Chicken Manure Offers a “Balanced Diet” for Plants!

Ripe tomatoes on the vine

April is here, along with longer and warmer days, which means that gardening season has begun in Massachusetts. Now is the time to finish your spring clean-up, brighten your porch with a container of pansies, and fortify your soil to prepare for spring plantings.

There are a number of different types of fertilizers available, each with benefits and drawbacks. For example, synthetic fertilizer is convenient to apply and provides immediate nutrient release, but needs to be managed carefully to avoid environmental damage.

Here are Chip-in Farm we love everything about our chickens including their manure! Read on to learn more about the nutritional and ecological benefits of chicken manure for your lawn and garden.

Chicken Manure vs. Synthetic Fertilizer

Chicken manure is a popular alternative to synthetic fertilizer for lawns and gardening. Although synthetic fertilizer is a bit more convenient to use, manure provides a number of sustainable plant and soil benefits, as follows:

  1. Nutrient Diversity – Provides a “balanced diet” for plants, with a wide range of nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and trace elements.
  2. Slow Nutrient Release – Releases nutrients slowly as it decomposes, providing a steady and long-lasting nutrient supply. It also minimizes nutrient runoff that can lead to water pollution.
  3. Soil Health & Long-Term Fertility – Its rich organic matter can help to improve soil structure and water retention, leading to healthier and more resilient plants.
  4. Microbial Activity – Beneficial microorganisms contribute to soil health and nutrient cycling by breaking down organic matter and releasing nutrients.
  5. Reduced Environmental Impact – It is a renewable and natural resource that helps recycle nutrients and organic matter withing the agricultural ecosystem

Tips for Using Chicken Manure

When to apply

Although chicken manure can be applied at any time during the year, an application in early spring will help wake-up and strengthen the roots of lawns, perennial plants, and shrubs.

For vegetable gardens manure should be applied at least 90 days before harvest.

Usually, one application a year is sufficient. It is best to apply before forecasted rain as the water will help the odor dissipate more quickly.

How to apply

In the spring, chicken manure is semi-composed, quite dry and easy to spread and work into soil.

Lawns: Broadcast it over the ground’s surface and rake to spread out.

Vegetable and flower gardens: Apply the manure on top of the existing soil and hoe or spade it into the soil.

Established shrubs and perennials: Spread the manure around the plants, keeping 3 – 4 inches away from the base of the plant, then water thoroughly.

How much to apply

Because of its high nitrogen content, a little chicken manure goes a long way!  Apply to vegetable gardens at a rate of 1 bag per 100 sq ft and to flowers, lawns or shrubs at a rate of 1 bag per 300 sq ft.


When purchasing chicken manure at Chip-in Farm, here are some frequently asked questions to help simplify the process:

Is chicken manure available for a limited time?

We have a substantial supply of manure and expect it to be available through June. We bag manure every day, so if you visit and we are out of stock please check back again.

Can I reserve a few bags?

We are unable to set bags aside but please be assured that we have a lot of manure and will be bagging daily throughout the spring.

Can I return empty bags?

Unfortunately, we cannot reuse them so please discard them.

How much do the bags weigh?

Each bag weighs about 50 pounds.

Will someone be available to help load the manure into my car?

The farm is so busy in the spring, we cannot guarantee that someone will be available to help load the manure into your car so please plan accordingly.

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