Poultry manure is the feces of chickens used as an organic fertilizer, especially for soil low in nitrogen. Of all animal manures, it has the highest amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Chicken manure is sometimes pelletized for use as a fertilizer, and this product may have additional phosphorus, potassium or nitrogen added. Optimal storage conditions for chicken manure include keeping it in a covered area and retaining its liquid, because a significant amount of nitrogen exists in the urine
What comes out of a chicken coop isn’t simply fecal matter. It also consists of urine, feathers, undigested food, and coop bedding material. Composting decomposes these materials into a form that is good for plants.
Benefits of Poultry Manure
- A good soil amendment, chicken manure adds organic matter and increases the water holding capacity and beneficial biota in soil.
- A good fertilizer; chicken manure provides Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium to your plants (more than horse, cow or steer manure).
- The use of composted manure and litter can also reduce the need to apply additional fertilizers.
When planning how to handle chicken manure and litter, one must consider the storage requirements needed. The size of the storage area will depend on the amount of litter produced, but should always be isolated from children, animals, and rain. Liquid runoff should not be allowed to stand or pool and the pile should drain well to prevent unpleasant odors and the buildup of disease-causing organisms. Additionally, the storage area should not be located where runoff could contaminate vegetable gardens, edible plants, or children’s play areas.
- Only apply composted or aged manure to the soil, unless it is applied the fall before planting.
- Always wear gloves when handling manure.
- Wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating.
- People who are susceptible to foodborne illnesses should avoid eating uncooked vegetables from manure-amended gardens. Those who face risks from foodborne illness include pregnant women, young children, and persons with cancer, kidney failure, liver disease, diabetes.