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How to Compost Chicken Manure

By Tammy Curry ; Updated September 21, 2017

Manures are classified as hot or cold based on their urea content. Chicken manure is very high in urea and cannot be put directly in a garden. To prevent the spread of pathogens and weed seeds, it must be composted for at least 60 days before it can be applied in a vegetable garden. Once composted, chicken manure provides ample nitrogen and other nutrients necessary for healthy plant development.

Build or purchase two compost bins. They need to be 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet to process 1 cubic yard of manure. Place them in a sunny location.

Collect the manure from your chickens or get it from someone who keeps them. Many people who have chickens don't use the manure or have more than they need. The manure will contain bedding materials such as sawdust, straw or shredded newspaper that can also be composted.

Place a layer of sawdust or straw in the first compost bin. (If there is sawdust in the bedding use straw, and if there is straw in the bedding use sawdust). Add chicken manure, leaves, grass clippings and newspaper. Use a shovel to mix these materials thoroughly.

Turn the manure pile every three to five days. Use the shovel to pull the organic matter from the center of the pile and push the matter from the edges into the center. This will breakdown the manure and other organic material evenly, allowing it all to “cook” enough to kill unwanted pathogens and weed seeds.

Transfer the decomposing matter from the first compost bin to the second after 30 days. Add fresh material to the first compost bin. Continue turning the piles every three to five days.

Transfer finished compost from the second bin into a 30-gallon trash can for storage or for use directly in your garden as a soil amendment. Transfer compost from the first bin into the second bin and start a fresh pile in the first bin. This cycle will produce a constant supply of composted chicken manure for your gardens.


Things You Will Need

  • 2 Compost bins
  • Shovel
  • Chicken manure
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Sawdust
  • Straw
  • Newspaper
  • 30-gallon trash can

About the Author


Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for textbroker.com. She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.