How Chickens Poop Money πŸ“πŸ’©πŸ’²

July 11, 2022

Who would've ever thought you would open an blog about chicken poop? πŸ˜‰

Now since I've peaked your curiosity lets explain where I'm going here...

This is the first year that we have raised our pasture-raised chickens here on the ranch. In the past Brian would lease small acerages in the Treausre Valley and raise the chickens close to home. This year all things fell into place for him to bring the chicken operation up to the ranch.

We knew that chicken manure was a powerful fertilizer, so we knew there was certainly a benefit to having the chickens here, but we did not expect what a fast change we would see to our pastures.

On our ranch we have not used nitrogen fertilizers in over 30 years. Due to our management of our cattle, we get everything we need directly from the cattle and don't need that extra input from outside sources. That doesn't mean the land doesn't benefit from extra fertilizer, but we didn't need it.

When there is a concentration of animals in one area it can leave amazing nutrients or it can ruin the ground. This is why moving the chickens every day is absolutely critical. In one day they can leave a significant amount of manure, and leaving them more than 2 days can end up killing the pasture. Here are the chicken enjoying their fresh grass after being moved.

Here is their pasture from the the previous days. You can see the concentration of chicken manure they can put down in just 24 hours! 

The amazing thing is looking further back in the photo you can see how quickly that grass begins to grow again! 

In this picture you can see the line where we had the first day of chickens on pasture. Look at how lush and green the grass is on the left compared to the grass on the right! We certainly didn't expect to see such dramatic results like that! 

As ranchers our entire business revolves around growing grass. The more grass we grow = running more cattle = more profitable ranch for our family.

The amazing thing about regerative agriculture is that you can build up the fertility of land and the land actually gives back more. It doesn't degrade the land over time, but increases it's health and fertility. 

This is another reason why diversity on the land is important too. Chicken manure is "hot" which means it has a lot of nitrogen, as well as other minerals like phosphorus and dozens of trace minerals. The grass is able to utilize it very quickly, which is why the grass looks so dramatically different after running the chicken houses across the pasture. The chemical nitrogen that most commercial farmers use also allows for quick growth, but it doesn't have the balance of other minerals that chicken manure has. Because if this lack, chemical nitrogen will cause the grass to suck other minerals out of the soil to fuel the rapid growth. This is why chemical fertilizers diminish the soil over time.

By bringing the chickens up to our pastures this year, we are seeing a massive increase in the fertility of our pastures, which will have long-lasting benefits to our ranch fertility into the future. With proper grazing management, these nutrients will be recycled into the soil for use next year and for many years to come.

Basically, everyday the chickens are here, they are pooping money all over our pastures!

Poop on chickens, poop on.

Liz Cunningham

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