If you think chicken can only help you in providing eggs, then you are wrong! Even the feces of the chicken can be useful in making manure. It can make an organic fertilizer which can help you to make your soil richer and healthier. You can compost the chicken manure for the soil which is low in nitrogen. You must try composting chicken manure as it has the highest amount of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous in it. But the main question is – how to compost chicken manure? If you are here, then we can assume that you want to know about composting the chicken manure. So, read on to know more about the details and step by step process.
What you will need for the process of composting chicken manure? Well, you will need a designated space where you will compost it i.e. a compost bin. Besides that, you will need a perfect balance of carbon and nitrogen (discussed below), moisture, heat, and air.
Guide to chicken manure composting
Do you want to make your garden greener and grow some amazingly beautiful and healthy plants? You will definitely need chicken manure as that is the best organic fertilizer. Composting chicken manure is not very tough work to do. It is a completely natural method that doesn’t include any toxic material or harsh chemicals in it. Here is the complete step-by-step guide on how to compost chicken manure:
Step 1: Collecting the bedding
If you have chicken on your farm, then you will know that for bedding you have to use dry leaves, straw, or sawdust. This is basically done for controlling the pests as well as the odor. You have to pick up the bedding along with the manure and dump it into the composting bin. You have to add this bedding over the droppings.
Step 2: Balance of carbon and nitrogen
Balance of the carbon and nitrogen levels is very important in the composting bin. The chicken manure can be made up 1/3 of the material but you should make it a proper balance with carbon. The balance should be like 1 part of nitrogen with 30 parts of carbon for creating an ideal environment for the microbes to work. These microbes will break down organic material for producing compost.
Step 3: Make ‘hot compost’
Hot composting is the quickest and easiest way to compost the chicken manure. Here, you have to heat the manure to about 130 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 days in a row. The heat helps the materials to break down quickly and the pathogen also dies at such a high temperature. This can reduce the risk of contamination too. But make sure that the heat doesn’t exceed 160 degrees Fahrenheit as it can kill some of the beneficial microorganisms. This can slow down the entire process of composting.
Step 4: Let it cure now
You have to monitor the pile when it is heating. If you are satisfied with the entire content, then you have to loosely cover the bin and let it cure for about 45 to 60 days. After that, you will notice that the content is completely dark in color with a crumbly texture. Also, it will have a sweet smell like the soil. You will know it is ready to use.
Once it is all done, you can now add the compost chicken manure to your garden. Be it your vegetable garden or the flower bed, you just have to spread some of the manure on the surface of the soil. Then gently work on it to get into the existing soil.
Alternative way: Cold composting
As opposed to the hot composting of the chicken manure, there is an alternative way which is cold composting. Though hot composting is the most used method, you can also try cold composting. But in this case, it will take a longer time than that of the hot composting. The materials, in the cold composting, break down in a much slower way. And also, the manure will be safe to use only after a long period of time. When you are using cold composting, it is best to let it compost for one year before you use the manure in your garden.
Essential safety tips for composting chicken manure
Now, when you know about how to compost chicken manure, you need to be aware of some of the important tips. These are the safety tips that you need to know before you start:
- Always apply the aged or the composted manure to your garden soil.
- Don’t forget to wear gloves whenever you are touching or using chicken manure.
- When you grow any vegetable using this manure, make sure to wash the vegetables properly and thoroughly before you consume it.
Why compost chicken manure?
All these steps are worth doing as this chicken manure is one of the greatest assets that your home garden will have. Chicken manure is considered to be very strong if used in raw form. Hence, it is composted before using it in the garden. Some of the important benefits of composting chicken manure are:
- Make your soil fertile: It can improve the quality of your garden soil by adding organic matter to it. It will certainly increase the capacity of holding water. Also, it adds some beneficial biota to the soil. It can make your soil much more fertile.
- Great as fertilizer: Your garden soil needs potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous in abundance to be healthy and better. Compost chicken manure can supply all these three to your soil and to the plants. In fact, chicken manure contains more amount of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous than any other animal manure. These include horses and cows too.
Now, you exactly know how to compost chicken manure and why it is beneficial for your garden. But don’t forget to follow the safety tips that are also mentioned above. This step-by-step guide will help you to compost the chicken manure in the most accurate and quickest way possible. Use this compost chicken manure and you will be able to have a greener and healthier garden.