What are chicken manure pellets?
Chicken manure pellets are simply chicken manure which has been processed into dried pellet form.
Chicken manure is an effective organic fertiliser. It’s rich in nutrients and great for many plants, particularly fruit and veg. Chicken manure is a good source of nitrogen, which is one of the main nutrients plants need for healthy leaf growth.
To make this fertiliser, poultry manure is dried and converted into a small, pelleted or powdered form so it can be easily integrated into the soil. Chicken manure is different from fresh domestic poultry litter - which is often used without additional processing for the compost heap. We’ll explain more about this distinction later on.
Why use pelleted chicken manure?
Pelleted chicken manure is among the most popular and widely available non-chemical, organic fertilisers on the market, making it a popular choice among amateur gardeners.
A lot of gardeners choose to use chicken manure because:
- It’s rich in a number of important nutrients, the main one being nitrogen, which helps promote green leafy growth in plants.
- It also has small traces of phosphorus and potassium; phosphorus releases slowly to promote root growth, while potassium promotes flower and helps fruits and vegetables ripen.
While fresh chicken manure is high in nitrogen, it may contain bacteria that can be harmful to humans, and is unpleasant to transport and handle. In contrast, pelleted chicken manure is sterilised when it’s manufactured, making it much simpler to use for home gardeners.
What plants benefit from chicken manure?
You can use chicken manure pellets all around the garden due to the many nutrients it contains. Fruit trees, root vegetables, flowers, trees and shrubs will all benefit from chicken manure pellets.
When to use chicken manure pellets
Chicken manure pellets can be used to fertilise soil from February to November. You can use them in early spring as a base fertiliser. During the growing season, you should reapply every 4-6 weeks all around the garden for stronger plants and better yields.
How to use chicken manure pellets
You can use chicken manure for a variety of tasks in the garden – including for soil prep and pre-planting as well as for established plants during the growing season.
For soil prep/pre-planting
Sprinkle the chicken manure pellets evenly over the soil, then mix well. After sowing seeds and planting out, water well if it’s dry weather.
During the growing season
To use during the growing season, sprinkle evenly over the soil and around any established plants. Work into the soil gently by using a hand fork. Be careful not to disrupt any plant roots. Water thoroughly.
For established plants
Between March and August, pellets should be applied every 4-6 weeks while plants are actively growing. Mix carefully so you don’t disrupt any roots, and then water thoroughly afterwards.
Preparing soil for new plants
When you are preparing new beds and borders, you can use chicken manure pellets 7-10 days before sowing or planting new seeds. Sprinkle over the soil and mix well.
How much chicken manure pellets should you use?
The amount you use depends on your plants, but as a general rule of thumb use the following:
- General flowers and vegetables: 100g per m².
- Fast growing plants: 200g per m².
- Trees, shrubs, roses and hedges: 300g per m².
Using composted chicken manure
Because it’s so high in nitrogen, chicken manure is a great natural fertiliser for plants, but if you’re not careful it can be a case of too much of a good thing. When applied directly to soil, the raw manure can burn and kill your plants rather than enrich them, which is why pellets that have been processed are, in general, better for the amateur home gardener. Always read the pack label for application instructions.
Added to home compost though, chicken manure can be very useful. It helps break your compost down and in return the nitrogen will be balanced to a level that’s safer for your garden.
If you keep chickens you can add the bedding directly to your compost bin, or source some from a nearby farm. After adding, water thoroughly and turn the compost every few weeks to get air into the pile.
The process takes at least six months to be done properly, and can often take between 9-12 months for the soil to be ready for use. When it is ready, it can be spread evenly over the garden and worked into the soil much the same way as the dried chicken pellets.
Frequently Asked Questions about how to use chicken manure pellets for your garden
Do chicken manure pellets attract rats?
If you use chicken manure in your garden as opposed to chicken manure pellets, it is more likely to attract rats. For example, chicken manure on your compost heap can attract rats if it is allowed to dry out. To avoid rats, make sure you turn your compost regularly and keep it damp.
How much chicken manure to add to soil?
If you’re using chicken manure pellets for established plants, you should use approximately 2-3 handfuls as a top dressing around the plant base. Or you should dig in between 3 and 6 handfuls per square meter.
What plants benefit from chicken manure?
Chicken manure pellets can be an extremely useful fertiliser in your garden, adding essential nutrients to your plants and flowers. It’s also pet and child friendly too, making it ideal for an active garden.
To know more about the best fertilisers to use in your garden read our helpful fertiliser guides. We cover everything from how fertiliser works to the best ones to choose for your garden.