how to use chicken manure in the garden

how to use chicken manure in the garden


Elevating chickens at house is making a comeback. Whereas a hen can produce an egg each 24 hours, the common hen produces one thing else in abundance, one cubic foot of manure each six months (Anderson, 2010). With a couple of hen, this quickly provides as much as a major quantity of manure that needs to be managed. It might’t proceed to gather within the coop, or it is going to hurt the chickens.

Raising chickens

You're reading: how to use chicken manure in the garden

Elevating chickens at house has elevated in recognition. (photograph: W. Hanson-Mazet)

What does a house owner, significantly one who lives in an city atmosphere, do with all that manure? The reply is to make use of it as a soil modification or fertilizer.

Nevertheless, uncooked hen manure can burn and harm crops. It ought to be composted or aged prior to make use of. As well as, uncooked manure can include pathogens that may hurt folks and animals. If composting is completed correctly, the method destroys disease-causing organisms, making hen manure secure to make use of round crops, folks and pets.


What comes out of a hen coop isn’t merely fecal matter. It additionally consists of urine, feathers, undigested meals and coop bedding materials. Composting decomposes these supplies right into a type that’s good for crops.


Composted hen manure supplies a slow-release supply of macro- and micronutrients and acts as a soil modification. In comparison with different manures, hen manure and the related litter are increased in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and calcium, and are additionally wealthy in natural matter (Zublena, 1993). Addition of natural matter to soils will increase a soil’s water-holding capability, improves aeration and drainage, reduces erosion, reduces fertilizer leaching and improves a soil’s construction.

Moreover, natural matter supplies a meals supply for soil microbes, which will increase soil organic range, accelerating the breakdown of natural vitamins into kinds extra available to crops. All of those elements can enhance plant well being (Rosen, 2005).

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The usage of composted manure and litter may also cut back the necessity to apply further fertilizers.


Like different animal wastes, hen manure and litter could harbor pathogens, corresponding to E. coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium and others. To cut back threat to people and pets, correct dealing with and precautions are essential. Stockpiled manure ought to be saved in a protected space the place youngsters, pets and livestock should not have entry.

Earlier than making use of manure or litter to the backyard, it ought to be composted or aged.

Correct composting will generate temperatures of 140 F to 160 F, which is sufficient to kill most human and animal pathogens, corresponding to E. coli and Salmonella (Griffiths, 2011).

Getting older the manure and litter solely reduces populations of disease-causing microbes by offering unfavorable rising situations that trigger them to die off progressively as a result of modifications in moisture content material, temperature and nutrient availability. Pathogens will not be actively killed by getting older, however as an alternative are inhibited from reproducing, which ends up in a sluggish decline of the inhabitants.

Whether or not composted or aged, manure ought to be utilized no later than 90 days prior to reap of non-ground-contact crops corresponding to trellised tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers; and no later than 120 days prior to reap of ground-contact crops corresponding to lettuce, strawberries and carrots (Rosen, 2005).


When planning easy methods to deal with hen manure and litter, one should think about the storage necessities wanted. The dimensions of the storage space will rely upon the quantity of litter produced, however ought to all the time be remoted from youngsters, animals and rain. Liquid runoff shouldn’t be allowed to face or pool and the pile ought to drain effectively to stop disagreeable odors and the buildup of disease-causing organisms (Griffiths, 2005). Moreover, the storage space shouldn’t be situated the place runoff might contaminate vegetable gardens, edible crops or youngsters’s’ play areas.

A laying hen will produce a few cubic foot (about 7.5 gallons) of litter each six months, which suggests a flock of 10 hens, will produce about three-quarters of a cubic yard per yr. If saved, this may create a pile that’s about 3 ft lengthy, 3 ft broad and a couple of ft excessive. Nevertheless, composting or getting older will cut back this quantity by about half over time.

Composting and Getting older

Rooster litter is excessive in nitrogen, and could be composted in about 5 to 6 weeks. Composting “cools” the manure and litter materials, that means it reduces the ammonia content material so it is going to now not burn crops. It additionally reduces the overall quantity, weight and odor of the pile. Moreover, composting stabilizes vitamins enabling a sluggish, long-term launch over just a few years. Lastly, the temperatures generated within the composting course of will kill most pathogens and weed seeds.

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In residential areas, odors attributable to manure piles can shortly turn into a nuisance to each the hen proprietor and surrounding neighbors, if not correctly managed. Foul odors often happen when the inside of a pile has an insufficient provide of oxygen, permitting the proliferation of microbes liable for disagreeable, sewage-like smells. When composting, satisfactory pile drainage should be maintained and the pile turned weekly to introduce oxygen. A well-managed compost pile ought to have an “earthy” scent, like good potting soil.

If a compost pile can’t be turned every week, a greater method could also be to dry out and age the manure earlier than including it to a pile.

Eradicating the moisture from the manure inhibits microbial development and decomposition, stopping the related smells. Every time a coop is cleaned, the manure could be thinly unfold on a tarp or different impermeable floor to dry within the solar, earlier than including it to the pile. The drying pile ought to be shielded from precipitation or different water sources, or decomposition (and odors) could happen.

Security Suggestions

  • Solely apply composted or aged manure to soil, until it’s utilized the autumn earlier than planting.
  • All the time put on gloves when dealing with manure.
  • Wash uncooked greens totally earlier than consuming.
  • People who find themselves prone to foodborne sicknesses ought to keep away from consuming raw greens from manure-amended gardens. Those that face dangers from foodborne sickness embody pregnant ladies, younger youngsters and individuals with most cancers, kidney failure, liver illness, diabetes or AIDS (Anderson, 2010).


“Poultry manure, correctly dealt with, is probably the most invaluable of all manures produced by livestock” (Mitchell and Donald, 1995). When a household raises chickens, they’ve a prepared provide of brown gold from composted or aged manure to profit their backyard and panorama crops.


Anderson, E. 2010. Utilizing manure, together with hen manure, as compost. Neighborhood Horticulture Reality Sheet #25. Washington State College. Seattle, WA.

Griffiths, N. 2011. Finest observe tips for utilizing poultry litter on pastures. Primefact 534. Division of Business Improvement, Agriculture & Forestry. New South Wales, Australia. [Online] Obtainable at: NSW.

Mitchell, C. C. and Donald, J. O. 1995. The worth and use of poultry manures as fertilizer. Round ANR-244. Alabama A & M and Auburn Universities. Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Rosen, C. J.and Bierman, P. M. 2005. Utilizing manure and compost as nutrient sources for fruit and vegetable crops. Round M1192. Division of Soil, Water and Local weather. College of Minnesota Extension. [Online] Obtainable at: UMN.

Zublena J. P., Barker J. C., Carter T. A. 1993. Poultry manure as a fertilizer supply. Publication AG-439-5. North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

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