I have been raising about 15 chickens and about 15 turkeys in a 12 x 45 ft. covered pen for about 10 years. They are on bare ground (rich, vina loam) which stays dry year round. Their droppings are mixed right in with the dry soil, so there is never any smell nor do I have to clean out the pen. It seems like the perfect soil medium for planting, but when I mix it with compost and put fruit and nut tree seedlings in the mix, about half of the plants seem to take the transplant well (using B-1 also), but the other half look great for 3-4 days and then shrivel up and die. Is the chicken manure burning the roots of these plants? I assumed the microbes in the soil were breaking down the droppings, turning it into a usable planting medium. Am I wrong, or does it still have to be composted? Also, their scattered feed gets mixed in with their droppings. Could this be part of the problem, too, where everything starts to decompose in my planting pots, killing my plants?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
With the high amount of nitrogen in chicken manure, it is always better to compost it beforehand to prevent damage to plants. This article will explain more: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/manures/chicken-manure-fertilizer.htm Here is info on composting the turkey manure too: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/manures/composting-turkey-manure.htm