I was giving a friend the low-down on no-dig growing the other day, explaining that you can simply cover a patch of soil with cardboard and a thick mulch of well-rotted manure or compost, and plant straight into that without worrying too much about weeds (I’ve written lots of posts on no-dig before, there are some links below if you are interested!)
She looked at me triumphantly after I’d finished explaining, and said “That’s brilliant, I can just chuck all the chicken poo onto the veg patch. Job done!”
I gave her a little smile, “I’m afraid that won’t work… you’ll need to compost the chicken poo first.”
After her initial disappointment I was able to encourage her with the promise that she could probably use her chicken poo next year if she started adding it to the compost pile now.
If you add chicken poo straight to the veg patch, it’ll do more harm than good. Like most manure, used fresh it is too much for our lovely veggies. Chicken manure is exceptionally high in nitrogen, but it needs to break down first. You can happily add chicken manure and bedding to your compost pile. I’ve been doing this for several years with good results – I’d recommend mixing it with other garden compost materials rather than simply trying to compost a pile of chicken poo and straw – it’ll be a much better balanced compost at the end of the process if you mix the chicken manure with grass clippings, old foliage, twigs and kitchen scraps etc.