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A huge pile chicken manure — The Grow Network Community
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A huge pile chicken manure

FoodgardenguyFoodgardenguy CanadaPosts: 106 ✭✭✭
edited September 2019 in Composting & Soil Fertility

Hello everyone,

I found a Amish source locally to me that is throwing out a huge amount of chicken manure. I've never had this opportunity before. I've sprinkled some over our garden in the fall, and various applications for composting.

However, now that we have this source, I'm looking for ways to use it to make a lot more live soils. It comes at the right time, because we are short of greens.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Our largest source of browns is woodchips, and we can get loads of it as well. Has any one just tried putting chicken manure in woodchips to break it down faster? If so, I shall appreciate your feedback and details of what to do and look out for.

Thank you in advance!


  • Bear in mind chicken poop is a "hot" manure with high amounts of ammonia (chickens don't urinate they just send it all out together). Composted it is a great source of nitrogen but put much on without composting and it will burn your plants. Put with some straw or leaves and turned every few weeks to help release some of the ammonia and in six months minimum, one year better you have a very rich compost to side dress and/or put down in the bottom of the hole when you transplant. How does everyone else work with the fresh chicken manure?

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Foodgardenguy - re the question: "putting chicken manure in woodchips to break it down faster?"

    Because science knowledge is speeding up with every second, & via the internet that knowledge is gained fast too, it's understandable that the general public wants everything just as fast, if not faster... Like the thread that was posted about making (supposedly) compost in "only 3 hours". Not.

    Have you ever Noticed that nature, as in Intelligent wisdom takes her sweet time, getting things done. Why? Because she does everything the Right way. - This wisdom includes the making of compost, the purpose of which is to create... Healthy soil. >Fertile soil looks & feels like black cottage cheese<. - How fast do you think you could get this kind of healthy soil, from from whatever size mountain of wood chips, & burning chicken manure ?

  • HassenaHassena Posts: 303 ✭✭✭


    Chicken manure and wood chips sounds like a recipe for compost! High thick carbon of the chips with the hot manure of chickens. "YUM!" says the microbes.

    Happy growing.

  • FoodgardenguyFoodgardenguy CanadaPosts: 106 ✭✭✭

    Hello @Hassena ! Thank you so much for chiming in. YES!! I tried it out last year, and boy did I get the richest decomposed woodchips ever. I put it all around the fruit trees and they were all growing very nicely until we got another plague of Japanese beetles again like last year.

    It's been a big battle...but not as bad as last year, since we planted a lot more flowers this year.

    I've been trying to find some Neem oil and milky spores here in Canada, but no success. We have to order it from the US which I understand would be prohibited.

    In the mean time, I've gone in early mornings when it is cold and put a tarp underneath the tree. Then I shake different branches which cause the beetles to fall like raindrops. Because they are cold they simply lie on the tarp, where I can simply funnel them into a bucket of soapy water where they drown.

  • HassenaHassena Posts: 303 ✭✭✭

    That's a great idea @Foodgardenguy

    I might shake our fruit trees, and feed the chickens. =) I might freeze the beetles for a few minutes to slow them down for the birds.

    Probably the happiest fruits around.

  • Karen luihnKaren luihn Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    I love your idea of dealing with the Japanese beetles! They haven’t hit us this year yet (zone 7b) but I will be prepared! Thank you!

  • Karen luihnKaren luihn Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    I am trying to compost chicken manure as well. We just got our first chickens a few months ago so this is great info. Thanks!

  • AngelaOstonAngelaOston Posts: 189 ✭✭✭

    Worm composting has been faster than the usual mix browns and greens. Also you may want to look at aerated compost teas to speed up the breakdown.

  • FoodgardenguyFoodgardenguy CanadaPosts: 106 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2020

    @Megan Venturella.

    You have the ideal setup. It's where I eventually want to be.

    Woodchips keep the place clean, absorbs the smell. At the same time the chicken manure decomposes it, attracts all sorts of insects and worms, which becomes more food for the chickens. They till it as you say. Then you can just scrap off the top after a season and use the layer beneath for compost!

    @AngelaOston, I agree with the worm composting and aerated teas completely.

    @Karen luihn. Just a tidbit to watch out for. Chicken manure can burn hot, as it's very high in nitrogen. If your decomposing it in a pile, make sure it has enough air. I had to turn my pile a few times to keep it from going anaerobic and getting too hot. My pile went up to 160 F. Moisture is also important.

    In regards to Japanese beetles, I found out that they are very resilient. After putting them in soapy water, I thought they were dead after a day. I buried them into the ground. One of my children told me that some of them were crawling out ! That really surprised me. It's quite possible that the ones on the surface were resting on floating debris. I thought the soap suds would take care of it, bit it did not. They have to be completely submerged.

  • HassenaHassena Posts: 303 ✭✭✭

    That’s awesome! @Megan Venturella

    we also use the deep litter method and our chicken coop. It’s so much nicer than raking the coop out once a week. And the compost from it is amazing!

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 736 admin

    Yes! It's great as a "green" in your compost, but it'll kill your plants if you put it on before it has a chance to break down. I'd think that if you can get it in the fall, combine it with a bunch of wood chips, and let it sit until the spring, you'd probably be okay. Giving the wood chips a chance to break down before adding them to your garden will also keep them from stealing nitrogen from your soil as they break down -- so, win/win.

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 736 admin

    @Hassena and @Megan Venturella -- another person here who uses the deep litter method. My husband built me a raised coop with big barn doors that open directly onto our garden. (We opted to raise the coop to provide our chickens with additional space under the coop for those times when predator pressure or weather, etc., keep them in the run.)

    So, once a year (on a fall morning, after the growing season but before winter really sets in), I just open those barn doors and push everything out into the garden with a flat shovel. Then I scrub out the coop, let it dry, and put down a bunch of wood shavings + diatomaceous earth, and let the chickens back in.

    I add more wood shavings on top of the old ones every few months, just to keep things fresh, and also give the chickens their treats (sunflower seeds, cracked corn occasionally in winter, etc.) in the coop so they'll help me keep the litter turned. No smell in there at all, and cleaning out the coop once per year is a workload I can handle!

  • marcy_northlightsfarmmarcy_northlightsfarm Posts: 103 ✭✭✭

    Yes I think you will make wonderful compost with the chicken manure and wood chips, what a great find. I also let my chickens make their own compost. I give them all our food scraps and they eat what they want and the rest gets mixed in by them. I let the litter get deep in my coop this way and it never gets that strong ammonia smell.

  • Gil MontanoGil Montano Posts: 39 ✭✭✭

    It is very important that the chicken fertilizer is left to rest in the sun for at least a month because otherwise it will burn the crops due to the heat generated by the high content of nutrients and salts y ammonia contained in the chicken excreta.

  • ThomasThomas Posts: 81 ✭✭✭

    @Foodgardenguy I use wood chips myself for composting with chicken manure. If I have grass I throw that in also. As everyone says, it is hot right out of the oven, but once composted down, it is a great resource for your garden.

  • FoodgardenguyFoodgardenguy CanadaPosts: 106 ✭✭✭

    @Thomas, @Gil Montano

    The chicken manure I had obtained from the Amish was actually mixed in with a lot of corn feed. Once the manure dried, I discovered I could shovel a full scoop of the corn/manure and mix it well in a wheelbarrow with soil before spreading it in our garden for extra nitrogen. The leafy greens especially loved it! Corn kernels has a lot of nitrogen in it as well.

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