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COOP (Chicken Owners Outside Philadelphia)
COOP (Chicken Owners Outside Philadelphia)

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Chicken Manure For Composting

Don't use directly on your garden. Read these tips for composting. As our chickens are organically fed and pastured, this makes wonderful, healthful compost.

Benefits of Chicken Manure. Although chicken manure is too strong to be used raw on your flowers or vegetables, it can be composted and converted to "black gold". If used without composting it could damage roots and possibly kill your plants, however, once it is composted chicken manure is:

  • A good soil amendment, chicken manure adds organic matter and increases the water holding capacity and beneficial biota in soil.
  • A good fertilizer; chicken manure provides Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium to you plants (more than horse, cow or steer manure).

Composting Chicken Manure. Here are some recommendations to get you started using chicken manure in your compost pile:

Use a "hot compost" recipe. By combining the correct ratio of bedding and manure at one time to form a pile, approximately one cubic yard, then adding moisture (material should be about as wet as a well wrung sponge), will produce a hot pile. It is recommend that the compost pile heat to 130-150 degrees F and maintain that temperature for 3 days. Heating is necessary to destroy pathogens but temperatures above 160 degrees F can kill beneficial microorganisms and slow the process. To help you achieve appropriate temperature you can purchase a compost temperature gauge from a local nursery.

Repeat the heating process. Once the center of your compost pile has reached the required temperature for three days it will start to cool. After it cools, pull the center apart and move the core material to the edges and bring the edge material into the center to heat. For 1 cubic yard of material repeat the process of bringing edges into the core at least 3 times.

Let it cure. Monitor the pile and once you are satisfied that the entire contents of your bin has been heated, loosely cover and let cure for 45-60 days before using. It's ready when most material is dark, crumbly and sweet-smelling like soil.

Add to garden. You can add the resulting compost to your vegetable garden or flower bed by spreading it on the surface or by gently working it into existing soil.