Chicken Manure in the Garden: Build a Bigger Coop to Take Advantage of the Poop

Get free, top-quality chicken manure fertilizer by expanding the size of your chicken coop with this advice from Gene Logsdon’s book “Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind.”

| January 4, 2011

The following is an excerpt from Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind by Gene Logsdon (Chelsea Green, 2010). In his humorous, anecdotal manifesto, Logsdon imparts how to transform farm, pet and human manure into fertilizer and humus, describes the crucial role manure plays in keeping food production in line with our increasing population, and explains how we can conquer our societal fear of feces. This excerpt is from Chapter 7, “No More Poop Coops.” 

The chicken is the easiest and most productive animal for the small garden farm, especially in terms of handling manure. Humans have known this forever, which is why in almost all so-called Third World countries — and now even in First World countries (indicating that we First-Worlders are advancing, too) — chickens are usually a part of the local scene. New regulations are now allowing hens (but not roosters) in American suburbs. I love it when I am listening to a radio news report from someplace like Afghanistan, Liberia or Somalia, and suddenly I hear a hen clucking in the background or a rooster crowing. I know that this is the real news. If only a reporter could interview the chickens, I bet we’d get a much truer picture of what’s going on in the world.

Reporter: “How do you feel about being occupied by U.N. peacekeepers, Mrs. Hen?”

Mrs. Hen, ruffling her feathers: “We are occupied enough just staying alive. I wish the foreigners would get the cluck out of here.”

Reporter: “Do you agree with that, Mr. Rooster?”

Mr. Rooster, nervously wagging his head from side to side: “Well, cock-a-doodle-doo, I hardly think so. Those of us who cooper­ated with the foreigners would get our bloody heads chopped off.”

5/12/2013 11:04:55 AM

Community Chickens suggests sand for litter in the coop and in the run as well. Any thoughts?  Could I also compost with that? It was builders sand not play sand.  I want to keep four to six hens in a very small yard in town where they would have to be penned in some way at all times.  Maybe the neighbors would complain less.

mhollfi1949:  If you are expecting apologies or mea culpas you have come to the wrong site.  We are in the same damn mess as you.  Big Ag wants to control everything in America, also.  The seeds, the plants, the animals.  Some are fighting at a government level by taking the llikes of Monsanto and Cargill to court. Bless them.  Some are fighting quietly by only raising heirloom plants and animals. Some go to the elders to learn what they remember of the old ways and put those ways into practice.    

You don't say where you are from but my advice to you is to find others who think as you do and band together.  If your electoral process works, start at the local level and vote in like minded people. Begin small, go to the older farmers, even if they no longer farm the old way, they probably remember some very useful things.  Order heirloom seeds off the internet.  If you live in town and can only grow tomatoes in a planter, do it.  Never register your farm animals with the government.  Do not accept tax breaks for owning a farm or they will own you.  These are all traps we have fallen into. Remember the biggest lie is "We're from the Government and we are here to help." 

Oh and learn to barter because if you can't sell your goods out right because of unjust laws, you can trade for what you need and do what most of us in this country have to do who want to farm sustainably, get a day job. HTH

4/29/2013 10:30:16 AM

Until 50 years ago, in your country, the fertilizer were human waste, fish, animal waste. American came over and educated us not use those things, instead purchase chemical fertilizer.

Now, there are very few farmers left in our country and they are mostly old people. We are importing 90% food.

American destried our countries farm industry.

Congraturations for your great success!

4/28/2013 2:56:20 PM

I have been using the deep litter method for a little over a year.  We have an 'egg mobile'-an old camper converted to a coop- for our free rangers that we pull around the pastures with a Polaris Ranger.  I use (free) sawdust from an Amish sawmill in the roost area.  Most of the time it has a bit of cedar in it, but the ventilation is good, so I'm not too worried about it.  Sometimes I do get a slight ammonia smell, and I figure that is because I'm not putting enough sawdust down?  When I do smell ammonia, I usually throw another layer of sawdust down and that seems to work.  Any tips and/or advice from anyone would be greatly appreciated. BTW, I have this book and it is great!  It maybe time to re-read it!

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!