Chicken manure provides the perfect way to fertilize any garden. It contains high levels of both nitrogen and phosphorus. It also contains a higher level of potassium than other organic fertilizers. The high levels require that the manure go through a stage of composting before placing it directly on the garden, or it will damage plants. Fully composted chicken manure is available in large bags at garden supply stores, or you can get it from a local farmer and compost it yourself.
Safely and adequately composting chicken manure requires from six to nine months to stabilize the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Simply place the chicken manure in the compost bin and water it every other day. Turning the manure every few day speeds the process. Once properly composted, chicken manure is considered the most beneficial of all garden fertilizers, according to the University of Alabama.
The excessive use of poultry fertilizers can pose a danger to local water supplies. The phosphorus and nitrogen not absorbed by the plants can run off during irrigation or a heavy rainstorm to contaminate rivers, streams, wells and ponds. Overfertilizing over time causes phosphorus to build up within the soil, causing a runoff danger. Moderately fertilizing the area is ideal to supply the plants with their nutrient needs. Only apply chicken fertilizer when the plants are actively growing for full absorption.
Both the phosphorus and the potassium within chicken manure is considered to be 75 percent more beneficial and readily absorbed by plants then chemical fertilizers, reports the University of Alabama. It is ideal to use in nutrient-deficient soils. Performing a soil test using a test kit, which can be purchased at garden supply and home improvement stores, will help determine exactly how much chicken manure should be applied to raise the nutrients within the soil.
Phosphorus is mined from the ground to manufacture chemical fertilizers. Phosphorus can also be successfully extracted from chicken manure to be used in the manufacture of chemical fertilizers. Pulling phosphorus from the chicken manure is highly beneficial to commercial farmers because it is estimated that 3.7 billion pounds of phosphorus is used annually to fertilize large commercial crops, so the chicken farmers are able to sell a waste product for use in the manufacture of chemical fertilizers, according to Science Daily.
After removing the phosphorus from the chicken manure for the manufacture of chemical fertilizers, the remaining chicken manure residue can be used as an organic fertilizer in areas of the country where phosphorus buildup and runoff are a concern to farmers.
Farmers can thus use large amounts of low-phosphorus organic chicken manure residue on their fields without fear of the phosphorus building up within the soil and polluting the groundwater through runoff or irrigation.