Ask a Question forum: Chicken manure and hay

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Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
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Anderwood
Apr 28, 2014 11:42 AM CST
Hi. I received some left overs from cleaning out the chicken coop from a friend. Should I let this compost some more, or can I put it right on the vege garden?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Apr 28, 2014 1:06 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Definitely let it compost. I've experimented with using chicken litter that hasn't aged, and it literally killed my plants. Moreover, the area I added the litter to refused to allow anything to grow at all. A year later, that spot finally grew weeds and I knew it was ready for use!

Pile that litter somewhere and do add other material to it to help the composting process. Grass clippings, leaves, the usual. Next year it'll be a really good addition for your garden.
Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Anderwood
Apr 28, 2014 2:18 PM CST
Thanks! Is it because it is too nitrogen rich?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Apr 28, 2014 4:30 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

The high nitrogen in fresh manure is definitely the primary problem with using it straight away like that. Thumbs up
Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Anderwood
Apr 30, 2014 9:32 AM CST
What if I mix it in with some almost finished compost in my compost bin. How long should I wait to use it then?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Apr 30, 2014 9:34 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

If it was me, I'd wait the same time regardless. The other reason being: there may be pathogens in fresh manure, and aging it gives those pathogens a time to die.
Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Anderwood
Apr 30, 2014 9:35 AM CST
Thanks! I definitely should have waited to do anything with it until I asked on here. Last night I mixed it in my compost.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Apr 30, 2014 9:37 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I wouldn't use it on vegetables. Sparingly on ornamentals. @Horseshoe may have some extra thoughts, if he's around at the moment. Smiling
Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Anderwood
Apr 30, 2014 9:44 AM CST
Ok. It is not much. I can probably sift most of it out and spread over a large area of ornamentals I have.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Apr 30, 2014 11:29 AM CST
I am sure Dave's advice is correct. However I routinely spread chicken manure mixed with shavings directly on my roses - on top of the rather thick layer of assorted mulch. Apparently by the time the manure filters down to the roots, all the bad is gone.
Porkpal
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Apr 30, 2014 1:16 PM CST
"I wouldn't use it on vegetables. Sparingly on ornamentals. @Horseshoe may have some extra thoughts, if he's around at the moment."

Ditto what Dave said. It's not just the too-much-nitrogen but also the potential pathogens that might carry over on your veggies, especially those veggies where we eat the foliage (lettuces, greens, chard, onions, etc.) So yes, enjoy the moment(s) and let that poop age a bit, it'll do ya justice. (The only manure I put directly into the garden w/out composting is rabbit.)

Shoe
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Apr 30, 2014 2:41 PM CST
One thing - by mixing it with almost finished compost, you've inoculated the fresh poop with huge numbers of microorganisms that specialize in digesting compost and each other.

You probably speeded up the rate at which pathogens are consumed, at least somewhat.
Name: joseph wittenberg
high desert (Zone 8b)
Permaculture Region: California
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grizzlyjoe
Apr 30, 2014 4:33 PM CST
Weirdly I was just reading the small scale poultry flock and just finished the chapter where he talked about using chicken manure. Pretty much he, Harvey Ussery, recommends to let the manure sit a year before using it. He uses a deep litter method though so if you put it in your compost that was up to temp I bet you could get it going a lot quicker.

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