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Organic composted Chicken Manure

 
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I have a bag of Organic composted chicken manure unopened on a covered open porch.  I opened it the other day and got an overwhelming smell of urine.  It was laying flat and I noticed a small hole in the middle of the bag, maybe the size of a pea.  I don't know if a stray cat has been peeing on it, there is no evidence of this, but it did seem damp.  I have used this brand for  years and it has never smelled like that.  I was going to use it to mix with compost to add to my raised beds.  (I do this before I plant a total new crop)  I don't want to do that.  I can't afford to waist it.  
I'm going to redo one of my raised veggie beds.  I'm going to make it a hugel beat (I think that is what it is called)  I will remove what is in there.  Dig down a few feet.  place wood at the bottom.  I was thinking his would be a good place for the contaminated manure.  Then add soil, then small wood and maybe wood chips, then top it with what I would have normally used in the raised bed. (Organic potting soil, organic compost, mushroom compost, organic chicken manure, worm castings, rock dust, anything else I had hanging around I thought would benefit the veggies.)  I was thinking this way it's not being wasted, but deep enough that the contamination should dissipate long before any plant root could reach it, it will add nitrogen where the wood will be leaching nitrogen for the first year or so, and it will be deep enough I wont have to smell it.
I am not an expert I'm just learning as I go.  Is this a good plan? Should I put it in my compost? Throw it away?  I'm looking forward to the general consensus.  Thanks
 
pollinator
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Location: Outside Detroit, MI
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I wouldn't over think it.  Could it just have moisture from temperature changes?  Moisture... like most things... moves from an area of higher concentrations to areas of lower concentrations.  The longer it was left out... the more likely this is.

So probably what you smell is that Nitrogen 'fermenting'.

Do not waste it. Don't throw it away.

Your plan sounds fine.  But if you need it in a bed and feeding veggies right now... i would suggest maybe mixing in some browns/wood chips/leaves and then using it to amend your soil as normal.  Once the amendment is in place then maybe add a bit more compost or wood chips or mulch on the surface to 'lock in' the free Nitrogen.  Any smell should be gone in a day or two.

my two cents
 
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Location: South Mississippi
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When you say it smells like urine, if you mean it has a strong ammonia smell then thats nomal. When dry chicken manure isn't that overwealming but once it gets moisture in it it will. I have over 20 tons of layer house chicken manure I'm about to spread over 4 acres. My neighbor has 3 houses and they produce over 300 tons of manure a year. I get last years so it has composted for that long and its rather dry, but 2 years ago he didn't use much and so some of last years manure was out from under the shed to keep the rain off it. Thats fine but the pile (over 20 feet wide and 10 foot tall) got rained on and because of this the very top foot and the very bottom of the pile was wet from rain and soil. AND OH MY GOD the smell. It was like sticking your head into a tub filled with ammonia, worse than any cat litter box!!! This also means that the nitrogen in it is volatilizing. Nitrogen when anaerobic will turn into N2 (a gas) this is because the microbes chemically change the NOx's into O2 and N2, they need O2 to live and will get it anyway possible to survive and this is one of the ways to get oxygen in an anaerobic environment. I'm simplifying this but its the layman's terms.

But just so you know, except for it loosing some of the nitrogen value, that manure is still fine. I wouldn't think twice about just using it in compost. I would however just be careful about using it straight in the garden as it may have some bad (anaerobic) bacteria but if composted or even added near but not "IN" root zone of what your growing it should be fine. Letting it compost with other materials or even as a top dressing or near but not in root zone will allow it to dry out enough that good microbes will kill any bad ones. Another option is to take the bag n put it in a pillowcase (a bad or cheap one you woun't use to sleep on LOL) and soak it in a tub or 5 gallon bucket (best to add a fish air pump and air stone to add O2 to water and soak it for a day or 2 and make compost tea. You can then use the water to fert. plants and add the manure into a compost pile or worm bed but let it dry out some before adding it.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thank you so much!  I love to learn new things. I'm confident you are both right.  There was only a small hole in the middle, I guess when I smell that strong ammonia smell I think cat pee.  I'm redoing one of my raised beds, to a hugel beet, so I think I will stick to the plan of pouring the stinking bag on top of the bottom wood layer.  The wood can get the nitrogen from this source, and give the good microbes time to balance the bad before if ever the plant roots get down that far.  I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge.  Thanks.
 
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