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Chooks take vegie scraps and turn them into a valuable garden product.

Chook poo power

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Jessamy Miller dishes the dirt on chook poo so you can make the most of it in your garden.

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.

Safety first

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.

Jessamy’s full article on how to best manage, collect and put to use chook poo in your garden first appeared in our August/September 2021 issue (OG 127). A selection of back issues are available here — you can also subscribe to the magazine.