Bioavailability of Nutrients in Chicken Manure: Factors Affecting Plant Uptake

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Explore factors influencing nutrient uptake from chicken manure. Uncover the secrets of bioavailability for healthier plant growth.

Chicken waste is often considered a byproduct. It’s actually a resource, for farmers and gardeners. It serves as a fertilizer that promotes strong and healthy plant growth. However, using chicken waste directly on plants can be too potent and potentially harmful to crops. Therefore it’s important to know how to utilize it without causing damage.

Chicken waste is a complex substance composed of a mixture of chicken droppings, feathers, urine, and bedding materials like straw or sawdust. The nutrient content of chicken waste varies depending on factors such as the age and diet of the chickens, moisture levels, pH balance, storage methods, and duration.

Nevertheless, all forms of chicken waste contain levels of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—essential elements for plant growth. Additionally, they also provide micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.

When used correctly with care taken into account chicken manure can be a cost-efficient fertilizer suitable for various crops. It aids in improving soil structure while enhancing water retention capabilities—ultimately supplying plants, with the nutrients for their flourishing growth.

Factors Affecting Nutrient Bioavailability

1. Soil pH

The availability of nutrients in chicken manure for plants largely depends on the pH of the soil. In most cases, the soil should be slightly acidic lying within a pH range of 6-7. If the soil is too acidic or alkaline, plants may have trouble absorbing nutrients from chicken manure.

The impact of soil pH on the availability of nutrients

Acidic soil: In acidic soil, some essential elements like manganese and aluminum become more soluble and available for uptake by plants. However other nutrients like as Phosphorus, Calcium, and Magnesium may lose some of their solubility and are available to plants.

Alkaline soil: Certain nutrients such as Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc, and copper may become less soluble and less available to plants in this kind of soil.

It should be kept in mind that there are many aspects apart from soil pH that affect the availability of nutrients. Other things like soil texture, organic matter content and microbial activity are also very critical.

Tips for Adjusting your Soil’s pH Before Applying Chicken Manure:

• Always monitor your soil pH.

• Adding lime will help you increase the pH of your soil.

• Adding Sulphur or organic debris can reduce the alkalinity of the soil’s pH.

• Apply manure correctly. Excessive use of manure also lowers pH of your soil.

• The manure ought to be put in the soil prior to planting. Therefore, it will minimize the losses of nutrients and distribute manures in a balanced form.

Keep these tips in mind to ensure that your plants can absorb nutrition from chicken manure and grow healthy.

2. Temperature

The nutrient availability of chicken manure is significantly affected by temperature. Microorganisms break down manure-based organic material, releasing nutrients to plants. However, when microbes do not have sufficient warmth or temperatures are too low, they become less active, resulting in delayed release of the nutrients. As a result, plants could fail to assimilate nutrients adequately.

However, if temperatures are too high, the microorganisms might die, and nutrient materials can become vapor thus changing from a solid or liquid form into a gas form. This might eventually lead to the exhaustion of the plant’s nutrients.

In the decomposition of organic materials, it’s ideal for chicken manure to be heated at the range of 60-75°F or 15- 24°C for optimal decomposition results. As temperatures fall below 60°F or 15°C, it becomes evident that the breakdown process is becoming slower. Thus, more nutrient loss is made at 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Managing Chicken Manure at an Effective Temperature:

Proper Manure Storage: Keep it in a cool and dry place. This, therefore, makes the decomposition process slower, reducing their risk of loss of nutrients.

Seasonal Application: In this case, manure should be applied in spring or fall under moderate climatic conditions. Do not apply nutrition during the warm period because it can cause volatility of nutrients.

• Timely Incorporation: Apply chicken manure and then incorporate it into the ground without any delay. This means that the manure is exposed to environmental elements causing minimal nutrient loss.

These guidelines may assist in maintaining the nutrients in chicken manure available for use by your plants promoting good crops.

3. Moisture

The decomposition of chicken manure requires moisture. Organic matter must be broken down by microorganisms for plant use, and it requires adequate moisture for this process. In this case, the rate of decomposition decreases, preventing an effective release of nutrients important for subsequent germination. It may result in the scarcity of plant nutrients.

But on the negative side, when there are excess amounts of water, then anaerobic conditions occur; a lack of oxygen will be experienced. This may lead to the leaking of dangerous gases such as methane and ammonia while reducing the amount of available nutrients.

Chicken manure decomposition should have an ideal moisture content of between 50% and 60%. The decomposition of vegetation will slow down if the moisture content drops to less than 50%. The moisture content should be less than 60% because anaerobic conditions are possible otherwise.

Managing Chicken Manure Moisture Content:

• Cover where you keep manure. It will avoid dehydration of the manure.

• If it’s too dry, the manure should be added with water. Do not overdo with water, for instance, because it might lead to an anaerobic environment.

• Do not apply manure to the soil during rain or when it is too wet. This will help minimize the possibility of nutrients getting lost in runoff.

If you do this, you get the benefit of chicken manure nutrients going into your plants for the best crop growing.

Additionally, the management of chicken manure’s moisture content should take into account climatic and weather factors. The manure dries faster in hot and dry climate conditions. Wet and cold climates increase the chances of making the manure soggy.

Knowing the climatic and weather situation in your region will help you adequately control the moisture content of chicken manure to enhance plant nutrition.

4. Nutrient Content

Chicken manure contains varying amounts of nutrients depending on some aspects including feeding habits, the age of the birds, and how they are managed. This influences the amount of nutrients in the animal manure that is available to plants.

For instance, bird droppings resulting from feeding on high protein rations will be rich in nitrogen, but their Ph may also be high, making some nutrients unavailable for plants at times. The manure from younger birds is usually richer in nutrients than that from old ones. Such practices include turning raw manure and making the contents of the manure nutrients available to plants using composting.

It is important to test the chicken manure to know its constituents before using it as a fertilizer. It will assist in calculating the right rates for your land. Manure should also be introduced to the soil before planting.

Spreading will lead to a uniform distribution of manures; this may minimize nutrient losses.

These tips will help you make sure that your plants benefit from chicken manure nutrients and flourish.

Tips for optimizing chicken manure nutrient content and bioavailability:

• Balance your bird’s diet. This will make sure of the high contents of important nutrients required by plants for their growth.

• Manage your birds’ litter properly. Do not let the litter remain moist with no good air circulation for nutrient loss.

• Before you use your chicken manure for fertilizing, compost it. Composting allows the breakdown of organic matter present in dung into its most suitable form for absorption by plants.

• Ensure you apply fertilizer to your soil correctly. Over-application of manure results in nutrient toxicities and environmental problems.

If you follow this advice, you will be able to boost your plants’ health using chicken manure-based fertilizers.


Plants require chicken manure as an enriching fertilizer. The nutrient availability in compost however is contingent upon several factors including manure nutrients, soil properties, crop types, and management. Adjusting to the soil pH, applying the right amount of manure on the right time, incorporating it into the soil before planting, and using composted manure rather than uncomposted manure are some of the measures to be taken to increase plants’ nutrients Using chicken manure as fertilizer also improves soil quality in addition, increases agricultural yield and promotes sustainability.

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