Having backyard chickens can be an incredibly fun and rewarding venture. Having fresh eggs every day, potentially meat, and companionship for you or your children are obvious benefits. One benefit that is easily overlooked is all the fresh chicken manure.
The manure produced by chickens can be composted and turned into quality, free fertilizer for your garden and yard. The average chicken produces one cubic foot of manure every six months. That means, over the course of one year, a flock of six birds would produce about twelve cubic feet of manure.
All this poultry manure can be valuable to a gardener! Raising chickens can be a lot of work so we will help you with best practices for composting their manure.
One way of composting your chicken manure is to move your chickens around your property. If your coop is easy to move, you can use a temporary fence or electric fence to contain your chickens where you want to grow something the next growing season.
Wherever you have your coop, just leave the bedding and manure behind when you move it and add more cover material, other organic materials, and let it compost in place. The following year you can plant your garden in this location and take advantage of the improved soil quality.
Bedding to Bin or Pile
If you have a coop that you do not want to move or must leave in place, moving the manure to a compost bin or compost pile is the best option for you.
Add Layers to Prevent Drying
The best thing that you can do to set yourself up for successful composting is to use a carbon-rich bedding, such as straw or wood chips. You will want to add many different layers to make sure that the chicken manure does not dry out. Adding layers increases the water holding capacity.
It is important to know that chicken manure makes "hot" compost meaning that it is extremely rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, so much so that putting straight chicken manure on plants will burn.
Compost components are labeled “brown” or “green” and when composting chicken manure (green) you should do two parts "browns" and one part "greens." “Browns” would be the bedding material from your coop, along with any sticks, dried yard waste, sawdust, or paper that you add to your pile.
Mixing Your Compost Pile
Mix and stir the pile every week or two and occasionally make sure that the core temperature of your pile is 130℉ to 150℉. If you let the temperatures exceed 160℉ this can slow the composting process and kill good microorganisms.
After six months to a year, you will have rich and valuable compost suitable for your garden.
beyondGREEN Pet Waste Composters
beyondGREEN’s automatic pet waste composter safely brings pet waste composting to your home. The composter can be used indoors or outdoors and will produce fresh compost for your garden in as little as five days.
You can help to reduce greenhouse gasses, help keep our waterways clean, and help keep the air fresh, all while keeping pet waste out of our landfills. The composter will break down pet waste, yard waste, and food scraps to produce a high-nitrogen medium to help your trees and plants thrive. The automatic composter can speed up the composting process by as much as ten times over DIY composting.