Chicken poop, or manure, is a natural and effective fertilizer to use in the garden. Like other animal manures, it is a longstanding ingredient for plant growth and nurturing plants for hundreds of years.
Chicken poop contains a variety of nutrient sources necessary for successful plant growth. It contains valuable nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which bring vital power to your soil. More on “What is NPK?”
Understanding the proper use of chicken poop fertilizer can revitalize your plants and increase your gardening success
Best Plants for Chicken Poop Fertilizer
Keep in mind when using chicken manure fertilizer that fresh chicken manure is high in ammonia. This ammonia, when composted, breaks down into nitrogen. Although chicken poop contains many valuable nutrients, its star is its nitrogen content.
Chicken poop fertilizer does well with plants requiring higher levels of nitrogen.
Vegetables are among the plants that benefit greatly from more nitrogen in their soil. These include vegetables such as:
- Brussel sprouts
- Green beans
You’ll find plants that develop deep green leaves are more prone to nitrogen cravings, such as spinach listed above.
Nitrogen is, of course, vital to all plants, not only vegetables. Flowers need its rich encouragement of green growth as much as any other.
The distinction lies in some plants, especially certain vegetables because nitrogen feeds green leaves and does not give as much attention to the part of the plant that’s a flower.
If green leaves are the primary output of a plant, such as lettuce or spinach, then plenty of nitrogen in its diet should be encouraged.
When or How to Use Chicken Poop Fertilizer
First, raw chicken manure should not be applied to plants or soil. It is what we call “hot”. It contains a high amount of ammonia and will “burn” and potentially kill your plants.
Although ammonia is harmful, this chemical aids in the production of chicken manure’s most valuable gift: Nitrogen.
Compost chicken poop before using. Composting will lessen the potency of the ammonia and bring out its nitrogen strength.
Composting Chicken Manure
Before chicken poop can be applied to plants or worked into the soil, it must be composted. The composting process for chicken manure cannot be overlooked. Otherwise, the harmful toxins in the raw manure will remain as you attempt to fertilize your garden.
As such, certain composting standards must be met.
As with all compost piles, your chicken manure compost should rest on a cleared space with proper surroundings. It should be in an area that doesn’t allow water to pool inside it. Ensure it is away from food, animals, and children, as you don’t want them to interact with it.
To rid the chicken poop of its harmful pathogens, chicken manure must be kept at a temperature of 131° for fifteen days. Although these days do not need to be consecutive, this accumulative time at this temperature ensures that the pathogens will die off from the compost.
If poultry manures get too warm, this can result in good microbes also being killed, which you certainly don’t want.
As the manure piles sit in their heated glory, it should be turned five times, or once every 3-5 days. “Turning” involves a full mixing of the pile so that oxygen and various microbes can evenly distribute throughout the pile.
After the pile’s heated, it needs to cool for a few weeks to months before it can be incorporated into the soil.
The slower version of composting is allowing the chicken poop to naturally break down without temperature moderation, which can take at least 90-120 days.
Chicken poop fertilizer products can, of course, be purchased at gardening depots if that is more convenient for you, and you do not keep chickens yourself.
Using Chicken Manure Fertilizer
After the manure composts well into plant fertilizer, also called chicken litter, it can be worked into the soil around plants to boost its nitrogen content, as well as other necessary plant-friendly nutrients.
If you have access to stable or chicken manure, use between rows or on soils that are lacking humus. Apply this type of fertilizer-mulch in fall, winter, or early spring.
Another method can be to make something called compost tea (not to be confused with your cup of Twinings). This process involves boiling off the harmful pathogens from the chicken manure and mixing the cured liquid with water. This mixture can be used to water your vegetable gardens.
Chicken poop, when properly composted, is considered the best animal manure to use as fertilizer. Some gardeners swear by it as it makes a huge difference in the quality of their garden soil.
Using it in your garden can be the tipping point to turn your garden into its most excellent form.