Ask a Question forum: Poultry Poo

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Name: PrairieGirl
Central Illinois (Zone 5a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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prairiegirl
Jul 24, 2013 3:35 PM CST
i generally let my hens make their own compost by adding grass clippings, veg, straw, etc.. to their run. After a few months of kicking it arond, can that be directly added to the base of my plants or does it need to age? Are there any particular vegetables that would not benefit from poultry compost? Thanks much!
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jul 24, 2013 5:43 PM CST
Well, I can tell you that we chopped wheat straw and put in the run with the chickens and I only let it in there a couple of weeks before I raked it out and put down as mulch without any problems.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Jul 24, 2013 5:49 PM CST

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We like to let our poultry litter get quite aged before we use it. It can be way too hot if used too early and will actually kill your plants.

What we do is clean out the coop area and leave the litter in a big pile. Then about 6 months later we will use that pile. We always have a few piles going and make a new one everytime we clean out the coop. Whenever we need chicken compost we just grab the oldest pile and off we go.

I have mixed the fresh litter in with my regular compost (using a tumbler) and it worked very well.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Jul 24, 2013 5:53 PM CST
I was probably safe because there probably wasn't much litter in the straw, most of it ends up in the trays in the coop. That gets put in a big pile to sit for months, turning it with the bucket a couple of times.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Jul 24, 2013 7:14 PM CST
I haven't yet solve the dog-rolling-in-poo problem, so we're just dumping ours out back. The dog still finds it occasionally. Pee-Yew.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Jul 24, 2013 7:25 PM CST
Yeah, I don't think you'll ever solve that one!
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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chelle
Jul 24, 2013 8:19 PM CST
Welcome! to ATP, prairiegirl.

First, I'd suggest that you choose an expendable test subject; three different types would be even better. The thirteenth marigold that you don't know what to do with, the seventh tomato when you really only need six, a volunteer melon of unknown parentage, or even just a big broad-leaf weed that's easy to see and keep track of. Practice your test mixes on these plants first, and possibly at two or three times your planned frequency of use. You should know fairly quickly if a particular mix is safe to use on the rest of your plants.

Fresh manure shouldn't be applied to fruits or leaves that are to be consumed of course, but if that's not an issue and you run low on aged compost you can make a "tea". I usually use about a quarts-worth of poultry droppings to four spades-full of horse (but you can use whatever is handy for you) and dump it in the largest tub you can find -say 20+ gallons or larger, then fill with water. Cover with tulle or fine screen to keep the bugs out and let it sit and age for a week or two (or longer if you have the time). A daily stirring might also help to speed things up a bit and may even sweeten it faster, but I rarely remember to do it.

As you use your solution you can refill the tub with water repeatedly, as needed, until it starts to clear or look a bit thin. Then just add materials to start it all over again.

Treated plants in a new bed:

Thumb of 2013-07-25/chelle/ec629d



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Name: PrairieGirl
Central Illinois (Zone 5a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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prairiegirl
Jul 24, 2013 9:56 PM CST
Great idea/perspective! Whats the benefit of aged tea vs diluted manure?
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
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chelle
Jul 25, 2013 5:16 AM CST
Safety. Really fresh diluted poultry manure may cause damage to plants. It's safer to let the first chemical reactions of break-down take place in a tub, rather than in the root-zone. Smiling
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jul 25, 2013 12:25 PM CST
I wish I had chickens but as much as I like them they are not allowed. Have to use common compost for the garden.
Name: Theresa Maris
Bowling Green,KY (Zone 6b)
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tgarden711
Jul 25, 2013 12:26 PM CST
Good question! I always wondered how to use chicken poo. Welcome!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Jul 26, 2013 5:13 PM CST
Also, if manure steeps in aerated water, the oxygen encourages beneficial bacteria (and maybe other microbes) to multiply. Then spraying them on soil and leaves builds up the population of desirable microbes over that of harmful microbes.

Like re-inoculating soil and plant surfaces with desirable microbes at the same time that you feed them.

I was just thinking that if one had an irrigation system on a timer, you could snap the cap off a jet sprayer so that the water all came out in one tiny, fast jet. Aim that down into the big tub so that the jet shoots bubbles down through the water and keeps it aerated.

Alternatively, keep a gallon jug or scoop made from a laundry detergent jug near the tub, and intend to scoop and stir it a little each time you pass. (Then forget to!)

It's nice that the degree of aeration of any batch of compost tea is self-indicating: if it really stinks BAD like an over-used outhouse, it is probably somewhat anaerobic. That can be actively bad for root hairs since alcohols and acids build up. If it smells more like strong compost, it's probably plenty aerated.

Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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gingin
Jul 27, 2013 1:37 PM CST
Bonehead said:I haven't yet solve the dog-rolling-in-poo problem, so we're just dumping ours out back. The dog still finds it occasionally. Pee-Yew.


Amen to that. Used to live on the same road as a chicken farm...dogs were in hog heaven...chicken poo heaven??...come spring when they fertilized the fields.
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.

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