Chicken poop - how do I 'harvest' it for fertiliser?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kevinhannan, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At the moment I use tarpaulins on the floor of my coop. I take it out and wash it down
    near my flower bordors in my garden and place a clean tarpaulin back in the coop while
    the recently washed one gets a chance to dry out fully.

    Up to now, I have been buying buckets of prepared poultry manure for fertiliser but now
    would like to stop buying it as I'm producing my own now.

    Do you harvest the poop? What do you do, please?

    Thanks
    Kevin


    (Note to Admin: Sorry, I couldn't see where to post this, and thought here was the better place of any.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  2. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

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    You are effectively already harvesting the poop. I have poop boards under the roosts that the hens use. That collects the overnight poop very efficiently and makes it easy to clean most of the coop. I use sand in the run and about twice a year we clean out the run and use the poopy sand in the gardens. It helps that we have clay like soil around here.

    If you want to collect the poop, it sounds like you would need to scrap the tarp first, and then wash it off. I use a plaster type of knife. the blade is between a inch to inches wide and works very well. I just scrape the poop into a plastic dust pan that is easy to wash.
     
  3. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi JustBugged,

    Yes - and thanks for your quick reply.

    I get that I'm already harvesting the poop; I was hoping to discover
    a better way to do it than my current method. I am also planning on
    a sand set up like yours next year. ;-)

    Although I have 10 hens, the poop they produce is truly astounding.
    Poop-cakes the size of cow-pats are already produced within the two day
    cleaning cycle I have - they crap and then they all press it into one big pressing.
    I'm guessing I won't be far wrong by estimating there must be a kilo every
    other day.

    When I clean the tarps, I get fed up of having my hands in soft and hard poop,
    hence why I simply wash the tarp down near a flower bed.

    I was hoping to harvest it so that I can put it into vegetable beds next year
    and also to get the compost worms working on it, too.

    Has anyone noticed how long it takes for the poop to work? Does it need
    time to break down or is it used immediately by the plants and bacteria?

    In addition to the fantastic experience of the good peeps here, does anyone
    know of any learned/authoritive articles about this please (nutrients, etc) ?

    Many thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    If your question is slightly tilted more toward "How do I apply it"? You have a few choices. You can simply pile it up, turning it once in awhile, and after six months, apply it to flowers beds. The six month rotting time is important. Many folks use the material to be blended with grass clippings, leaves and household scraps and allow that mixture to rot down for a year. This is making compost.

    If you vegetable garden, only apply the manure from September through February. During the growing season, manure should not be apply to vegetables. Chicken manure is a wonderful, rich fertilizer.
     
  5. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Fred'sHens! That's also helped a lot.
     
  6. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    Australia
    I am also planning on a sand set up like yours next year. They crap and then they all press it into one big pressing. I have found that using sand stops the 'poop pat' doesn't happen because the poo rolls around and dries out faster, you can also clean it will a sieve or pitch fork modified into a giant kitty litter style scoop. It would be a lot faster and less messy that having to hose poo away. I also find the coop doesn't stink so quickly. Sand will also be good for the garden

    I was hoping to harvest it so that I can put it into vegetable beds next year and also to get the compost worms working on it, too. I would also wait till it's rotted down a bit before giving it to compost worms in case it burns them, I have read somewhere that you can get special worms that can handle raw animal watse though.

    Does it need time to break down or is it used immediately by the plants and bacteria? Yes or in large quantities will burn the plants roots. Add it to the compost heap first. Or set up two compost bins just for the chicken poop, that way you can fill one up, let it rot for a few weeks, then use that one while you fill up the second one. By the time the second one is full and half rotted the first one will be empty again! You can put wood shavings/straw in with the poo too, it will help aerate it and make it rot faster. It doesn't sound like you actually use bedding though so you could add leaves/twigs from the garden. The more you mix it the faster it will break down. Also the hotter it gets the faster it will, so keep it in the sun

    does anyone know of any learned/authoritive articles about this please (nutrients, etc)? You should be able to find some quite quickly in a google search or the library
     
  7. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, *enormously* Animalian - I appreciate your time to reply and your kindness.

    I did do a Google, but I shall be much more thorough about it - right now!

    Many thanks to all, your replies have been wonderful.
     
  8. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    Australia
    Try searching for "compost recipes", "compost ingredients" or "composting animal waste"

    You need air, water, carbon-rich matter and nitrogen-rich matter. So maybe look up what products count as each. Tip: Chicken poo is VERY rich in nitrogen so you'll probably jsut want to find out carbon rich things! lol
     
  9. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    We use sand in our coops and pens and straw in the egg boxes....

    The poop is easy to "harvest" which I do daily before work and mix layers of poop and straw along with whatever comes from the kitchen.

    Makes some good compost.
     
  10. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East Bethel MN
    I compost mine, about once a month the coop gets gutted and all the pine shavings/poo gets added to the compost where grass clippings,leaves,egg shells, and kitchen scraps (veggies only, no meat) are added in with it. The birds turn it for me. We usually keep 2 compost piles going, one is a fresh one and the other has been sitting for a year and ready for the gardens. Garden lime helps break down the pine shavings faster.
     

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