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Old 05-19-2009, 01:31 PM   #1
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Default Pine shavings as mulch

I have newly acquired chickens that are bedded in pine shavings and I'm wondering if I can use those shavings as a mulch in the garden or do they have to be composted first? I know chicken manure is pretty potent but I don't want to put it around the plants themselves, just down the middle of the rows. Anybody have any experience with this?
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:38 PM   #2
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I've always been told fresh chicken manure will burn plants. I compost mine. Maybe not a good idea to use it down the middle of rows uncomposted.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:26 AM   #3
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Please do compost it first. Chicken poo is very strong and will likely burn your plants. However, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your compost will turn with that addition. It's high in N and will make the pile really start to "cook".
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Old 05-21-2009, 11:02 AM   #4
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If its deep litter, more pine shaving the chicken manure, then I think if you are putting it between the rows and not on the plants, you are doing what is called "composting in place".
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Old 05-21-2009, 02:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joepyeweed View Post
If its deep litter, more pine shaving the chicken manure, then I think if you are putting it between the rows and not on the plants, you are doing what is called "composting in place".
Or . . . Try it down half of one set of rows and see what the results are. If you cover the bedding/manure with some soil it could change the equation a little too rather than leave it exposed to the elements - sun and water. These would cause rapid breakdown and probably keep the mix from burning the plants. Burying it will keep the breakdown slower and more even - sort of like a time-release vitamin.

I put a 5gal bucket of weathered sheep manure about 6 inches below a hill of melons one year as an experiment. When those melon roots hit the manure they took off running. The melons were sweet and juicy too. I'm not suggesting anything hot and fresh manure-wise - what I used was aged about a year in a giant pile outside.

Let us know the results in any case.

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Old 05-21-2009, 02:46 PM   #6
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I've have a friend who has chickens and she uses the deep litter method. I'll ask her if she puts the litter directly into her garden, (I think she does).
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Old 05-21-2009, 03:12 PM   #7
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I wouldn't worry about using a small to moderate amount down between two wide rows. But I probably wouldn't get too generous with absolutely fresh pure chicken.

The sheep I use is so perfectly mellow I side-dress cabbage and broccoli with it. I put a half a bucket down between two rows of taters a couple of days ago in a bed which hasn't gotten much upgrading (yet). I roughed up the soil a little to get it in good contact, then later in the day watered it in a little.

I like side-dressing plants. They really take off when fed this way.

Donna in Nebraska
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