Is Chicken Manure Good for Tomato Plants?

Once you become a tomato grower, you may wonder what to do to keep your tomatoes strong and healthy. And you might ask yourself: is chicken manure good for tomato plants?

Chicken dropping is a universal fertilizer that can be beneficial in your vegetable garden and even for your tomato plants.

chicken manure as fertilizer for tomato plants

Chicken manure is very high in nitrogen; therefore, you should be careful how you are using it because if it is not composted can burn plant roots.

This article will answer your questions about why to use chicken manure for your tomatoes, how to use it and when to use it.

Why Use Chicken Manure for Tomato Plants?

Chicken dropping is recognized as the most desirable natural fertilizer because of its high level of nitrogen.

But this fertilizer doesn’t only contain nitrogen (N), but phosphate (P) and potash (K) as well, which can be very beneficial for your tomato plants.

The N will help the tomato plant in leaf growth, P is beneficial for root and stem growth and will help in seed development as well. K is helping the development of flowers and fruits.

Therefore, chicken manure is one of the best organic fertilizers you can use for your tomato plants.

How to Use Chicken Manure as Fertilizer?

Whether you have your own chickens and you collect the manure from their cages or sheds, or you are lucky enough to buy some manure, this type of fertilizer has its rules as well.

Even if it is organic, poultry manure can harm the roots of tomato plants if it is applied in the wrong way.

So, here are some tips for using chicken manure to fertilize your tomato plants.

1. As I mentioned above, chicken manure has a high level of nitrogen; therefore, this should never be used freshly for young and tender plants.
Using fresh chicken manure can damage the roots and kill your tomato plants. Also, too much nitrogen can be harmful to plant growth.

Therefore, you should age your chicken manure.

This can be done at the end of the growing season, by spreading the fresh manure over the soil and turning the dirt. This will allow enough time for the manure to decompose and stabilize its nutrient levels.

During the aging period, keep your chickens away from the treated area.

chickens kept in their cages away from treated soil

2. Chicken manure can be added to the compost.

Whether or not you are using a composter, any sort of composting will transform the nitrogen from the manure into a form that will not burn the tomato plants.

Composting will also kill harmful bacteria such as coccidia bacteria (a chicken disease), worm eggs, and viruses.

Composting will not only stabilize the nitrogen level from the manure but will do the same thing with the level of potash as well.

3. You can also make a “tea” out of the chicken manure. I know, doesn’t sound too delicious. But don’t worry, it is not you who has to drink it.

Scoop some chicken dropping into a burlap bag and place the bag into a bucket or a garbage can and fill it up with water.

You can also put some rocks into the burlap bag to weigh it down.

Leave the bag in the water to soak for 3 weeks. The water will be infused with the nutrients from the chicken manure.

Then use the fertilizer tea to water your tomato plants. This will give them a vitamin boost and this way, the chances to burn the roots is almost zero.

When to Fertilize Tomato Plants with Chicken Manure?

The best time of the year to fertilize with chicken manure is before the tomatoes are planted.

When you dig the hole for the plant, first you can put the chicken manure into the hole, then put a thin layer of soil on the top of it. After that, you can place the tomato plant into the hole and fill it with soil.

This way, the chicken dropping is ready to be activated by the water and soaked into the soil and there will be no risk of “burning”.

Fertilizing with chicken manure at the beginning of the growing season is beneficial because at this point of the season the plant is focused on growing its foliage.

The high nitrogen level helps the plant to grow big and healthy. If you add too much nitrogen to the soil later in the season, the tomato plant will focus more on growing foliage, rather than growing fruits.

However, you can still fertilize with chicken manure during the whole season. But you should spread lightly over the ground around the plants. Do not dig into the soil because you can disturb the roots and you might burn them as well with the manure.

The best time of the day for fertilizing tomatoes is in the afternoon when the sun is not too hot. Or after watering or a good rain.

These factors are all beneficial in terms of optimal nutrient absorption.

If you spread chicken manure over the ground when the sun is hot, and then you water it as well, the manure will “bake” on the top of the soil and it will not melt into the soil how it is supposed to.

Also, when the tomato plant is very “thirsty” and then you water the plant after the chicken manure is spread, the tomato could drink too many nutrients at the same time, which is not always good.

A slow release of the nutrients is the best for optimal results.

Wrap Up

Chicken manure is one of the best organic fertilizers that can be used for tomato plants.

If you are using it correctly, your plants will be happy and healthy.

The best is to be used composted at the beginning of the growing season. However, this can be used all around the year.

But please note that chicken manure should never touch the tomato roots or stem, as it can burn them. Make sure that it is well composted and mixed into the ground.


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