The ideal would be:
Horse manure tossed in the chicken pen for the chickens to "process"
Second, steer manure tossed in the chicken pen for the chickens to
or so I've been told by someone who really does know about such things.
The idea of letting the chickens process it is to get most of the seeds
out of it as well as mixing in a bit of chicken manure also and it is
totally broken up.
My grandparents had laying hens (for market). My grandfather always put a
good dose of well-aged chicken manure on their eastern Washington garden.
Their garden was far and above the best around. He also practiced crop
rotation and was diligent in his watering schedule.
Sawdust in the chicken coop? I've not personally known anyone who uses
sawdust in the chicken coop, but rather straw. Compost it; when you
cannot identify any straw, it should be cool enough for your garden.
The first several years I had my garden here, it was "loaded" with aged
horse manure that had an ample supply of oak leaves from nearby trees).
Not only was the manure practically soil (no odor or "original shape") but
it was full of thousands of earthworms which had been busily working.
Four to six large pickup loads went directly on the garden each spring, no
concern about seeds as it was so aged and worked over by the earthworms.
This, without question, produced the best garden of all.
Later, it was necessary to find another source which led to having steer
manure delivered. It was supposed to be aged but it wasn't very! I left
it for the chickens to process which they happily did for all of the bits
of corn in it. It is now beautiful soil, nearly two years later.
I also brought in a pickup load of chicken manure (aging does *not*
eliminate the stench!!!) which I left to sit (covered with plastic
sheets!) until the next year since I was concerned about it being too
"hot." There was no odor to what my grandfather spread on the garden
which was a big clue to me that this wasn't really aged, not as it should
Burro manure is a good source but a bit more difficult for most folks to
get since there are far more horses, cattle and chickens. Sheep is also
supposed to be good.
Then there is the story about the farmer speaking to the ladies' group.
After the presentation, one of the women complained to the organizer about
the speaker's frequent use of the word "manure" instead of fertilizer.
The organizer told her to be thankful, that it took them years to get him
to say manure.
Hereabouts sawdust is used as bedding in commercial chook sheds. When they
clean out the shed the sawdust/chookpoo is called chicken litter.. The
manure is diluted to a degree by the sawdust but it is very strong in
ammonia when fresh. It's excellent for the garden once it has sat for a
while. It is also a good Nitrogen source for your compost which is a quick
way to cool it down without losing the volatiles to the atmosphere, or
allowing the solubles to wash out.
The smell of a chook shed being cleaned out will knock your socks off at
half a mile, at close range it will raise the dead.
These are the intensive commercial kind that are roofed and ventilated,
about 100ft long with 1000s of birds, they are in there for about 10-12
weeks on each lot of sawdust. The moisture all comes from the chooks.
Best manure I found came from free ranging steers in Texas. A company called
Tex-Mex was composting and bagging it and a nursery here in a suburb north of
Chicago would bring in a truckload every season. Unfortunately the company shut
down because the owners retired and nobody wanted to buy it because it was
located in the middle of nowheres in Texas. I have scoured sources for a
but found no companies bagging and selling similar stuff. I would sure like to
if anyone knows of a supplier that I can convince my nursery to buy a load from.
Glenna Rose wrote:
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