Organic and NPK fertilizer making machines

Composting Chicken Manure

Chickens Produce Eggs and Manure

Your chicken produces an egg every 24 hours and it is wonderful to have your own home-produced fresh eggs.  Your average size hen also produces 1 cubic foot of manure every six months.  What are you doing with this?   Manure simply can’t continue to accumulate in your coop.  It stinks, attracts rodents and flies, and the ammonia is not healthy for your chickens to breath.

Benefits of Chicken Manure

Don’t despair; manure can be one of the greatest assets for a home gardener!  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

 Information about the components of composting:  Carbon (browns – your coop bedding), Nitrogen (greens – your chicken manure), air, moisture, volume, and temperature.   Here are some recommendations to get you started using chicken manure in your compost pile:

Collect manure and bedding.  Chicken owners normally use bedding such as shavings, sawdust, dry leaves, or straw to provide a dry cushion for chickens and to control odor and pests.  The coop bedding can be collected with the manure and dumped into a composting bin.  Some owners prefer to pick manure and soiled bedding out of the coop on a daily basis; others will add new bedding over droppings and collect on a less frequent basis.

Carbon to Nitrogen balance.  A combination of 30 parts Carbon to 1 part Nitrogen creates the ideal environment for microbes to break down organic material to produce compost.  When combining coop bedding and chicken manure how do you achieve the ideal C: N ratio. Since the different beddings have their own C: N ratio, the proportion of bedding to manure will vary depending on the type of bedding used.  To keep things simple most composters follow the general rule of 1 part brown to 2 parts green.  However, because chicken manure is so high in Nitrogen you may be more successful using a 1:1 or even a 2:1 mixture.



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