Chicken bedding as mulch?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by shellybean40, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. shellybean40

    shellybean40 Well-Known Member

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    I use the fine flake pine bedding from Tractor Supply Company for my chicken coop. When I rake it out, it has lots of dried chicken poop in it. Is it safe to use as a mulch for my vegetable garden? I know the poop is good, what I am asking about is the pine flakes????
     
  2. oregon woodsmok

    oregon woodsmok Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, they are fine. I'd pile it up and let it age for a bit before I put it on the garden.
     

  3. Nature_Lover

    Nature_Lover Well-Known Member

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    Chicken litter is a hot fertilizer, and MUST be composted before using it to mulch a garden.

    You asked about using it as mulch, which means top dressing? I'd compost it for a summer before top dressing with it, or at least compost it for a few months before turning it in to your garden soil.
    If you don't, the plants will burn off at the soil line as the waste breaks down.

    Pine shaving are safe, it's the poop you need to worry about.
     
  4. Txsteader

    Txsteader Well-Known Member

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    Agreed.

    I use the same bedding for my chickens and it, along with leaves, used coffee grounds, sundry garden waste and grass clippings makes some gorgeous compost. ;)
     
  5. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use a deep litter method that composts as they go. When I want some as dressing or mulch, I dig from the bottom and get the oldest litter. Works great.

    I don't buy the litter--just use what's on hand, leaves, junk mail, straw--whatever is free!
     
  6. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Two points: pine shavings will take nitrogen from the soil or the chicken droppings during the composting process, then return it somewhat, so it probably should be used as a compost. If you are raking out your coop and just piling it up, you will be losing large quantities of valuable nitrogen in the form of ammonia; best to compost it covered or mixed with soil on top until the ammonia turns to nitrate form of nitrogen. You'll be doing the same by spreading it as a mulch.

    One more thing to consider is e. Coli and other nasty things--I wouldn't put it on my plants if what I eat is going to come into direct contact with it, at least not in its raw form.

    geo
     
  7. COSunflower

    COSunflower Country Girl Supporter

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    I have a little old apple tree right next to my little chicken coop and twice a year I rake my chicken bedding out and spread it on the ground all around it. It normally is LOADED with apples and it is almost 40 years old plus the goats have eaten most of the bottom bark off over the years even though I've wrapped it in wire NUMEROUS times. :(
     
  8. shellybean40

    shellybean40 Well-Known Member

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    okay, so I will just put it in my compst pile along with garden waste, kitchen scraps and leaves and wait until at least the fall to use it. I have old bedding in a compost pile, from at least 6 months ago. I am assuming I can use that??
     
  9. mare

    mare Well-Known Member Supporter

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    i put some right in my garden and tilled it in last year--my squashes did great. i didnt use alot though. i think a few wheel barrows full.
     
  10. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I cleaned out my hen house 3 times last Spring and put it directly on the new garden, along with Azomite & gypsum. I had okra with stalks as big as my wrists. Nothing in the garden burned off, but it was clay to start with.

    Now THIS Spring that same plot is soft, with lots of tilth. The tiller sank down to maximum depth with no problem. I use old hay for bedding, though- not shavings. You could add bonemeal to supply nitrogen.
     
  11. olivehill

    olivehill Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We too have and do put it directly in the garden without issue.