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In place composting with chicken manure

 
elle sagenev
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So I'm prepping my garden for next year right now. I'm considering cleaning out the chicken coop and putting the manure and shavings straight onto the garden. Will that be safe for planting next year?
 
Tyler Ludens
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That's what I do, I only ever do sheet composting in the garden; I don't have a compost heap.

 
elle sagenev
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Tyler Ludens wrote:That's what I do, I only ever do sheet composting in the garden; I don't have a compost heap.


I know some people here that don't plant anything that touches the ground into soil that has been sheet mulched with manure because of risks. I wasn't sure how real those risks were.
 
Tyler Ludens
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By Spring any pathogens will be long gone.
 
Su Ba
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I consider manure to be reasonably safe that comes from my own healthy animals. Frankly, I don't routinely compost my own homestead generated manures. But I do hot compost manures that I collect from other sources off my farm. And I don't import manures from animals known to be unhealthy.

I realize that a lot of non-farm oriented people are manure phobic....well beyond commonsense precautions. Those people won't eat veggies from my gardens because I use manure fertilizer, but they will eat stuff from their own little garden plot, totally oblivious to the fact that lots of manure bits being deposited there : birds, insects, worms, rats, mice, mongoose, turkeys, feral chickens, feral cats. I pointed this out to one woman and she promptly tore out her garden. Now I keep my smart mouth shut.

Especially since your area has a winter season and several months pass before the next planting, in your situation I would have no fear in spreading the chicken litter in my garden area. But I wouldn't leave it exposed laying upon the surface. I'd flip it under in order to start the decomposition process and to capture the nitrogen aspect. Surface manure will lose a lot of it's nitrogen components.
 
Zach Muller
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I agree with tyler and su ba, i do not compost my own chickens manure and feel totally comfortable putting it into the garden.

Thats a funny story about the woman tearing out her garden because of wild poop. Hah! Did she only eat hydroponic veggies raised in a sterilized greenhouse after that?
 
elle sagenev
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Su Ba wrote:I consider manure to be reasonably safe that comes from my own healthy animals. Frankly, I don't routinely compost my own homestead generated manures. But I do hot compost manures that I collect from other sources off my farm. And I don't import manures from animals known to be unhealthy.

I realize that a lot of non-farm oriented people are manure phobic....well beyond commonsense precautions. Those people won't eat veggies from my gardens because I use manure fertilizer, but they will eat stuff from their own little garden plot, totally oblivious to the fact that lots of manure bits being deposited there : birds, insects, worms, rats, mice, mongoose, turkeys, feral chickens, feral cats. I pointed this out to one woman and she promptly tore out her garden. Now I keep my smart mouth shut.

Especially since your area has a winter season and several months pass before the next planting, in your situation I would have no fear in spreading the chicken litter in my garden area. But I wouldn't leave it exposed laying upon the surface. I'd flip it under in order to start the decomposition process and to capture the nitrogen aspect. Surface manure will lose a lot of it's nitrogen components.


My plan was to lay the manure and then straw over it. Would that be good enough or do I still need to flip it under?
 
Chadwick Holmes
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I agree it's safe, that's what myself and all my Amish friends do for gardens here as well.
 
elle sagenev
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It's me. I did it.

http://peacockorchard.com/2015/10/20/my-kitchen-gardens-are-finally-ready-for-fall/
 
Colin Dunphy
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Total newbie here, but with a 10x10 coup and only 7 chickens, I've got mostly pine shavings with some manure in it. I understand whenever you amend wood/pine shavings into soil it will suck nitrogen, so it is best to keep it as top dressing. The manure should be protected/suspended in it which aint bad making it more like boosted mulch. To this date I've composted it, but plan on doing this in spring.
 
Tyler Ludens
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The manure with the shavings seems to solve the nitrogen problem, but I tend to let the shavings get pretty thoroughly mixed with manure before I put them on the garden.

 
Galadriel Freden
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I wanted to add: this spring I cleaned out the top layer in my chicken coop (I use a deep bedding system and generally clear it out 3 or 4 times a year), and used this fresh stuff to plant my pumpkin seedlings into; I use straw as chicken bedding, and the manure in it was no more than a few weeks old. I made mounds of it about 6 inches deep and maybe 18-24 inches in diameter, and planted the seedlings straight in. They grew like wildfire, and are still trying to make new pumpkins now, at the end of October (I've been picking the little new ones off and eating them like zuccini while letting the older ones mature on the vine). I think a lot of garden vegetables wouldn't like this treatment, but my pumpkins sure did!

I have read that not emptying/cleaning the coop over winter will keep the chickens warmer, as their manure composts and produces heat. Can't say for sure if it's true though.
 
elle sagenev
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Colin Dunphy wrote:Total newbie here, but with a 10x10 coup and only 7 chickens, I've got mostly pine shavings with some manure in it. I understand whenever you amend wood/pine shavings into soil it will suck nitrogen, so it is best to keep it as top dressing. The manure should be protected/suspended in it which aint bad making it more like boosted mulch. To this date I've composted it, but plan on doing this in spring.


Why yes. I know. But it's not just shavings. I used shavings, straw and shredded paper. Plus I put horse manure compost on the top. I'm not concerned about the amount of wood involved.

 
elle sagenev
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Galadriel Freden wrote:I wanted to add: this spring I cleaned out the top layer in my chicken coop (I use a deep bedding system and generally clear it out 3 or 4 times a year), and used this fresh stuff to plant my pumpkin seedlings into; I use straw as chicken bedding, and the manure in it was no more than a few weeks old. I made mounds of it about 6 inches deep and maybe 18-24 inches in diameter, and planted the seedlings straight in. They grew like wildfire, and are still trying to make new pumpkins now, at the end of October (I've been picking the little new ones off and eating them like zuccini while letting the older ones mature on the vine). I think a lot of garden vegetables wouldn't like this treatment, but my pumpkins sure did!

I have read that not emptying/cleaning the coop over winter will keep the chickens warmer, as their manure composts and produces heat. Can't say for sure if it's true though.


I do use the deep litter method. I clean the coop out about once a year.
 
Rob Lougas
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I have about 10 chickens and two ducks. I say about because every year we loose a few to the butchers block and gain a few in the spring. But I clean my coup twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. I use wood chips and straw for bedding and each clean out goes strait to the garden. Haven't had any problems yet, just great tasty veggies! I do make sure to wash anything before I eat it. But I say go for it! My hugal seems to love random clumps of the stuff.
 
Ann Maud
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I have made compost heaps with manure and wood chips from the chicken coop, directly on the vegetable garden bed starting from fall.  Then in the spring I spread it all around.  There is a huge difference in the health of the new veggie plants in spring where I've spread out the thickest amount of old manure.  Much more growth.  This year my garden is bigger and I've started two compost heaps and I'm adding kitchen scraps, chicken manure and old plants.
 
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