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Using fresh chicken manure in the garden...

 
pollinator
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Hi Folks,

I have a query for the collective.

First, here is the scenario. I have drastically expanded my growing area this year and have just begun transplanting my seedlings. So far so good on that front. We have had chickens for about two months, using the deep litter method with woodchips. This seems to be working really well, and I'm already noticing that the area beneath their roost bars has dark crumbly compost forming, compared to elsewhere in the coop.

My worry is that my newly prepared beds will be low on nutrients, and I want to find a way to use my fresh chicken manure, or partially decomposed bedding, to give the plants a boost.  My reading suggests that chicken manure needs to sit for 6 months before using it, or I risk burning the plants due to high nitrogen.

1) Is that still the case for deep litter bedding where wood chips are mixed with the manure?
2) Can I simply use the fresh manure very sparsely as a top dressing and water it in?
3) Could I soak it in a bucket for an hour or so, then dilute it and use it in a watering can, followed by overhead watering to help it soak in?

Long term my goal is to apply the well rotted deep litter bedding as a top dressing in the Autumn/Winter, but would like to be able to use what I have this season as well.

Any thoughts?
 
pollinator
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I will collect droppings, dilute them in water, then apply.  You have to be careful to dilute enough and get a feel for it.  

You can also use the bedding to make a chicken manure tea and apply that.  Same caveat as above.
 
Michael Cox
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Any kind of rough guidance on how you judge dilution etc?
 
Timothy Markus
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Michael Cox wrote:Any kind of rough guidance on how you judge dilution etc?



Maybe 1 dropping per pint.  It depends on a few factors and I don't really pay much attention to how much all the time.  

Using the bedding right on the garden might also work, depending on how hot it is.  Watering would dilute it and infiltrate it.  I've made raised beds with a base of coop bedding (a year's worth, so some was well composted, some was fresh, the rest in between) and it was fantastic.  I've never had any issues with using it fresh.  

Edit:  Are you guys on Metric or still on Standard?
 
Michael Cox
pollinator
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In the garden I'm kind of on "eye ball it to see waht looks about right"

Elsewhere, metric
 
gardener & author
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I use a chicken tractor, and plant straight away into the manured mulch. I haven't noticed any plants getting burnt or any other problems. I think chicken bedding would work in a similar way.
 
pollinator
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I've grown pumpkins and squashes directly in piles of fresh chicken bedding--manure and straw (and pretty heavy on the manure).  The roots needed contact with the ground so as not to dry out after transplant, but they grew like crazy that year.  I do mulch on occasion with the fresh bedding too;  digging it in might be an overload of nitrogen, but having it on top has worked for me.  But beware of slugs!  If I mulch it's soon full of slugs so I am very careful about where it goes.
 
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The answer is... get a pair of bunnies! Same sex or you'll have a dozen in no time. Bunny poop is the highest in nitrogen and is COLD! Yes it goes right in the soil or top dress with it. I put a hefty scoop on a bucket of water, let it sit for a day to make 'Bunny Tea'. Anything you water with it grows like crazy. Marigolds and any of the basils are amazing companion plants... guess what bunnies love to eat... marigolds and basil! Along with wild plantain, hearts of romane and the tops of carrots they love better than the carrot. A piece of multigrain bread is a treat and they are crazy for bananas and sweet potatoes. All the while turning that food into amazing fertilizer for you free and organic.
 
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I have both chicken and turkey houses what I do is plant my rows then lay cardboard between the rows and add all the chicken/turkey house shavings and manure on the cardboard when it rains it dilutes the manager re and runs into the rows never burn anything like this.  The cardboard makes a great weed barrier the shavings on top help break it down. So I have no weeding and after 6 months or so I till the whole batch in the garden and repeat again for our winter garden nice thing about living in the south I grow year round. After using this system for a couple years I went from clay to some of the best dirt I have ever had.
I get my cardboard from the dollar store on stock day all I can haul for free.
 
master pollinator
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Great ideas, Timothy Brennan!  and welcome!

I have been pondering this question.  The litter in my chickens' run is black and there is material in it quite decomposed.  But also some that hasn't decomposed at all.  And they add fresh manure most days!  This seems like a good solution.
 
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