How to harvest chicken manure & accelerate your garden compost

Gabrielle Anderson
Tuesday, 3rd May 2011

Halve the time of cleaning out the chicken house, discover an easy way to harvest chicken manure and make even better garden compost.

Chicken manure is a wonderful output of the pleasurable process of keeping permaculture chickens: highly nutritious for the garden, via the compost heap. One of its less endearing qualities, apart from the smell, is that, once dried, it sticks amazingly strongly to whatever its landed on and is difficult to remove. Our chicken house has a droppings board underneath the perch, which we cover with a layer of straw (chickens do most of their pooping on the perch at night). A mix of chicken manure and straw is an excellent addition to the compost heap but, with their habit of scratching about and the nightly dispute for the best place, most of the straw ends up on the floor, leaving the droppings board unprotected. After one too many struggles to clean the droppings board, I came up with the idea of cutting pieces of corrugated cardboard – an easily obtainable waste product – to be a tight fit and placing it over the droppings board. Cardboard is a welcome addition to the compost heap and the weekly henhouse clean now takes me less than half the time.


Gabrielle Anderson and her husband Stuart run a permaculture smallholding in Brittany, France and write a regular blog.

This Solution originally appeared in Permaculture 57. There are a few copies of the paper version left now and you can also download it as a PDF for just £2.95.

Do you have any clever solutions you would like to share? Please email maddy [at] with a description and a photograph. If it is published in our print edition of Permaculture magazine you will win a free book.

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