Let’s Celebrate Chicks and Rabbits by Talking About Manure

Happy Easter!

Once celebrated for religious reasons, Easter is now more of a chocolate holiday (because one chocolate holiday on February 14 is not enough).

When did chickens and rabbits arrive in history? I have no idea (I won’t give you a history lesson on Easter), but it’s definitely chickens that we’re talking about here.

Poussin de Pâques
Photo : Roman Odintsov

So here it is: the chicken.

It’s a bird. It doesn’t fly. It eats mostly grains… which come out as droppings adored by gardeners.

Yes, yes, on this Easter day, I want to talk to you about chicken manure. Warning: dubious jokes ahead!

Why Is Manure Such a Good Fertilizer?

Warning: chicken poop is very, very rich in nitrogen. So rich, in fact, that used in too large quantities, it can be harmful to plant roots.

It’s like with Easter chocolate: moderation prevents diabetes! (Yes, I’m comparing manure to chocolate. I told you I would have a dubious sense of humor).

It’s best to mix your manure with carbon-rich compost (such as dead leaves or wood chips). This way, you dilute the nitrogen content while adding another essential compound to your soil.

Be careful not to add it too often either. Once or twice a year, on top of the soil and not deep into it, is usually enough. Since it is a very soluble amendment, the nutrients will integrate into the soil with rain and watering.

But I Don’t Have Chickens

You can obviously buy it in nurseries (not the chickens, their droppings).

Be careful: if you buy dried manure, you should absolutely mix it with a ratio of 1 part manure to 2 parts soil (or compost, or whatever). Some companies offer “diluted” manure, but be careful not to overdo it.

One reader told me that a nice neighbor has a chicken coop and GIVES his manure to her. So ask your neighbors before spending a fortune. You never know, they might be happy to give you a “load of crap”!

Fumier de poules
Photo : Brett Jordan

Audrey Martel is a biologist who graduated from the University of Montreal. After more than ten years in the field of scientific animation, notably for Parks Canada and the Granby Zoo, she joined Nature Conservancy of Canada to take up new challenges in scientific writing. She then moved into marketing and joined Leo Studio. Full of life and always up for a giggle, or the discovery of a new edible plant, she never abandoned her love for nature and writes articles for both Nature sauvage and the Laidback Gardener.

3 comments on “Let’s Celebrate Chicks and Rabbits by Talking About Manure

  1. Elaine Ransom

    What about deer and llama manure? I’ve been offered llama manure but the deer deposit it on the lawn gratis.

  2. jessica crawford

    Thanks for the warning about dried manure. Does this apply to the pellets sold in small cartons ?

  3. Yes, it works, but I have horse manure now.

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