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Composting Chicken Manure

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Raw chicken manure is absolutely packed with beneficial bacteria and organisms which will boost your plant and vegetable growth- but only after you compost it.

 

Why can’t you just apply the manure raw? Isn’t it natural?

Yes, but one could say too natural. Raw chicken manure, before proper composting, is known as ‘hot.’ This means it is overflowing with nitrogen, which in abundance will overpower your plants. You must first give the manure proper time to decompose. This is the composting process.

 

1. To start, first grab a bucket or proper box to collect the chicken poop. The simplest time to collect is while (cleaning your coop). Have one special bucket for cleaning, and one special receptacle for poop collection. You can keep all your accumulated manure in a compost bin, or you can form a pile on the ground no smaller than about 3 high by 5 feet long. It’s best to mix in some natural compounds with your compost- perhaps the old shavings from your coop, or some grass or leaves, and even paper.

 

2. To quicken the decomposition process, you may find it helpful to apply a bit of water to moisten the collection. Cover the pile fully to keep in heat. This will ‘cook’ the manure and speed up its decomposition.

 

3. Be patient. As decomposition is a natural process, it takes time. If you are using a compost bin, you may have to wait between 40-80 days; if you have a ground pile, you may wait anywhere from 6 months to a year before the compost is fully ready to apply to your garden. Regular turning of the pile is recommended for best outcomes.

 

4. Ahh…that’s quite a different smell now. It’s sweeter, less pungent. Your manure will have significantly darkened, and it will be much more fragile. Apply 2 parts soil and 1 part manure compost to your garden.

 

Congratulations! You did it. Composting chicken manure takes time and patience, but the rewards are well worth the wait. Backyard chickens produce perfectly substantial manure for compost. Not only will your stomach be happy with eggs and meat, but even your garden’s plants and vegetables will thrive. But you have to start somewhere- we’d love to show you our hen house offerings. Made my hand in Lancaster, PA.

 

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