Q: I have previously applied horse manure to beds and borders, but now I have access to chicken manure. Can I use it the same as I have done with the horse manure?
A: Horse manure is excellent as a garden soil improver, but it is ‘hot’. Use it fresh and it can burn the roots of young plants so it needs stacking for several months to cool down.
Chicken manure is often dried and then applied as a fertiliser. But it is very strong and is best mixed with old straw and then stacked for a year or so, after which it should be fine to use on the soil.
Even better would be to add it to a compost heap where the heat it produces will help decomposition of any green material.
Whichever way you choose to use it, be aware that chicken manure is quite high in nitrogen when compared with other forms of animal manure.
Probably the best and most produced manure is cow muck – treated correctly, it will break down quickly to form a first-rate soil conditioner and is ideal for the vegetable bed.
For a decent liquid fertiliser, try using sheep poo – put into a hessian sack and then into a barrel of water.
It will produce a well-balanced feed that can be diluted further depending on the plants being nourished.