Chicken manure

ClareBroommaker's picture

I'm involved in a three way trade of labor for organic material for egg cartons. I'm the one contributing the egg cartons and it occurs to me that where there is need for egg cartons, there is chicken shit. I might like to complicate the deal by asking for some of it.

My only exposure to C.S. in a garden was in my in-laws' steamy Florida garden. Their sandy soil needed constant nutrient input, so they would pick up loads of C.S. from a commercial hen house. When we visited from out of town after an application directly to the soil, it smelled to high heaven!

So I'm wondering if it is even possible to use it in close urban spaces without the neighbors wanting to run me out on a rail. The guy who has the chickens in his back yard doesn't seem to have any problem, but maybe he cleans it up (and disposes of it where?) twice a day. I have not seen his set up, but I've been by his place and his yard is tiny, so I don't think he's using it for his own plants.

I'd envision very thinly spreading the C.S. and whatever straw or leaves it is on across the surface of the garden rather than composting it. I know it is very high nitrogen. What do you think? Can I get by with that without hurting the neighbors' noses and stomachs?

Blueberry's picture

I love the stuff what I can get is from big chickens houses and is a mix of CS and very fine wood chips. When the weather is cool below 70F( 21C) no problems. Now I am talking 1-10 tons (880KG-8800KG) think I got the math right. This would be a good time of year for getting CS in North America. The nitrogen content will be app 1.5%-3%. source Fertile Soil by Robert Parnes , PhD. Nice find on the CS!!!!!!

alice's picture

It's possible to get chicken manure pellets from garden centres here in England, people use it as a nitrogen source for their gardens. It's commercial waste which is processed and standardised and ready to use on the garden, I have used this before I started on Solomon/Reinheimer's complete organic fertilizer method using oilseedmeal, it didn't smell a lot to me.

Maybe if you turn the C.S. under right away and then mulch heavily with dead leaves or straw or something? A family one street over keep a pen of chickens and I've never noticed any odor but then I can't smell anything anyway.

Teresa from Hershey

alice's picture

I think when it's first disposed of it's going to be too 'hot' for the garden, like uncomposted cow manure. I used to put the chicken manure in the compost heap when I had hens. It activated the compost heap and made it compost effectively and then I put the finished compost on the garden. A well managed compost heap oughtn't to smell too bad.

Tude's picture

I second the recommendation of composting it. We have a friend with urban chickens, in a very small space. He lines his coop with shavings, then cleans and puts it in a compost heap. We go over there and fill 5 gallon buckets with the nicely composted chicken manure. I typically leave it in the buckets and add it to old soil, leaves, etc and use it all over the yard. By the time it's composted it doesn't smell at all.

Perhaps you could talk with the chicken owner about composting the chicken poop if you agree to pick it up?