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Chicken litter compost?

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 

how do you compost or turn chicken litter into fertilizer? is it bad to just till it straight into the garden?

post #2 of 60

It's fine to till it in the previous fall but I wouldn't suggest doing it in the spring prior to planting or the soil may become to acidic. To compost just put it in a pile (or you can buy or build a compost bin), keep it moist and turn it every once in a while. At least that's what we do and it seems to work.


Edited by Drk_Wlf - 4/14/11 at 8:45am
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post #3 of 60

I grow commercially.  Our chicken litter is valuable.  You can apply it, till it in, anytime up to 30 days before planting or 60 days before harvesting, which is about the same cut off time.   I only have to "stock pile" during May-September.   The acidity issues depends entirely upon your soil.  Ours is naturally a touch acidic here. (do a ph test).  We add lime, in appropriate amounts, every spring.

 

 

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post #4 of 60

I put mine straight into the garden, but you do have to allow a certain amount of time as Fred says.  I've got a nice pile of brooder bedding that's about to be turned under when I plant my sweet potatoes.  They'll be harvested in October so there will be months between application and harvest.

For things where the edible parts grow low to or in the ground and especially if they are eaten raw you ought to leave about four months between applying the litter and the harvest.  This will usually mean applying it a month or more before planting.

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post #5 of 60

A.T. Hagan :

I put mine straight into the garden, but you do have to allow a certain amount of time as Fred says.  I've got a nice pile of brooder bedding that's about to be turned under when I plant my sweet potatoes.  They'll be harvested in October so there will be months between application and harvest.

For things where the edible parts grow low to or in the ground and especially if they are eaten raw you ought to leave about four months between applying the litter and the harvest.  This will usually mean applying it a month or more before planting.


+1

Watch out for your radishes, lettuce things which get eaten raw and touch the ground.  You don't want manure apps within 60-90 days on those early crops.  If you aren't sure of where you'll plant your items, because it is a smaller, home garden, just cut off your applications on Feb 1 or March 1, depending on your zone.

 

 

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post #6 of 60

If you can't put it on your garden, consider spreading it out on the lawn.  I clean out a pen into my wheelbarrow, and then I fling it by shovel acroww the yard, making sure it is spread out very fine.  Nobody can see it, and it is good for the grass.  Just make sure it rains before you walk around barefoot!

post #7 of 60

Put the manure in a pile and add some grass, hay, etc. to oxygenate the mix. You don't have to turn it if done that way.

post #8 of 60

Turning and watering the pile will speed decomposition, but it will eventually decompose all on it's own anyway.

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post #9 of 60

I add chicken manure/litter to the garden anytime

Okay, so here is how I do it:

I don't like to weed!  It doesn't amuse me, so I don't do it.
I don't like to water!  It costs money, and even with a watering system set up, I still have to turn the nozzle "on" and then I have to return 20 minutes later to turn it "off".  I rarely do it.
I don't like to add fertilizer!  I don't want to pay for it and I don't want one more thing to do.

So, what do all my dislikes have to do with chicken manure being applied any ol' day?  Well, when I plant, I lay newspaper in-between plants right up to the stalk (I start most things in the green house) and over top three or four layers of newspaper, I will lay chicken manure soiled straw. 

The soiled straw holds down paper.
The paper covered with straw prevents the weeds from growing.
The zinc in the newspaper works a bit like an anti-bacterial.
The layers of newspaper provide a barrier between the soil and the manure and thus prevents the manure from "burning" your plants. 
The "mulch" prevents moisture loss through evaporation AND it keeps the soil temperature warmer, which promotes growth.

I continue to add layers of manure/bedding on rows, hills, etc. throughout the season, throughout the year.  The bedding (carbon) and manure (nitrogen) balance, then ages on top of the soil while easing my other chores (weeding, watering).  In the spring/fall, the manure, bedding, newspaper get tilled in the soil.

I will also layer grass clippings (if I have them--I usually don't, as I don't mow--that's the job of the ducks and geese) sometimes a guy who mows yards for a living will bring his clippings and we layer that in-between the rows, the same as the manure.  We also lay weeds from elsewhere in-between the rows.  We allow the roots to dry/die of exposure.

(I also have seven worm factories at the garden, in addition to three more compost bins that are rotated throughout the year.  I know some folks who put chicken manure and the red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) together.  I see no need to do that, so I haven't tried it and I don't know if it works out.  My worms job is to eat my kitchen scraps that don't go to the birds.  The compost bins are for the compost that don't go to the birds, or the worms.)


Edited by KlaHaYa Gardens - 4/18/11 at 1:06am
post #10 of 60
Thread Starter 

I have a spot that we dump all of our grass clippings that we are going to turn into a compost pile, Tonight im going to move the A-Frame coop with the 16 8 week old chicks on top of the pile so they can scratch around and fertilize at the same time. will the rain cause any of the good nutrients from the chickens to wash away? I was thinking about squaring it off with boards.

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