How long does it take for poop to break down?

Mrs. Green Thumbs

9 Years
Apr 2, 2010
Santa Maria, California
I began my first flock in April for more than one reason. I wanted fresh egg's with real flavor, I wanted to know what went into my food, I wanted to stop giving money to an industry that profits largely off practices of cruelty and I wanted the poop. lol I am a gardener, I work hard in my gardens and enjoy growing my own veggies and herbs. I also have begun a love affair with compost. Compost has proven it's worth over and over to me and I will NEVER go back to using man made products to force my garden to produce. I learned about the benefits of chicken poo and that tipped the scale for me from "meh we can live without chickens maybe some day" to "Oh HECK yah we are SO getting chickens!" now I have my first batch of chicken poo/bedding enriched compost started and while it is a LONG way from being usable I am wondering how EXACTLY long should it take to make sure that the compost is safe to use in my edible garden?

Just in case it matter's here's a list of the edibles I am currently growing:

Yellow crook neck squash
green beans
Bell peppers
(hopefully) bush baby watermelon's
I think that's all for now (but I really REALLY want to ad some peas in a pot too and some cucumbers and a few more things)

now I know that a lot of my plants are heavy feeders and I wanted to add compost to the top of every thing to give it all a great feed but my compost is NOT ready. so of course I'll have to buy a few bags of compost to hold me over for now, but how long until my chicken enriched compost is done/safe? How do I know for sure it won't contaminate my food and possibly make us sick?

Love my Critters!

11 Years
Apr 15, 2008
Carlsbad, NM
I'm not sure exactly how long it takes. It all depends on how much other stuff you put with it, how hot/cold it is outside, and how much moisture it gets. As mentioned above you have to be careful because chicken poop is very hot. It will burn and kill your garden if you are not careful. What I've always done is put some poop in a barrel, then fill with water. After it mixes and desolves well and starts "growing" stuff I them water my plants with that water about once a week ( just like fertilizing).


Quiet as a Church Mouse
10 Years
Dec 19, 2009
Southwest TN
I think a central feeder can use it hot. Put it in a trash can with a few holes in the bottom and the rain will wash/dillute a bit at a time to fertilize the plants that you have planted around the feeder. I've HEARD of it...never tried it. Aslo, heard you can side dress with partially composted chicken poo, so long as it doesn't touch the plants.

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