If you are raising chickens you have chicken manure. And this manure could just be the right additive your garden needs. Especially if it helps you use up something your chickens are already producing.
Most of us don't have great topsoil anymore, and chicken fertilizer might be just the thing to fix it.
Chicken manure offers a high percentage of nitrogen and phosphate, and using forty-five pounds of composted manure in each hundred square feet of your garden will get results.
Just don't spread it on while it's fresh. You need to process your chicken fertilizer before it will work for you.
Fresh manure is too high in nitrogen, and will cause your plants to "burn". The good news is that composting chicken manure is easy.
You can actually just fold it into your compost pile with everything else. Since your average hen produces about a cubic foot of manure in six months, that's good news! Once composted, manure adds organic matter and makes the soil better at holding water. It also helps your plants grow better.
Compost manure right with the bedding. That gives you a good mix of "greens" (manure) and "browns" (bedding). Use a cellulose bedding, such as straw, dried leaves, sawdust or wood shavings to offer this balance.
Whether you clean the chicken coop daily, weekly, or less often, (deep litter method) take the bedding and manure and put it right in your pile or bin.
Be aware that droppings in the compost pile can attract dogs, so you might need to enclose it. You may need to add more straw or leaves to get the compost going properly.
Make sure the pile stays damp, and produces a hot compost pile. This is a pile of around a hundred thirty to a hundred fifty degrees.
That temperature will destroy pathogens. The pile needs to stay at that temperature for a few days - you can get a thermometer to help you track it.
Once the center has been at this temperature for three days, it will cool. This is when you need to turn it, pulling the material out of the center to the edges and from the edges to the center. Let it heat up again, and repeat this process several times.
Once you know the entire contents of the bin have heated properly, it's time to cure the compost. This will take two to three months, depending on your climate. When is your chicken fertilizer ready?
When the whole pile is odorless, dark, and crumbly, like the best dirt, it can be added to the garden. Spread it on top or work it into existing soil for excellent results. You'll grow great plants and get rid of all that excess manure.
What is the best way to dispose of chicken manure? I am composting some of it, but we have more than we can take care of in our space. We are using pine shavings in the coop, so we have those mixed in with the manure.
You could burn your manure.
If you decide to go this route there are a few steps you should follow.
1.Check with local agencies to make sure you do not violate any ordinances.
2.Make sure you burn the manure when winds are low and blowing away from your house.
3.Collect the manure on a regular basis and store in an area that gets plenty of circulation. The dryer the chicken manure the better it will burn. If the manure is too wet you may have difficulty getting it to burn. If you do get it to burn and moisture is still in the manure it will create lots of smoke.
4.Lighting a pile of chicken manure is the same as lighting the wood in your fire place. Remember to take all cautions as you would with any fire.
5.Designate an area for burning your chicken manure. It carries a number of diseases and should always be handled with caution.
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