The Joy Of Chicken Poo April 13, 2012

Stick a fork in me, I'm done!

As a gardener I take advantage of my chickens’ droppings whenever I can.  First, I get all dressed in my chicken cleaning uniform, gloves and boots,  then trudge out to the coops with shovel in hand. When I clean the coops I make sure nothing is wasted and it all gets moved right to my compost pile. This helps cut down on waste sent to the dump, helps my garden thrive and makes the coop cleaning process multipurpose (they get a clean coop & I get fertilizer).

The important thing to remember is chicken waste is considered “hot” when fresh, this means it’s high nitrogen can damage the root system of the plants.  Letting your newly found fertilizer age is the best solution. You can do this in one of 2 ways:

  1. Load your chicken manure onto your compost pile to turn and age over time before adding to your garden.
  2. Add the manure to the garden at the end of the season, such as fall, when nothing is growing. Turn the soil then, and allow to age directly in the soil for spring planting.

If your manure is mixed in with a heavy amount of pine shavings, its a good idea to choose the “add to compost pile” option. The pine shavings need a lot more time to break down due thickness and also have a high acidity level.  Straw breaks down fairly quickly and you can choose to add that to your garden in the fall if its your choice of bedding in the coop.

I prefer pine shavings over straw or hay, as it’s more absorbent (chicken poo is wet!). When straw gets damp it can become moldy quickly, though both straw and hay break down much more quickly in the compost bin. I’ll happily put either one into my compost pile!

 

8 Comments
Billiam April 13th, 2012

Thanks for the pointers! I recently just added the pine shavings and poo straight into my raised garden and mixed it all up. Hopefully it all turns out okay. Next time I’ll compost it first.

Brandy April 13th, 2012

Chicken poop doesn’t bother me, so I may consider this! I think it’s a great idea to reuse while cleaning, which I’m going to have to do soon due to my big messy chickens. I love ’em though.

Michelle Benge April 13th, 2012

Good information, I didn’t know you should let it break down first! Thanks for adding this.

Joan April 14th, 2012

I’ve seen 1 recommendation to put the poo close to the plants in your garden, but not directly next to them so as not to burn them with the high nitrogen content. My new rhubarb plants are very happy in our composted poo. (We use shavings also.) Would like to try fertilizing the lawn with it some how…any ideas?

sKotT April 15th, 2012

@Joan, most recommendations I’ve read say don’t put the used shaving near edible plants or near plants within a month of harvest.

P.S. Does My Pet Chicken have issues with chickens posting here, cause I have to click the button below to prove I’m human 😀

Ok, just kidding, I’m a professional web developer.

Jennie June 17th, 2012

In mentioning the pine shavings in this article, you mention the “add to compost pile” option, but I found nothing referencing this, can you tell me where to find this info…thanks, Jennie

shannon June 18th, 2012

@Jennie, Wood is slightly acidic. It changes the ph of your soil in the garden, but by how much I don’t exactly know. I did find an article mentioning the same thing but they don’t state the exact % on the ph change either. I just don’t do it to take the risk out of creating a balance issue with my garden’s soil.

http://www.ehow.com/how_8018699_use-droppings-pine-bedding-compost.html

Abby August 21st, 2013

Hello! Great article, but does anyone know ( sorry about this slightly gross ) if aging chicken poo increases its ability to improve my compost?

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