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How Can We Use Chicken Manure as a Garden Fertilizer

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What Is Chicken Manure?

Nutrient-rich chicken manure is an excellent composting material. In comparison to other farm manures such as cow manure, its nitrogen and phosphorus contents are at least twice as high.

Manure consists of everything that accumulates in a chicken coop when it is cleaned out, including chicken droppings. A few examples are urine, feathers, leftover feed, and bedding material from the chicken coop, like straw and hay, pine or cedar shavings, grass clippings, and recycled paper.

The nutrient content is not solely determined by the percentage of chicken feces and other materials. It is also important to consider the age of the chickens and how they are raised.

The Benefits of Chicken Manure

The benefits of chicken manure as an organic non-synthetic fertilizer are numerous. It has an array of macronutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as micronutrients like calcium, which support plant health.

The benefits of chicken manure extend beyond fertilization. Also, it is an effective soil amendment since it adds organic matter to the soil. As a result, it improves ground structure, moisture-holding capacity, drainage capacity, and aeration. Organic matter also provides a better barrier against erosion and better fertilizer retention in soil.

Chicken manure also provides another benefit: it promotes soil microbes, allowing organic nutrients to break down faster, leading to better availability of nutrients to plants.

Bagged vs Fresh Chicken Manure

There are two types of chicken manure: commercially processed and fresh. You can buy pulverized or pelletized chicken manure at your local garden center. In comparison to fresh manure, dried manure is more concentrated than the latter, which contains 76% water. Generally, dried manure is not odorous since it is sterilized.

In contrast, manure from a backyard chicken coop or a farm can be smelly and contain pathogens such as Salmonella or E. coli. The ammonia content of fresh manure is too high to be used directly, but it must be aged or composted first before it’s used, or else it will burn the plants.

Please note: There is a possibility that chicken manure from conventionally raised chickens is contaminated with antibiotics. The safer option is to use organic chicken manure.

How to Age Chicken Manure

In order to reduce ammonia content and destroy harmful pathogens, fresh manure must be aged. A compost pile can reach temperatures of 140 to 160°F, at which pathogens in manure cease to reproduce.

Manure is often aged by composting. It is necessary to turn the compost pile weekly in order to introduce oxygen to it. Also, shield it from the elements so as not to bring more moisture back into it. In order to prevent contamination from runoff, compost piles with manure should be far away from your garden and other areas that have human traffic, such as kid’s play areas.

Approximately six weeks after aging, the resulting manure is compact, drier, and lighter in weight. After adding aged manure to the soil, the nutrients are slowly released so your plants will benefit.

Remember:

  • You should always work chicken manure evenly into the soil, no matter what type of chicken manure you use.
  • Keep your hands clean when handling manure and always wear gloves.

Article Source By: (https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/how-to-use-chicken-manure-as-garden-fertilizer.76952/)

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