Aging Manure Question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jomoncon, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. jomoncon

    jomoncon Songster

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    Sep 24, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    Please help me figure this out. Everything I've read says chicken manure needs to "age" anywhere from 2 to 6 months. Is this aging different from regular composting, that is, adding browns & greens, turning every so often, and waiting.

    Is it possible to age chicken manure all by itself & have it usable? If I just put the manure in a pile or composter, & add nothing else to it, will it be usable after its aged?
     
  2. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

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    I extract my chicken manure (mixed with either pine shavings and/or autumn leaves) from the coop and then let it sit in a large pile for at least four or five months before I spread it in my garden bed. Sometimes I aerate it and water it, other times I do not. Either way, it's usually ready in five months.


    Now, USDA requirements for certified organic gardens is 120 days of "curing" for crops that are grown close to the ground (like lettuce, cabbage, spinach, greens, strawberries, etc) and 90 days for crops which grow up in the air (like corn or pole beans).


    But I believe in being super-cautious, so I hold my manure for five months before putting it into the garden.


    I have never purposefully "cooked" my manure the way that I "cook" plant based compost mixes. When you "cook" plant based compost mixes (by regularly scheduled, periodic watering and tossing after mixing the precise 20:1 ratio of carbons (browns) to nitrogen (greens), you get the pile hot enough that it might kill off most -- maybe even all -- of the disease pathogens in the manure.


    But I am not sure that it will work, and be completely safe.


    My best answer is -- it MIGHT be safe, doing it like you suggest.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
  3. cindy leigh

    cindy leigh In the Brooder

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    Jun 24, 2009
    I compost mine with leaves and grass. It gets extremely hot and breaks down into beautiful compost quickly. Anything that doesn't get taken to the compost bin goes on the huge pile of horse manure/shavings. I use the aged parts of that as a soil amendment. Not great fertilizer, but goes well under expensive mulch in flower gardens and around ornamental trees/shrubs.
     

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