The Q&A Archives: Ostrich Manure

Question: A friend of mine has an ostrich farm. He has offered me as
much ostrich manure as I would like for my 20x30 vegetable
garden. The offer sounds good but I need to know more about
ostrich manure. Is it okay for my garden? Will it place
many weed seeds into my garden? Will it burn the plants?
If it's okay to use, how much should I put in my 20x30 foot
garden? I have a tiller so I can till it in with no problem.

Answer: None of my reference listed the specifics of ostrich manure, but there are some general things about bird manure that most likely apply. First of all, bird manure is usually quite "hot", or high in nitrogen, and can indeed burn plant roots. I would compost it thoroughly first, before applying to the garden. Does your friend use any type of bedding such as wood shavings? If so, then this would be a good carbon source to balance the nitrogen in the manure--so if possible get the bedding too. Thorough, hot composting should take care of most weed seeds. You might do a "test" on a small section of your garden the first year to see how the plants respond. And if you are concerned, you can contact your cooperative Extension Service (ph# 315-331-8415) about testing the finished compost. I'm curious, can you raise ostriches in New York?

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