Using Chicken Manure Fertilizer In Your Garden

When it comes to manures, there is none more desired for the vegetable garden than chicken manure. Chicken manure for vegetable garden fertilizing is excellent, but there are some things you need to know about it in order to use it correctly. Keep reading to learn more about chicken manure compost and how to use it in the garden.

Using Chicken Manure for Vegetable Garden Fertilizer

Chicken manure fertilizer is very high in nitrogen and also contains a good amount of potassium and phosphorus. The high nitrogen and balanced nutrients is the reason that chicken manure compost is the best kind of manure to use.

But the high nitrogen in the chicken manure is dangerous to plants if the manure has not been properly composted. Raw chicken manure fertilizer can burn, and even kill plants. Composting chicken manure mellows the nitrogen and makes the manure suitable for the garden.

Composting Chicken Manure

Chicken manure composting gives the manure time to break down some of the more powerful nutrients so that they are more usable by the plants.

Composting chicken manure is simple. If you have chickens, you can use the bedding from your own chickens. If you do not own chickens, you can locate a farmer who owns chickens and they will most likely be happy to give you the used chicken bedding.

The next step in chicken manure composting is to take the used bedding and put it into a compost bin. Water it thoroughly and then turn the pile every few weeks to get air into the pile.

It takes about six to nine months, on average, for chicken manure compost to be done properly. The exact amount of time it takes for composting chicken manure depends on the conditions under which it is composted. If you are uncertain how well your chicken manure has been composted, you can wait up to 12 months to use your chicken manure compost.

Once you have finished chicken manure composting, it is ready to use. Simply spread the chicken manure compost evenly over the garden. Work the compost into the soil with either a shovel or a tiller.

Chicken manure for vegetable garden fertilizing will produce excellent soil for your vegetables to grow in. You will find that your vegetables will grow bigger and healthier as a result of using chicken manure fertilizer.

Product reviewsVitax 6x 8 Kg Pelleted Chicken Manure Organic Fertiliser

Fantastic all round ferilizer

This manure is very high in nitrogen, so if you want anything to grow a bit faster, this product will do it. I use it mainly on my lawn with nearly instant results. I have a good quality lush lawn and I wait until rain is due and apply the fertilizer the day before.
As the description states this comes in pellet form, and I find the pellets take a while to break down and dissolve into the soil. My grass is overdue to be cut and the pellets can still be seen on the lawn surface. If I cut the grass I can see the fertilizer being sucked into my mower, obviously wasting my money. To solve this I now grind the pellets into smaller pieces or powder and that enables the pellets to be washed in much faster and I get super quick results.
It works well in flower borders and veg patch as well, but I do not grind down , just use it as it comes. Absolutely great value for money and I would not hesitate to recommend as a great all round fertilizer.Read full review…

Verified purchase: Yes | Condition: new | Sold by: brooksidenurser…

Westland Organic Chicken Manure Pellets – 10kg Bucket


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Manure is a valuable soil amendment for home gardens.

Animal manure is a valuable soil amendment for home gardens. It not only supplies primary nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and micronutrients for plant growth, but also is a source of organic matter. Increasing soil organic matter improves soil structure, increases the water holding capacity of sandy soils, improves drainage in clay soils, provides a source of slow release nutrients, and promotes growth of beneficial soil organisms. These manures used as fertilizers are typically from herbivores (i.e. plant-eating animals), such as cows, sheep, chickens, etc. (Never use cat, dog or pig manure in vegetable gardens or compost piles.)

The amount of nitrogen in and manure depends on many factors, including the type of animal it came from.

The nitrogen in manure is not available all at once to growing plants as much of it may be tied up in organic forms. Organic nitrogen becomes available to plants only after soil microorganisms decompose the organic compounds, converting the released N to NH4, which occurs over a period of years. The actual amount of this conversion varies considerably depending on the animal it came from, any bedding materials with it, temperature, moisture content, and handling. In general, about 30% to 50% of the organic nitrogen becomes available the first year, and the amount gradually decreases thereafter.

Fresh manure

Fresh poultry manure is is particularly high in ammonia.

Fresh manure typically has high amounts of ammonium or soluble nitrogen. This results in a higher available nitrogen content compared to composted manure. Poultry manure is particularly high in ammonia and readily burns if over-applied. Because of the high amounts of ammonia-nitrogen in fresh manure, it should be incorporated 6 to 8 inches within 12 hours after application. Without incorporation much of the soluble nitrogen will be lost to the atmosphere as ammonia. If the manure is mixed in with bedding or litter this will dilute the nutrient content. If there are large amounts of straw or sawdust, nitrogen availability to plants may be lowered by increasing the C/N ratio. High carbon relative to nitrogen (greater than 25 /1) will tie up nitrogen.

Fresh horse manure often contains lots of weed seeds.

Salts in fresh manure also tend to be high — especially in chicken, turkey, or other poultry manure. To avoid salt damage, wait 3 to 4 weeks after application before planting anything in the area.

Fresh manure may contain high amounts of viable weed seeds, which can lead to a weed problem. Horse manure is notorious for this, since those animals don’t digest what they eat as well as many other animals do, and seeds pass intact through a horse’s digestive system.

Do NOT use fresh manure on vegetables, particularly root crops.

Because of the potential of transmitting human pathogens, such as E. coli, fresh manure should never be used on fruits and vegetables. If you are growing crops where the edible portion is in contact with the soil (such as carrots, beets, or potatoes) fresh manure applications should be made at least four months prior to harvest. On other edible crops, fresh manure applications should be made at least three months prior to harvest. With just a four month or so growing season, this means you should only apply fresh manure in the fall; not in the spring or during the growing season to any area that is or will be planted with food crops.

Composted manure
Composting manure eliminates some of the problems of fresh manure — including the odor. It is lighter and easier to haul since it has less moisture, and the composting process may kill weed seeds and pathogens if the pile heats above 145°F. But salts may be more concentrated and some of the nitrogen is lost, leaving the more stable organic forms. Composted manure has lower availability of nitrogen and will contribute more to the organic matter content of the soil compared to fresh manure.

Many brands of composed cow manure are available commercially.

However, unless applied at high rates, composted manure alone may not be able to supply all the nutrients for fast growing plants. It’s not as important to immediately incorporate composted manure into the soil as for fresh manure, but incorporating it in to a depth of 6 to 8 inches is recommended whenever possible to obtain the full benefit from the compost. If spread in the spring, it is best to wait a least one month before planting crops so the microbial activity it stimulates won’t interfere with seed germination.

If you have convenient access to a supply of fresh manure you can try composting it yourself, but most people just purchase bagged composted manure that is readily available in garden stores and nurseries.

Nutrient availability

Many animal manures are mixed with bedding such as wood shavings in this chicken coop.

So how much manure should you use? If you purchased bagged composted manure, the label on the package will tell you the nutrient content and application rates. If you’re dealing with buckets of fresh or aged manure from a friend’s farm, the contents of your backyard chicken coop, or a donation from a neighbor’s horse barn it may be much harder to estimate whether what you’re spreading in the garden is too much or too little or just right.

Farm animal manure varies in its nutrient content.

The nutrient content of farm manure varies considerably depending on many factors. The availability of the nutrients from the manure for plant growth will depend on the breakdown and release from of the organic components. Generally, 70 to 80% of the phosphorus and 80 to 90% of the potassium will be available from manure the first year after application. Calculating nitrogen availability is more complex as it is dependent on microbial activity to make it available for uptake.

Suggested rates of fresh manure or compost to apply to supply about 0.2 lb of available nitrogen per 100 square feet:

Manure type pounds to apply
per 100 square feet
Dairy cow no bedding 75
with bedding 95
composted 200
Sheep no bedding 40
with bedding 50
Poultry no litter 20
with bedding 30
composted 70
Horse with bedding 65

A 5 gallon bucket holds about 25 lbs of fresh manure or compost, so you can estimate how much to use without actually weighing the materials. For example, use three buckets full of dairy manure without bedding spread over a 10 by 10 foot garden to add 0.2 pounds of available nitrogen. You’d need to add 8 buckets of composted cow manure over the same size area to apply the same amount of nitrogen.

A pot of black gold at the end of the rainbow.

In most cases, manure application is based on its nitrogen content and estimated availability for the first growing season. But remember that some manure contains high levels of phosphorus, so you may end up adding way too much phosphorus as you are incorporating enough manure to meet the plant’s nitrogen demands. It is important to have your soil tested to help determine if the level of phosphorus in the soil is building up too much (in which case you probably should use a different type of fertilizer that has low or no phosphorus for a while), as well as to know if other plant nutrient needs are being met with manure alone.

Proper use of manure in the garden can supply your plants with nutrients and help improve soil structure. Adding too much manure can lead to nitrate leaching, nutrient runoff, excessive vegetative growth and, for some manures, salt damage. And using fresh manure where food crops are grown poses risks for contamination with disease-causing pathogens. In general, when using manure (other than commercially processed products) in the home garden it is best to allow it to age first for 6 months to avoid any potential problems. An ideal way to do this is to spread the manure in the fall or winter and incorporate it into the garden in the spring before planting.

– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison

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Is it possible to have too much chicken manure in your soil?

I’m currently collecting all of my chickens’ manure and putting it into my two moderately-sized compost piles. I was wondering, can you have too high of a ratio of manure-to-soil? Should I be saving and drying some as straight fertilizer instead of putting it all in to my compost? I like the simplicity of adding it all to my compost piles, but I don’t know that much about the properties of chicken manure as a fertilizer.
I free range my chickens in my backyard and have my garden area completely fenced off to protect my sprouts and more delicate plants (although I do let them in sometimes for supervised chicken-gardening hours). I was thinking that once winter rolls around and there isn’t much left in the garden, I might reverse the function of the fence and use it to keep them in the garden area so that they might fertilize it without any work from me. So again, the same question stands, is there a chance of them adding too much manure? The garden area is about 600 sq. ft., and I have five birds.
Thanks for your help,

How to spread chicken manure pellets for plant feed

There’s nothing more satisfying than tending to a strong and healthy garden, and with a little careful management and the right fertilisers you can turn your own garden into something beautiful.

Chicken manure is a great resource for home gardeners, particularly if you’re interested in planting vegetables, and in pellet form it’s safe and easy to use.

Today we’re taking a closer look at what chicken manure pellets are, what they do, and how you can use them at home.

What are chicken manure pellets?

Before we discuss why you might use chicken pellets, it’s useful to first describe what it is.

To make this fertiliser, poultry manure is dried and converted into a small, pelleted or powdered form so it can be easily integrated into the soil. It’s rich in nutrients and great for many plants, and vegetables in particular.

This is different from fresh domestic poultry litter – which is often used without additional processing for the compost heap. We’ll explain more about this distinction later on.

Why use pelleted chicken manure?

Pelleted chicken manure is among the most popular and widely available non-chemical fertilisers on the market, making it a popular choice among amateur gardeners.

It’s rich in a number of important nutrients, the main one being nitrogen, which helps promote green leafy growth in plants. It also has phosphorus and potassium; phosphorus releases slowly to promote root growth, while potassium promotes flower and helps fruits and vegetables ripen.

While fresh chicken manure is high in nitrogen, it may contain bacteria that can be harmful to humans, and is unpleasant to transport and handle. In contrast, pelleted chicken manure is sterilised when it’s manufactured, making it much simpler to use for home gardeners.

How to spread chicken pellets

Chicken pellets can be used to fertilise soil from February to November, and should be applied every 4-6 weeks during the growing season all around the garden.

For soil prep/pre-planting

Sprinkle the chicken manure pellets evenly over the soil, then mix well. After sowing seeds and planting out, water well if it’s dry weather.

During the growing season

To use during the growing season, sprinkle evenly over the soil and around any established plants. Work it into the soil gently by using a hand fork. Be careful not to disrupt any plant roots. Water thoroughly.

For established plants

Between March and August, pellets should be applied every 4-6 weeks while plants are actively growing. Mix carefully so you don’t disrupt any roots, and then water thoroughly afterwards.

Prepping soil for new plants

When you are preparing new beds and borders, you can use chicken manure pellets 7-10 days before sowing or planting new seeds. Sprinkle over the soil and mix well.

Composting chicken manure

Because it’s so high in nitrogen, chicken manure is a great natural fertiliser for plants, but if you’re not careful it can be a case of too much of a good thing. When applied directly to soil, the raw manure can burn and kill your plants rather than enrich them, which is why pellets that have been processed are, in general, better for the amateur home gardener. Always read the pack label for application instructions.

As a compost though, chicken manure can be very useful. It helps break your composted matter into soil and in the process the nitrogen will balance to a level that’s safer for your garden.

If you keep chickens you can add the bedding directly to your compost bin, or source some from a nearby farm. After adding, water thoroughly and turn the compost every few weeks to get air into the pile.

The process takes at least six months to be done properly, and can often take between 9-12 months for the soil to be ready for use. When it is ready, it can be spread evenly over the garden and worked into the soil much the same way as the dried chicken pellets.

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