How do I Compost Chicken Manure?

Another Great benefit of owning your own chickens are their valuable manure compost they provide for your garden. Chicken manure is referred to as “hot”…

Another Great benefit of owning your own chickens are their valuable manure compost they provide for your garden. Chicken manure is referred to as “hot” because of its high nitrogen content and should not be used until it has time to break down or it can burn your plants. It can be composted and converted into rich compost for your garden. Some people refer to it as “black gold”. This two stage composter will allow you to age one batch while adding to the other batch. With every Ultimate Chicken Coop we offer a compost tumbler bin, or you can purchase the compost tumbler separately and receive free shipping with purchase of anyone of our coops. The chicken condo compost tumbler is a great add on to any chicken coop and run system.

Very simple to assembly only takes 20 minutes to get together. Having the tumbler is the best and most environmentally effective way of disposing of your chicken waste and provides big benefits for you. Once your tray in the chicken coop is full with bedding and waste, slide the tray out of the coop and with your chicken poop scoop place waste in one side of your tumbler.

It is so easy to compost your chicken manure, if you have a compost tumbler bin. Each chicken produces approximately one cubic foot of manure every six months.  

Chicken owners normally use bedding such as untreated pine shavings, sawdust, dry leaves, or straw to provide a dry cushion for chickens and to control odor and pests.  The coop bedding can be collected with the manure and dumped into a composting bin.  Some owners prefer to pick manure and soiled bedding out of the coop on a weekly basis; others will add new bedding over droppings and collect on a less frequent basis.

Understanding carbon to nitrogen balance:

A combination of 3 parts Carbon to 1 part Nitrogen creates the ideal environment for microbes to break down organic material to produce compost.  Since the different beddings have their own carbon nitrogen ratio, the proportion of bedding to manure will vary depending on the type of bedding used.  To keep things simple most composters follow the general rule of 2 part brown (bedding which is the carbon) to 1 part green (Chicken manure which is nitrogen).

Combine the correct ratio of bedding and manure in to the compost tumbling bin. Then spray the pile down with water (material should be about as wet as a well wrung sponge).  It is recommend that the compost pile gets up to 130-150 degrees F and maintain that temperature for 3 days.  Heating is necessary to destroy pathogens but temperatures above 160 degrees F can kill beneficial microorganisms and slow the process.  To help you achieve appropriate temperature you can purchase a compost temperature gauge.

Repeat the heating process.  Once the center of your compost pile has reached 130-150 degrees for three days it will start to cool. After it cools, rotate the bin this will pull the center apart and move the core material to the edges and bring the edge material into the center to heat.

If possible, we recommend that you use a 2 bin compost system. One bin will be in the hot compost phase and the other will be in the curing phase.

Let it cure.  Monitor the pile and once you are satisfied that the entire contents of your bin has been heated, loosely cover and let cure for 45-60 days before using.  It helps to wet the pile every now and then during dry spells.

 Your composted chicken manure is ready when most of the material has become a dark brown loam. Don't worry if there is still some of the bedding visible. This will provide air pockets in your soil which is beneficial to plants. You should never should deplete the pile 100 % You should leave just a little in the bin to seed the next batch.  

You can either dig in the compost to empty beds or encircle plants with it and allow the nutrients to be carried into the soil by rain.

Chicken compost makes a fantastic soil amendment for both vegetables and flowers, even better than expensive fertilizers available at garden stores. With just a little work, you can have the best soil on your block in no time.

Manure Safety Tips.  Fresh chicken manure may contain disease organisms that could contaminate root crops (carrots, radishes, beets) and leaves (lettuce, spinach), so DO NOT spread un-composted manure on the soil in your vegetable garden. 


I will show you how easy it is to make Chicken Manure into Compost:


* Clean out the manure from your coop with the bedding in it and place in your compost tumbler bin. Add more carbon “Browns” base material so that the mix is two parts browns, which is straw, dry grass clippings, dry leaves, sawdust, pine shavings, newspaper or hay to one part strait manure and mix well.


* Lightly wet the compost pile down and cover it to keep compost warm and improve decomposing process.


* By using our compost tumbler bin the manure will begin to heat up quickly and start to decompose. Maintain the temperature at approximately 130* - 150* Fahrenheit for 3 days using Checking it with a compost thermometer and then stir it. this is easily done by using a compost bin


* After the manure has had about a week of maintained hot temperature, rotate the compost bin and continue to rotate the compost every 3 days or so this will help speed up the decomposing process. The process will take about 45 to 60 days. If you do not use a bin it will take up to 9 months to a year.

* If possible, we recommend that you use a 2 bin compost system. One bin will be in the hot compost phase and the other will be in the curing phase.


* The compost is ready when it is dry and loose, it will have a slight sweet smell and look nice and dark.


* Once the manure is cured, till it into your garden soil about 3-4 parts soil to 1 part manure.


**Another tip for adding manure to your garden is waiting until the end of the season, when your garden is dormant. Sprinkle fresh manure on your garden beds and let it sit through the winter. In the spring , simply till the manure into your soil!



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