Last Updated on August 16, 2020 by Cristina
How long to compost chicken manure before use is still one of the commonly asked questions by farmers who rear chicken and use its manure as fertilizer.
Chickens are generous enough to give us eggs and manure. We concentrate on the eggs and forget the manure. We can’t allow the manure to continue accumulating in the coop without using it in our vegetable gardens.
Manure in the coop attracts rodents and flies. It also breeds a harmful environment for your chickens. That’s why you need to clean the coop, remove the manure, and compost it before using it in the garden.
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Chicken manure takes time to mature well. This time depends on the conditions under which the manure is composted. It takes between 6 to 9 months on average for chicken compost manure to ready for use. Although after 9 months the manure is ready for use, some farmers opt to wait for up to 12 months before using it.
To speed the process, you can use a compost catalyst, check a homemade catalyst recipe here.
Composting Chicken Manure Like a Pro
There are steps to follow when composting chicken manure. These steps ensure that you get the best results within the right time frame. Follow us as we take you through the step by step process.
Step 1: Collect chicken manure and used bedding. Chicken farmers use sawdust, shavings, dry leaves, or straw as dry bedding for chicken. The used bedding should be collected together with the manure and put into the compost bin.
Step 2: Use the right proportions. Combine the right ratio of used bedding and manure each time to form a pile. Since farmers use different bedding, it important to follow the rule of 1 part brown and 2 parts green. Yet, because the chicken manure is so high in nitrogen, you can use 1:1 or 2:1 mixture.
Step 3: Use a hot compost recipe. When you combine the right ratio of used bedding and manure, you can now add moisture. Water is the best form of moisture that works as a catalyst. Heating is a very important step as it destroys pathogens.
The compost pile must heat up to 130-150 degrees F and maintain the same temperature for 3 days. Keep the temperature in check using a compost temperature gauge. Temperatures above 160 degrees F can kill the beneficial microorganisms and slow the process.
Step 4: Repeat the heating process. After three days of heating, allow your manure to start cooling. Turn the pile every few weeks to get air into the pile and repeat the heating process every time you turn the pile.
Step 5: Let it cure. Once you are satisfied with the heating and cooling of the entire compost, cover it. Let it cure for about 6 to 9 months on average. If you are uncertain how well your chicken manure has composted, you can give it about 3 more months to cure. It’s ready when most material is dark, sweet-smelling, and crumbly.
When it’s ready for use, spread the composted chicken manure on the garden. It produces excellent results for your vegetables to grow in.
Read more about the key components in making the best compost for tomatoes
Although it takes too much time and work to compost the chicken manure; its benefits outweigh the work. To get this black gold, keep digging!