Chicken Poop and Garden

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 2kids4chix1dog, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. 2kids4chix1dog

    2kids4chix1dog New Egg

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    Oct 27, 2013
    I have 4 hens who have free roamed the yard this summer and fall and frequently spent time in our vegetable garden. We are fencing in the garden area this week as well as a separate portion of the yard just for the chickens (they have a coop and run but I let them out a few hours a day when we are in the yard to "spread their wings"). How long until it is safe to replant in the garden space? There is plenty of material on composting but I haven't seen anything on planting where the chickens have pooped while moving around the yard.
    Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    :frow Welcome to the forum? :weee Glad you joined us! :frow

    Part of it depends on how thick it is. The risk is that chicken poop is high in nitrogen. If there is enough there, it can burn up the plant, causing it to turn brown and die. Different plants have different sensitivity to it.

    If it is just an occasional splat, just mix it with your soil and go ahead. Wild birds are dropping poop all the time. As long as it is spread out, it’s not a problem. Nature’s way of dealing with these things is dilute, dilute, dilute, with a bit of time thrown in.

    I don’t know where you are that this might be an issue this time of year or if you are just preparing for spring planting. A real common practice is to empty out your coop this time of year, even into late November, and put that stuff on your garden, even if it is on top of snow. By spring planning time, it will have broken down and be a great additive, not causing a problem. Just work it into the soil.

    To get a bit technical without giving you a clear answer, how fast it breaks down and is safe to plant will depend on concentration (piled on top and how thick or mixed in) and your climate. A warm wet winter will break it down faster than a frozen or extremely dry winter. It’s hard to get real specific but if you are looking at a spring planting or just an occasional splat, you don’t have any worries. With 4 hens I seriously doubt you have a problem.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I have my 5 girls fenced in my garden now (zone 4) with the intent for them to spread fertilizer throughout the garden. I'll let them continue to use the garden throughout the winter, will have to limit them to a smaller space when the ground gets cold enough that I have to pull my electric fence... could be any day now, at the rate things are going!. They'll have at the garden until I'm ready to plant. I personally am not concerned about chicken poo except on fast growing crops that will be eaten raw, or crops growing in the ground, or very close to the ground, such as radishes, carrots, and lettuce. If I had an immunocompromised family member, I would react differently. I think the rule of thumb from some sources is 90 days from fresh manure to crop harvest. I will plant the crops previously mentioned in an area that they won't have had access to in a while.

    ETA: This is only my opinion and my plan. I'm not offering advice for someone else. You have to choose your own path.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  4. veramoomoo

    veramoomoo Out Of The Brooder

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    well i don't know[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. 2kids4chix1dog

    2kids4chix1dog New Egg

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    Oct 27, 2013
    Thanks. We are in NC so I can still plant kale, etc. and was hoping to start a late winter garden. They just randomly pooped on part of the area but their actual run was on another part of the garden. It has been removed for about a month. I guess its best to leave that section for spring planting but the section with the random drops I can go ahead and plant on after mixing in some new soil.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Your kale should grow well! I have a winter garden enclosed with hay bales, have had 2 little salads from it this week. I'll get meager harvests from it until mid Nov, then it'll start robust new growth in Feb. The girls stand outside the wire front, and walk on the top, staring longingly at the tender greens inside! What zone are you in? With a little plastic, you can be harvesting greens all winter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013

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