Chicken manure is an old-fashioned garden fertilizer. Because chickens are vegetarians, their manure will be free from parasites and diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Chicken manure must be composted before use because the nutrients are very dense and can "burn" the roots of most plants (resulting in death). The nitrogen level in chicken manure is 1.1, the phosphorous level is .8 and the potassium level is .5. Be aware, though, that nutrient levels fluctuate according to the age, overall health and diet of the animal.
The nutrients in chicken manure are important for healthy plant growth. When composted, chicken manure nutrients dissolve readily in water and can be absorbed by the roots of the plant. In areas with a short growing season or depleted soil, adding nutrients to the soil is an important part of growing a garden. In areas with good soil, replacing the nutrients that plants take from the soil prevents depletion.
When chicken manure is composted, it's combined with other organic material like yard waste and bedding material to retain moisture near the roots. Some plants thrive with moister soil at the roots, and a soil that's rich in compost can provide that. Moisture also keeps the soil from getting too hot near the surface.
Another benefit of chicken manure is that the bacteria from the chicken's digestive system is designed to break down organic material. It gets passed into the soil and is an important part of the ecosystem.
Because chicken manure is natural, vegetable gardeners won't have to worry about chemicals in their soil or food. This is also important also for people who have children and pets near their gardens, or for those who are sensitive to chemicals.
Because chicken manure is composted before use, the odor normally associated with manure fertilizers is eliminated. For people whose gardens are right outside the kitchen door, that's important. It's also important when you use your yard for entertaining.
Composted chicken manure can sit in dry storage for a long time without losing nutrients. In fact, for the first two months after it's been composted, it needs to cure. The micronutrients and beneficial bacteria are enhanced with aging.