User avatar
One2ManyHobbies
Full Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:37 am
Location: East Coast USA

Chicken Manure

Ok, so I wanted to add some fertilizer to my garden and stop using Miracle Grow because every organic book I read asserts that Miracle Grow IS OF THE DEVIL!

So I went out to hunt for "organic fertilizers" and one of the ones I found was chicken manure. ($12 for a 20lb. back of chicken poo? I feel cheated. Unfortunately I don't know anyone with a farm.) It had good numbers on the front. The bag says 3.0-2.0-3.0.

After I bought it someone tells me that it is acidic and to be careful putting too much of it on plants, especially plants that are not acid lovers. I did some reading on chicken manure fertilizer and one website said to lay it on the ground before you use to let some of the nitrogen content out because it has too much. Another said put it in a compost pile.

My question is: Because this is bagged and prepackaged, does this mean that those measures have already been taken, being left out and allowed nature to take its course? Can I mix it with a little baking soda to reduce its acidity? If the best option is to put it in the compost pile (mine is just a hole in the ground I put leaves and organic materials in), how do I then get the nutrients to the plants already planted in the garden?

Edit: Sorry, forgot to put a list of plants I would be putting this on. Geeze, you people can't read my mind?! Slackers.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, blueberries, strawberries, kung pao peppers, morning glories, a couple different sages and mints.
Last edited by One2ManyHobbies on Fri May 21, 2010 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"So much time and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it." - If you don't know who said this quote, shame on you. For those who are shamed, Willy Wonka.

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

it is most likely well-rotted. any thing else on the package?

yes fresh manure is acidic (hot) and can burn plants. But I would not be putting lots of manure on blueberries. The manure will favor bacteria, and eventually the pH has a net increase.

quick and dirty:

bacterial food (compost greens) for annuals

fungal food (compost browns) for perennials


I just mulched some strawberries. Grass clipping underneath, and well well aged/composted wood chips.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
One2ManyHobbies
Full Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:37 am
Location: East Coast USA

"manure will favor bacteria, and eventually the pH has a net increase."

Good to know.

I've done a little more reading on my own. I've seen the warnings about putting "hot" chicken manure on plants. I have also seen suggestions to make compost tea and then pour on the plants.

Whats the difference between making tea and sprinkling on top of the soil around the plants? Does some breakdown process occur during the three weeks while the manure brewing?
"So much time and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it." - If you don't know who said this quote, shame on you. For those who are shamed, Willy Wonka.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I don't do a lot of compost tea myself, but I don't think anyone usually brews it for three weeks. The people that are doing aerated compost tea with bubblers usually brew it for like 24 -36 hrs. If you are not aerating you could let it sit for a week.

But yes the compost tea making process releases a lot of the compost nutrients into a soluble easy to access form while culturing a lot of bacteria and fungi that are important for the life and bio-activity of the soil.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Dixana
Greener Thumb
Posts: 727
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:58 pm
Location: zone 4

Three weeks!? :shock: I've never seen/heard a recipe calling for three weeks brewing time and it seems like a bad bad bad idea! I accidentally left some going for three DAYS once and it turned nasty stinky.....
Where did you find this three week recipe and what does it entail?
There is an AWESOME 30 page long sticky on compost tea in the compost forum. I myself have only made it through page 12 with all the other links and such, but it's great and very incitful even if you've made teas in the past.
It might be easier for some of us folks to find where we were if someone *COUGH* webmaster *COUGH* would make it easier to get to the page we were on instead of page 3, then 5, then 7 etc.....

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5461
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

If your worried that the manure is too hot you can dilute it with 60 lbs of water this will give you a total of 80 lbs. Mix well and pour the water on the plants but not too much at one time. Mix it in a large plastic trash can and use it a little at a time during the next several weeks.

User avatar
One2ManyHobbies
Full Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:37 am
Location: East Coast USA

Thanks for all the advice.

The three weeks figure came from one of the random websites I read. This is why I like to ask people because this is not the first time I've read something off the wall on a website and then people who know more about it then I do look at me funny. Only it usually happens face to face instead of in a forum. :-P.
"So much time and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it." - If you don't know who said this quote, shame on you. For those who are shamed, Willy Wonka.

Dixana
Greener Thumb
Posts: 727
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:58 pm
Location: zone 4

OOOOOPS! I lied :oops: the ACT (compost tea) thread is actually in the organic forum, sorries :D

User avatar
One2ManyHobbies
Full Member
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:37 am
Location: East Coast USA

Dixana: lol, no worries. :-)
"So much time and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it." - If you don't know who said this quote, shame on you. For those who are shamed, Willy Wonka.

User avatar
rootsy
Green Thumb
Posts: 435
Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 1:58 pm
Location: Litchfield, Michigan

$12 for 20 lbs? holy wha.... I keep a dozen chickens and clean the coupe in the spring... 6 wheelborrow loads easily... Each about 100 lb load...

I never apply manure directly to a plant base... Always broadcast and incorporated...

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Best to compost chicken poo first, and that is what 2Many is paying for; her product is composted chicken manure (probably equal to that 100 pound wheelbaroow rootsy is collecting).

This is why we recommend composting to everyone because you are making fertility out of stuff you would usually throw away, for free...

Hit that compost forum, 2M!

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Farmer Dave
Full Member
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:15 pm
Location: California

chicken manure works great!

I have been using chicken manure for about 35 years, my chickens don't make enough so I resort to bulk or bagged chicken manure. The only problem I have with bagged manure is disposing of the bags. I use about one bag or 25 lbs on 100 sq ft thats a 3ft X 33ft bed. Sometimes I use 2 bags if the soil is poor or the crops are heavy feeders.
I pay between $5 and $7 a bag, your paying way too much. Check out ACE hardware, home depot, Lowes. Much cheaper.
I prefer to get it by the truck load and do away with the bags. I compost my own chicken manure, but use the bagged kind right out of the bag. It is great for tea, you can leave it for a week if it is not too hot. You can leave it 3 weeks in a cold winter or 2 days in the hot summer.
You can also use it as a top dressing around your plants.
Great stuff but still a compromise if you are going for closed cycle gardening.

"Don't worry no hurry"


Farmer Dave :wink:
I am raising my family on a permaculture homestead in Northern California. I like to shares my knowledge and passion for organic home gardening.

https://www.family-gardens.com
See you there
Farmer Dave

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

The bagged route is not the sustainable one, you are certainly right about that, FD.


The bagged stuff IS composted, but water solubility is still an issue; the urea is still about thirty to forty percent water soluble, so not the greenest choice you can make.

Household compost is still our finest choice for fertility; it stays put, we utilize waste streams from our own homes, and we actually enhance the environment instead of degrading it. How can we find a greener source of fertility than that?

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Farmer Dave
Full Member
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:15 pm
Location: California

compost and cover crops

I agree that compost is great but there just isn't enough of it, we also have horse and cow manure and chicken manure but we grow large gardens and our basic soil is very well drained which is great for working in but the nutrients wash away so quickly. I also cover crop all my areas in the winter and my fallow areas in the summer. Still a little chicken manure really greens up the garden and ups my production, I do have areas that I farm exclusively with, compost, horse and cow manure and my wife who takes care of the animals only uses our own manures and she just sheet composts in the fall. We also grow alfalfa, pumpkins, turnips, squash and any other extras for our animals and only use their manure on that part of our garden.
I know I really should break my addiction to the chicken....
Good advise
I am raising my family on a permaculture homestead in Northern California. I like to shares my knowledge and passion for organic home gardening.

https://www.family-gardens.com
See you there
Farmer Dave

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Keep in mind Dave, that increasing the humus in your soil (as good compost will) increases the Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) of your soil; in other words the ability of that soil to hold nutrients in a fashion that immobilizes them until natural biological activity makes them plant available (and compost supplies the biology to do that as well!) Nutrients in compost CAN'T wash away; they are stabilized as biology, and only released by other biology...

So even smaller additions of compost have long lasting effect on soil fertility, while simply adding high nitrogen inputs is GIGO, literally...

Still, chicken beats the blue goo junk hands down (30-40% vs. 100%soluble), so don't get too down on yourself... even Fukuoka-sensei used the chicken manure...

By the by, that alfalfa is a perfectly good fertilizer in its own right; very high in nitrogen but completely stabilized... mulching with that would sure get two birds with the single stone...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Farmer Dave
Full Member
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:15 pm
Location: California

More on manure

Alfalfa, compost and barn manure are great I just wish I had more of it, we live very remotely so when I bring in fertilizer I try to bring in some powerful nutrients. I find composted chicken manure does do a little soil conditioning but certainly our soil has improved the most since we have had horse and cow manure it does really help bind the nutrients as you say. The cover crops are great too and our soil certainly holds nutrients better now than it used to. I am also learning more about terra petra and soft rock phosphate. I also occasionally get some peat from a local peat bog and use the alfalfa when we don't feed it to our animals. Homesteading is an ongoing process with always more to learn, I appreciate your knowledge and feed back, do you know much about terra petra or where to find some good info?
Keep it going - Keep it growing!

Dave
I am raising my family on a permaculture homestead in Northern California. I like to shares my knowledge and passion for organic home gardening.

https://www.family-gardens.com
See you there
Farmer Dave

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Yeah I have done a good bit of research on terra preta and it's modern counterpart, biochar, and think there are certainly some things that need exploring there.

Keeping this topical, if you were to utilize the high CEC of a biochar (terra preta was based on charcoal technology as well) to capture the inherent nutrition of the urea in the chicken manure, you could reduce the volatility (that ammonia smell coming off urea or chicken manure is nitrogen just gassing off) and solubility of the manure source.

Lots of folks looking at biochar nowadays; some for, some against. Will Brinton at Woods End Labs has done some experiments that suggest it can be detrimental to fertility in early stages, but I am not sure what his later findings are. I suspect that he was using an uninoculated charcoal, which is NOT a biochar, but simply charcoal. The huge CEC inherent there could concievably lock nutrition, but if inoculated with a high N source like urea (read chicken poop), that would be taken out of play, in my mind anyway... without the addition of biology, it's just char...

I think we are usually getting off base the more we step away from natural models. That said, fire has been a natural fertility builder in many soils since time began; CEC increases are surely about carbon content, and charcoal provides a carbon source for hundreds, even thousands of years, while humus might last thirty. It is certainly worthy of further independent study from those without axes to grind...

HG
Scott Reil

Dixana
Greener Thumb
Posts: 727
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:58 pm
Location: zone 4

Just a little thought to consider as well, some people don't/won't shop at big box stores regardless of price, prefering to "shop local" and support locally owned and operated business.
Don't ever get my mom started on Wal-Mart :roll:

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Annual crops that let you leave the roots in the ground are another great way to build fertility... roots are the most carbon intense part of any plant...

And no big boxes involved... :wink:

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

The Helpful Gardener wrote:Annual crops that let you leave the roots in the ground are another great way to build fertility... roots are the most carbon intense part of any plant...

And no big boxes involved... :wink:

HG
Nothing better than free fertilizer. Legumes anyone?

User avatar
Farmer Dave
Full Member
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:15 pm
Location: California

summer cover

Were going to plant soy beans and buckwheat soon as a summer cover in a part of the garden we are not growing vegetables in this year. Just waiting for it to warm up a bit. Boosting soil fertility in every way I can.

"Feed your soil as it feeds you"
I am raising my family on a permaculture homestead in Northern California. I like to shares my knowledge and passion for organic home gardening.

https://www.family-gardens.com
See you there
Farmer Dave



Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”