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Chicken Manure Question

Wesley Chapel, FL(Zone 9a)

I have a lead on chicken manure. I asked the guy if it was composted, and he said "No, it's dried".

Anybody know what this means? He said it can be used directly on plants, but he's trying to sell his manure.

Will dry manure burn plants?

Thanks for your input.


Hahira, GA(Zone 8b)

I would think it would burn your plants. I would add in ratio not more than 1:4 manure to potting soil to try it, or make "tea" to fertilize with. Maybe someone with more chicken poo experience will chime in! Samantha

Raleigh, NC

the only thing I know about guano (droppings of birds) is that it's HOT. high in acid. so yes, it's been known to burn tender roots.

I might use it to top dress existing plants in very small ratios. wouldn't use it on seedlings.

And it's always been highly sought after. It used to be 3 times the price of cow manure in the pacific northwest when I lived there. haven't seen it available here. when I asked why it was so expensive, I was told you only use about a 1/3 as much as you would cow manure.

Wesley Chapel, FL(Zone 9a)

Thanks for chiming in. I think I'll pass on it.

I have plenty of old, composted goat manure. I'd have to pay for the chicken manure.

Goat will do it for me.


Des Moines, IA(Zone 5a)

If nothing else they say chicken manure will cure chapped lips, It won't cure the chapped lips but it will kleep you from licking them...

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

That got a disgusted grin outta me. Bravo.

Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Roseman: Yuck!

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

Here's another series of questions on chicken manure: My friend is changing her bedding this weekend so I know that it will be fresh and hot. From research, it seems that the earliest that I can use this will be 6 months. I'm wondering if I should leave the manure in a container by itself (in which case I would need to buy another) or incorporate small amounts in my leaf compost? The problem that I see is if I add the manure, then I wont be able to use it this summer. Perhaps I could just add some leaf compost to the manure, and then let that age over the summer, and then add the whole shebang to the compost in the fall?. Is there a better way to handle this?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Is it disease microbes that make you wait six months? If so, then couldn't one just help it get really hot (165 F) and mix a few times and pretty much kill them? Then mix with leaves to use up the rest of the N.
It should get your leaf compost going well. I would possibly as you said mix it with some leaves for the summer, but expect it to be done enough to use as a top dressing or amendment in the fall.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I think the 6 month thing is because when it's fresh it's very hot. But I ran out of compost this spring, when putting it on my garden rows, so we cleaned out the henhouse and used that for the last few areas. By the time I go to plant my tomatoes in it I figure it'll be okay, and a lot of the manure in the bedding was very old anyway, and well mixed with pine shavings.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Just saying, that if you want microbes to succumb to the natural soil organisms, that's one thing, but if you're concerned about too much N, well you can dilute, use in leafy compost, or spread it really thin.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

You could just bury it someplace that doesn't have any plants you're planning to use for food.

Raleigh, NC

I don't know - fresh chicken manure is supposedly hot enough to burn the roots off of just about anything.

think I'd compost it, cut down the possibility of it damaging any plants. but I'd love to have this problem, too.

I fetch horse manure from a stable. usually it's about a month old. unfortunately, this stable uses straw and it doesn't compost as fast. [sawdust mixed in composts FAST] I pile it in a pile two feet deep in the front yard in very slight depression in the middle of several trees where grass won't grow. it actually helps with weed control there. when it's down to one foot deep, or about six months, we load it into barrows and go around top dressing the beds.

I start piling at one end of the area, about 40 ft long, and I go back to that same area when we start using it. about the time we've used the first ten feet or so, we need to start the first end of the pile over again. so there's a moving gap in the pile, and we have manure when we need it. Haven't heard any complains from the trees, and if we don't dig the last inch because they've reached up to claim it, well, they were looking poorly anyway.

here's a photo "pot garden" from last fall - out there in the middle of the trees, beyond the line of pots, is the manure pile. you can't really see it can you? you can't smell it either except on the days I add to it. there's a stack of newspapers out there just at the edge of the pile. sorry, with the leaves you really can't see much

Hurricane Fran downed the trees that once stood there, and that area was pocked with depressions and ground level stumps that tripped me. I got the idea to put the manure there because someone told me fresh manure piled over stumps made them decay 4 times faster, and I was tired of tripping!

Thumbnail by bonjon
McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

Wow, Bonjon, it looks like you have plenty of room.

Yes, Sally, you hit the nail on head. There was a thread recently that I was looking at where someone used chicken manure in their vegetable garden - it wasn't fresh, but apparently it hadn't composted enough either. The gardener said that she had the largest tomatoes ever that year, but everyone got sick because of the bacteria in the manure - similiar to the problems with the spinach and E. Coli recently.

I am not planning to use this for fruit or vegetables, but I do want to make sure that I can safely use it in the garden. That thread was the reason that I was researching when I could safely use the manure. I think that I may let it sit by itself for a while and age, but add small amounts at a time into the regular compost. A small amount may be enough of a boost to speed up my compost.

I wouldn't even have this challenge if it wasn't free.

This message was edited Apr 3, 2009 12:52 PM


Free is always the best price. Chicken or any foul is hot stuff. Composting ratios may be as high as ten to one and it will still be strong enough to do the composting. Once composted with the process being complete it will be compost and safe as any compost to use anywhere.

The only gardening big mistake I ever made was to scatter chicken manure about half an inch thick early in my Spring. Lordy Lordy I was over nitrated something terrible. The following year we had a great garden without anything but a cover crop being tilled in that spring. I had more growing trouble with that error than a one armed paper hanger with crabs.

I have since figured out that a five gallon bucket full of chicken will fertilize about a thousand square feet of garden when placed into the soil in the fall and followed with a cover crop. By Spring that will cook up a good soil and grow for anyone. Two buckets full is just flat out pushing your luck. Be careful with foul poop.

Raleigh, NC

foul poop ROTHLMBO

you mean fowl poop?


Oh yes yet another boo boo..........I was thinking and giggling to myself looking for a place to sneak in the line. Chicken always leaves a fowl taste in my mouth.

I'm soon to be seventy four. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it. My assumed boo boo handicap is two a day on the good days.....more on the bad.

Raleigh, NC

oh I loved it - have a DH that's quite the punster. he would have made 12 new jokes out of that line!

Highland, IL

I had to check out this post because we do have a couple of chickens and I was wondering about all of this. I throw all of it in an area that I have partly fenced around, it was suppose to be a garden. But the weeds and grass kept taking over and the the rabbits, so I have been throwing the poo over there but have not planted anything there. Planning on working and tossing more into it this year. I'm glad I have read this.

And by the way, my grandma who was raised on a chicken farm in KY, always said "they call it foul for a reason"!! So your jokes just had me cracking up. Nice to think about her today too.

Laura H

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