Chickens provide wonderful enjoyment, entertainment and food in form of eggs and meat. But just like any other animal, they also produce waste. It’s a part of chicken keeping that may not be too pleasant, but to keep your coop and chicken spaces clean, free of odors and free of flies you need to have a good plan for waste disposal. Luckily, there is a good way to repurpose this waste in the form of fertilizer for your garden. One hen creates about 1 cubic foot of manure every 6 months, and that manure can easily be composted.
Chicken manure is high in nitrogen and needs to be composted before applied to your garden to avoid burning or harming your plants. Composting chicken manure is a fairly simple process that does not require too much labor or equipment. All you need is a compost pile or tumbler (Lifetime Compost Tumbler, pictured, is available online), some gloves and a shovel.
Here are some easy steps to start composting your chickens’ waste:
1. Add manure to the compost pile or tumbler and then add your additional items for compost. Additional items can include vegetable waste, leaves, wood chips, shredded newspaper, etc.
2. Wet everything down and rotate every 3 days or so. Rotate and mix everything at least 3 times.
3. Add more compostable items over a period of weeks as desired, continue to rotate.
4. Let rest for 2 to 6 months. This resting period will to allow all the materials to break down into rich organic matter that won’t harm your plants.
Once you are done, the material should be crumbly, dark and have a sweet earthy scent. At this point you can add it to your garden and turn it or till it into the soil. As with any fruit or vegetable from your garden or the store, be sure to wash crops thoroughly before consuming.