Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Chicken Manure & Phosphorus

By Kimberly Sharpe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Chicken manure produces an excellent fertilizer high in nutrients.
chicken image by Pity from Fotolia.com

Chicken manure 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. Readily available either from the gardeners who own chickens or from a local farmer, chicken manure provides the perfect way to fertilizer any garden with a natural substance.

Composting Process

Safely and adequately composting chicken manure requires from six to nine months to stabilize the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Easily composted, the chicken manure is simply placed within the compost bin and watered every other day. Turning the manure every few day speeds the processs. Fully composted chicken manure is available in large bags at garden supply stores, home improvement stores and sometimes grocery stores. Once properly composted, chicken manure is considered the most beneficial of all garden fertilizers, according to the University of Alabama.

Runoff Dangers

The excessive use of poultry fertilizers can pose a danger to local water supplies. Both the phosphorus and nitrogen not readily absorbed by the plant can run off during irrigation or a heavy rainstorm to contaminate rivers, streams, wells and ponds. Moderate fertilizer applications to the garden can rectify the problem. Overfertilizing through the years causes phosphorus to build up within the soil, also 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.

Phosphorus Effectiveness

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, according to the University of Alabama. The extra nitrogen and phosphorus within the chicken manure makes it ideal to use in nutrient deficient soils. Performing a soil test from 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. 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 commerical crops, according to Science Daily.

Phosphorus Removal

Utilizing methods to remove up to 80 percent of the phosphorus from the chicken manure fertilizer allows large scale commercial farmers to use organic chicken manure fertilizers heavily on their fields without fear of the phosphorus building up within the soil over time and polluting the ground water through runoff or irrigation. The benefits are double fold to remove the phosphorus from the manure because it allows large scale crop growing operations to benefit from organic fertilizers and it allows the large scale chicken farmers to readily sell their product instead of being faced with disposal.


About the Author


Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.