 40-pound bag of compost, instead of little single-use size bags.

Hoffman 20505 Dehydrated Super Manure 4-2-3, 5 Pounds