How to Add Chicken Manure to Your Veggie Garden

Overview

Millions of chickens are raised in the U.S. every year, some in backyard gardens. A garden-friendly byproduct of raising chickens is chicken manure. Obtained from your backyard flock, or from a friend or nearby farm, chicken manure can be an economical soil amendment that can boost your garden's soil nutrients. Discover several methods of applying chicken manure to your vegetable garden to reap its benefits.

Step 1

Add the chicken manure directly to your vegetable garden's soil, mixing it into the dirt around your plants. This method only works with aged manure, such as that which is sold commercially as fertilizer, or backyard manure that has been allowed to sit outside for 3 to 4 months. Use 45 lb. of manure for every 100 square feet of dirt.

Step 2

Use the chicken manure as an amendment in your garden compost pile. This can boost your compost's beneficial bacteria content and increase the compost's overall nutritional density. Layer the manure along with standard layers of wet and dry organic material as you would any other compost additive.

Step 3

Turn the compost heap with a shovel every 2 weeks as usual, sprinkling with water as needed to keep it slightly moist. The compost is ready for use when it is dark in color and crumbly in texture. Add 2 to 3 inches of compost to your garden to amend the soil.

Step 4

Create a manure tea to deliver nutrients to your vegetables with every watering. This is ideal for potted vegetable gardens, but you can also use it with standard in-ground gardens. Fill a 5-gallon bucket or trash can with 4 gallons of water.

Step 5

Stuff a knee-length sock with chicken manure. Tie a knot at the sock's open end to contain the manure and drop the stuffed sock into the water. Place the container in the sun and let the sock brew in the water for 48 to 72 hours. Fish out the sock after this time and use the nutrient-rich water to water your vegetable garden. For best results, use the tea once every 3 weeks.

Tips and Warnings

  • Using non-aged or non-watered-down manure directly in your garden can burn your plants due to the high nitrogen content found in fresh manure.

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken manure
  • Compost heap
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • 5-gallon container
  • Knee-length sock

References

  • "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible;" Edward C. Smith; 2000
  • PoultryOne.com: How to Use Chicken Manure as Fertilizer

Who Can Help

  • PoultryOne.com: Guide to Raising Chickens
  • GardenGuides.com: Ingredients in Organic Tea Fertilizer
Keywords: chicken manure, manure fertilizer, vegetable garden

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.