Does Chicken Poop Kill Grass?

You’ve noticed that your backyard chickens are pooping all over the yard. The first question that comes to mind is, “does chicken poop kill grass?” We all know that chickens poop everywhere, but will it ruin your yard, and what’s the best way to use it to help your lawn?

Does Chicken Poop Kill Grass?

Chicken manure is high in nitrogen and contains a good amount of phosphorous and potassium, making it an excellent fertilizer for your lawn and other types of plants, but too much of the nutrients can kill the grass.

Chicken poop one of the safest fertilizers choices for your home, as it is less likely to contain diseases than different types of fertilizers. As a homeowner, you’ll need to learn how to use chicken safely and the right amounts so you don’t kill the grass.

Types of Grass

There are various types of grass on homeowners’ lawns throughout the United States. 

Each type will have unique features and will require different types of care. Below you’ll find a table with a list of the most common types of grass in the United States as well as how much nitrogen is required.

Grass TypePounds of Nitrogen/ 1000 square feet
Zoysia Grass3 – 4
Fine Fescue2 – 3
Buffalo0 – 2
Bermuda Grass2 – 6
Centipede Grass1 – 2
Blue Grama1 – 2
Kentucky Bluegrass4 – 6
Tall Fescue2 – 6
Bentgrass4 – 6

(source)

Chicken poop will be beneficial for all types of grass. That said, there are some things you need to know about when using it as fertilizer. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use chicken manure in your yard.

Is Chicken Poop Good for Grass?

Chicken poop can provide grass the nitrogen it needs to thrive. Like all living things, grass requires nitrogen and nutrients to survive. Nitrogen is the nutrient that gives the grass a beautiful green color and helps it grow.

Find out why chickens are good for your yard, and how they can keep pests and weeds to a minimum.

If your grass shows any signs of nitrogen deficiency, such as slow growth, yellowing blades, and thin patches, chicken manure can help revive it. 

When used correctly, chicken manure is excellent for creating a beautiful green lawn. You can also use it for vegetable gardens, composting, plants, and fruit trees.

Not only can chickens provide your family with fresh eggs for breakfast. But free-range chickens can also help fertilize your lawn without you have to buy a lot of store-bought fertilizer. 

Nutrients In Fresh Chicken Manure

Below is a table of the macronutrients and micronutrients found in fresh chicken manure.

NutrientQuantity
Zinc0.090
Calcium3.200
Magnesium0.290
Boron0.060
Sulfur0.310
Magnesium0.089
Iron0.046
Copper0.002
Molybdenum0.006
Chlorine0.080

Benefits of Chicken Manure for Grass

To better understand why chicken manure is excellent for grass, you first need to know how the micronutrients above are vital for your lawn and the signs of deficiencies. 

What Are Micronutrients?

Micronutrients are the major groups of nutrients every living organism, even grass, needs for growth. Micronutrients and macronutrients provide benefits for both the grass and soil. 

Calcium (Ca)

Calcium is a micronutrient that helps maintain the soil’s pH level and helps stimulate the lawn’s enzyme activity and metabolism. If a yard is deprived of calcium, it will have dead tips, brown grass blades, and dying grass. 

Too much calcium can cause potassium, magnesium, and manganese deficiencies. 

Manganese (Mn)

Manganese is a micronutrient that is a vital component of photosynthesis that allows grass (plants) to convert light to energy. It helps fortify turfgrass for the winter. 

A deficiency in the nutrient will cause sandy soils and low pH. Too much manganese can react negatively with both calcium and magnesium causing a nutrient lockup. 

Sulfur (S)

Sulfur is responsible for providing protein for your lawn, which helps produce nitrogen. It also helps regulate the pH of the soil. Too much sulfur can burn the roots of the grass.  

Iron (Fe)

Iron plays a significant role in chlorophyll and protects your lawn from fungus, especially in wet conditions. Signs of deficiency are; chlorosis, aka yellow discoloration. This means your lawn isn’t producing enough chlorophyll. 

Copper (Cu)

Copper is responsible for producing chlorophyll and activating enzymes. It is also accountable for fortifying cell well strength and overall health for turf grass. 

Grass that is deficient in copper will have sandy soils and high pH levels. 

Phosphorous (P)

Phosphorous is a macronutrient that is responsible for transferring energy throughout grass and plants throughout the year. Proper amounts of phosphorous in the soil will help turf grass become lush and thick, as it promotes strong root growth. 

Signs of deficiency will cause the blades to become a dark-green color with a reddish-purple pigmentation. 

So what does all the above mean? 

It means chicken poop is great for your grass, but you want to ensure they don’t poop all in one area, so they don’t kill it. 

How Much Nitrogen Is in Chicken Poop?

Since nitrogen is the most important nutrient for your grass, it’s normal to wonder how much chicken manure compared to other types of animal manure. Sheep cow and other animal manure contain about:

  • Nitrogen: 1%
  • Potassium: 1%
  • Phosphorous: 1%

Chicken manure contains about:

  • Nitrogen: 5%
  • Potassium: 2%
  • Phosphorous: 3%

As you can see, chicken manure contains higher amounts of nutrients for your lawn. So it’s important to ensure you’re not letting your chickens poop in one area, otherwise, it can kill the grass.

Why Is Nitrogen Important for Grass?

Nitrogen is the most important nutrient required for all living organisms, even grass. It allows grass to grow new green foliage and enables the soil to photosynthesize and provide energy to the roots for proper growth and disease prevention.

Without nitrogen, the grass will have a pale yellow-green color, and won’t be able to grow. Too much of it will “burn” your lawn which results in dead or brown grass patches, where it’s getting too much nitrogen.

How to Get Your Chickens to Poop In Different Areas?

Now that you know chicken manure can make good fertilizer getting them to poop in different areas can be challenging. Unfortunately, chickens have a mind of their own and will poop wherever they want. 

Chickens will poop all over your porch, lawn, lawn chairs, walkways, and anything else they come into contact with. They will even poop on their own eggs!

If you want them to fertilize different areas of your yard, you’ll need to set up a fenced-in area for the section you want fertilized. 

Once they’ve fertilized that specific area, move the fence to the next area. It is a lot of work, but it won’t take long, depending on how many backyard chickens you own. 

Conclusion

Chicken poop can make an excellent fertilizer for grass, especially if your grass shows any signs of nitrogen deficiency. If used correctly, it won’t ruin your yard and can turn your yellow dying grass into a beautiful lush green turf.

Their droppings are higher in nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium than other types of fertilizer, and it can save you money from buying it at a home improvement store. 

Chicken poop is high in nitrogen, and lots of it in one area can burn the grass in high concentrations. It is an excellent nitrogen fertilizer in low concentrations that will help make your grass green, beautiful, and grow.

You can also use chicken poop for your vegetable garden, compost, and fruit trees.

So, if your grass is showing signs of deficiency, let your chickens roam around your yard so they can fertilize it naturally!

Sources

http://nutrite.com/ressources_sheets/Nutrient%20Deficiency%20Symptoms.pdf

https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/GHGS-02.pdf