Chicken poop on garden over winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by The Fairy Godmartyr, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. The Fairy Godmartyr

    The Fairy Godmartyr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2010
    I hope I'm in the right place for this--I just couldn't find a topic that it really "fit" perfectly.

    I have been using the deep litter method in my coop all summer and want to clean it out so my chickens have a fresh start for the extra time they'll spend in there during the winter. I'm wondering if it is safe to spread the old litter over my inactive garden, or if it would cause problems when I plant in May. I use really fine pine shavings for bedding (almost sawdust consistency), so I think they'll break down fine. I'm just worried about the poo still being too hot. I also plan on putting other compost on there.

    Does anyone else so this? What have your results been?
  2. Ang

    Ang Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    West Central Illinois
    We have done this without issue. If you look at what farmers have done forever, they spread manure on their fields in the fall. Its what I learned growing up and it has worked well for us.
  3. curliet

    curliet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2008
    west Michigan
    We do this, and have no trouble with it being too hot. Another benefit for us is that our soil is almost all sand, and no matter how much topsoil we dump on it, it seems to disappear and we're left with sand that won't hold moisture. My hubby rototills the bedding in when we spread it out in the fall, and then we do another rototill in the spring. The bedding helps to hold some of the rain in so that it doesn't percolate thru the sand so quickly. The plants have a chance to get some of that water. But.....there is a minor downside. the feed has tiny seeds mixed in, or maybe it's seeds that didn't digest from the chickens, and we have thicker weeds than normal too. Have found that we need to plant a little differently than usual so that we can deal with those tiny weeds.
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    As a point, I have a pure sand too for soil, and the last several years, I do not till as much as I used to. The theory, is that when you mix the organic matter into the soil, the microbes break it down and it 'disappears' fast. While if you leave more of it on top, it breaks down much slower.

    On the garden forum, it is recommended not to till at all. However, I had grasshoppers terrible last summer, so I will till this fall to get any grasshopper eggs that my girls may have missed. Then I will cover the top of the garden with the chicken bedding, and not til that in in the spring. Finally after years of adding organic matter and manure, it is getting better.

    my 2 cents
  5. can you hear me now?

    can you hear me now? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    As long as it rots it will be fine. Wood when it breaks down tends to steal a lot of nitrogen from the soil. If it is already in the breakdown process it should be fine I would think. I don't usually have a problem there. A good winter wheat helps good to add new nitrogen in the spring as well. Tilled into the soil in the beginning of the year it is often called green manure.
  6. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I know it's extra work, but I dig trenches in my garden and bury the poop.

    Makes for a highly productive garden come spring.
  7. gavinandallison

    gavinandallison Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2010
    Matthews, NC.
    If you want to add nitrogen to your garden, I suggest a visit to your local coffee store and ask for their old coffee grounds. These are a very rich source of nitrogen, and free!
  8. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009
    I've been putting my DLM compost on the Garden for years now, you should see the beans, corn, and tomatoes growing on that stuff. My Garden shares a fence with the Chicken Run and in the fall when I'm done with the Garden, I open the Run/Garden chicken door so they get into the garden they've been staring at through the fence all summer. The chickens really glean/clean the garden up and till it too. I dump more fall lawnmower clippings (grass/leaves/weeds) into the garden for them to have mulch to scratch around in. By spring the garden is prefect for a quick till and plant. (See my BYC page)
  9. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
    My grandfather used to have a 1/2 acre vegetable garden on his property and there was a family down the road who raised commercial meat birds. Every fall he would get chicken manure to spread on his garden so that it wouldn't be "hot" any more in the spring. Worked great for southern Maine rocky soil!
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I put my coop cleanings on a raised bed that was not planted last year. I've covered it with black plastic, on the theory it will help heat it up and kill some of the seeds. I also put horse manure on the bed, so I should get some yummy veggies next summer!

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