How It All Started
Chicken manure composting for me came about through necessity. What with ever-increasing food price's and not to mention questionable mass agricultural growing technique's like g.m.o products. I decided to turn my hand to growing fruit and veg for my families benefit , in the beginning I used to buy all my compost and fertilizers from the garden centers and think what a wonderful job I was doing and how self suffient i had become .
Then i discovered composting and in particular chicken manure compost. I had gotten a dozen hens the previous year and had built up a large pile of straw and hen poop from the weekly cleaning of the hen-house, I knew i had to do something about this, so after a few hours of internet research i,d discovered how to make my own proper high-grade super quality fertilizer for all my growing needs and take care of my ever increasing problem.
Why You Need Compost Chicken Manure First
Composted chicken manure is arguably one of the best fertilizers for your vegetable garden. I have kept chickens now for nearly 9 years and, I have used chicken manure as a fertilizer in my poly tunnel to help grow my vegetables for just over 8 years, with some outstanding results in quality and quantity of my homegrown produce.
But before using chicken manure you need compost it down for at least 6 months, the longer the better just like a fine wine. That's because raw chicken manure is very high in nitrogen and is considered "hot." If put on your garden in its raw state it will kill or at the very least damage and burn your veggies severely, all but ruining your hard work, not to mention your harvest.
But when composted properly it will give your garden a fertilizer that has a N.P.K range of around 1.1 Nitrogen .80 Phosphorous .50 Potassium.Another important reason for composting your manure is it kills pathogens such as salmonella and e. coli that may be present in the raw manure.
A Simple Method For Great Chicken manure Fertilizer
Like most types of composting it's a very simple procedure. If like myself you are fortunate enough to own your own chickens, it's a simple case of every week when you clean them out and change the straw you put the previous weeks waste into your composting pile. If you don't have your own chickens then ask some one who does there are many chicken owners who don't avail of the manure and will be glad to have rid of their excess chicken waste, or another alternative is ask a poultry farmer most will also be glad to have rid of the excess manure. On my compost pile I also throw on grass cuttings and leaves this helps to break down the nitrogen in the raw chicken manure and adds more nutrients into the mix.
I build the compost pile up in layers ie:
- Layer of straw and manure
- Layer of grass
- Layer of leaves
- Then repeat with the straw
- And so on
I keep the compost pile moist but not wet, for me living in Ireland I find this can be a real challenge. And once a fortnight I turn the pile over with a garden fork to mix the air in and get an even break down of the raw materials. I continue this process for around 6 to 9 months, at which point the composted chicken manure will be well and truly matured and ready to go on my vegetable beds. Or I will bag the compost up into livestock feed bags for use at a later date or give away to friends to use.
Once my manure has composted down it's suitable for use straight away, it's a simple case of spreading it evenly over my vegetable beds and working it in with a garden fork. Chicken manure fertilizer conditions the soil beautifully, giving it a rich dark color that gives fantastic results year in and year out. My chickens eat the left overs of the veg garden and in return they enrich and fertilize the soil that the vegetables grow it really is a win, win situation. Happy composting.