Chooks aren’t just terrific backyard egg layers. They also provide another useful product, reliably, every day of the year. Manure! I value my chicken’s droppings just as much as the eggs; the droppings have a host of benefits when added to the organic vegie garden. As a waste product, however, manure needs to be handled sensibly and hygienically.
The lowdown on poo
Fowls do two types of droppings. The first is a bog-standard brown or grey mass, with a white cap containing the urates. About twice a day, chooks also release waste from the caecum, part of the large intestine. This is yellow-brown, stinky and dries like concrete. Both are completely normal and can be utilised in the garden, but I tell you, it’s easier to clean the first type off the deck than the second.
Chickens are super efficient recyclers, taking vegie scraps and turning them into a valuable garden product. Their manure is abundant, free and homemade, and using it to improve your soil is a great way to close the loop.
As a soil amendment, aged or composted manure helps build structure, improve water-holding capacity and feed the beneficial biota in the soil, increasing healthy diversity. With nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, chook poo also acts as a fertiliser, feeding plants and increasing productivity.
Remember, always wear gloves and a face mask when cleaning the henhouse or handling manure, as fine particles can irritate the lungs. Wash hands thoroughly afterwards with soap. Carefully wash home-grown vegetables before eating.
You can read Jessamy's full article on how to best manage, collect and put to use chook poo in your garden in our August/September 2021 issue (OG 127) – purchase a copy today and have it delivered!
By: Jessamy Miller
First published: August 2021