An advantage of raising animals is that you can use their manure to fertilize your plants and gardens. Many people who raise poultry agree that poultry manure is nutrient-rich, but that you should be cautious when using it as a fertilizer.
Can duck manure be used as fertilizer?
Duck manure is an excellent choice of organic fertilizer for plants. It is full of nutrients and contains more liquid than chicken manure, which means it provides your plants with the needed nutrients without burning them.
Duck Manure as Organic Fertilizer
In this article, we will analyze the use of duck manure, including the pros and cons of using it as an organic fertilizer, as well as how to use it in your garden.
The Benefits of Using Duck Manure
Duck manure offers several benefits when used as fertilizer, such as quantity produced, quality of material, and safety.
How much manure do animals produce daily? Consider how duck manure compares in quantity to the manure output of other animals.
- Pigs: 11 lbs
- Cows: 65 lbs
- Goats: 0.69 lbs
- Ducks: 0.11 lbs
- Chickens: 0.065 lbs
Ducks produce more manure than chickens. Individuals who raise ducks can take advantage of higher quantities of manure for garden use in comparison to chickens. With duck manure, you can cover a larger area in your garden.
How do you measure the quality, (or nutrient content), of animal manure? You can know the best manure by measuring its NPK values.
NPK ratio (or Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium ratio) is the ratio of the main three nutrients needed for plant growth.
In the ratio, nitrogen is listed first, phosphorus is second, and potassium is third. Therefore, a ratio of 3:2:1 means three parts nitrogen, two parts phosphorus, and one part potassium.
The NPK ratio for animal manure varies by species:
- Cows: 3:2:1
- Goats: 1.35:1:3
- Pigs: 0.8:0.7:0.5
- Ducks: 2.8:2.3:1.7
- Turkey: 2.8:2.4:1.2
- Chickens: 1.5:0.5:0.8
When reviewing NPK ratios to determine fertilizer quality, look for numbers that are close to one another. The less variance between numbers in a ratio, the higher the manure quality will be.
Duck manure has a 2.8:2.3:1.7 NPK ratio (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium).
Safety is a key consideration when working with animal manure. Fresh animal manure can burn your plants. Many gardeners recommend using only decomposed or composted manure in a garden.
Because duck manure is more watery (or diluted) than other poultry manures, it is safer to use in your garden directly.
The watery consistency lowers the concentration of nutrients applied to the plants. However, the consistency does not affect the nutrient content.
Duck manure remains more nutrient-rich than chicken manure without the risk of damaging your plants.
Now that you are familiar with some of the key benefits of using duck manure, here are some tips for how to use it effectively in your own garden.
5 Tips for Using Duck Manure as Fertilizer in Your Garden
1. Apply Directly
Duck manure can be spread in a garden directly around plants. Collect the duck manure and apply it as needed. You can also mix it with water so that you can spray it in the garden.
Note: Keep reading to learn how to make a liquid organic fertilizer using duck manure.
2. Water Plants with Duck Pool Water
If you have raised ducks, you know that they make a mess out of their water. You have to change their water daily because it gets dirty in less than 24 hours. After all, they swim and poop in the same place.
Instead of just throwing away the duck’s dirty water, you can use it as a nutrient-rich way to water your garden.
If you have a large garden, you can fertilize a portion of it each day, substituting the duck water for your normal irrigation water, and moving onto the next section the next day.
3. Make Compost with Duck Manure
Duck manure is an excellent source of nitrogen for plants. This also means that you can use duck manure as the source of nitrogen when making compost.
Duck manure is not only nutrient-rich; it also contains beneficial microbes that can reduce the time it takes to compost.
When making compost, remember to use twenty-five parts dry brown materials (i.e. for carbon) for every one part fresh green material (i.e. for nitrogen).
Duck manure is already watery, so you can reduce the amount of added water when using it for composting.
Items that you can compost with duck manure are:
- Grass clippings provide extra nitrogen to your plants.
- Straw/Hay is a source of carbon for the compost pile.
- Kitchen wastes give a wider range of nutrients to your plants.
Items that you should not compost are:
- Foods Rich in Sulfur: Kitchen wastes such as garlic and onions are rich in sulfur. They can make your compost pile smell unpleasant instead of earthy.
- Bones: You should not compost bones unless you are willing to bake the bones and grind them into smaller bits. Larger bone pieces may not fully decompose at the same rate as other organic material in your compost pile.
- Flesh and Other Animal Products: Animal products such as meat and milk do not decompose the same way as plant residues. The decomposition of animal products may promote the growth of harmful microbes that can damage or infect your plants.
- Salty Items: Too much salt can kill the microbes that work to decompose your compost pile.
4. Allow the Ducks to Forage
Encouraging your ducks to forage in specific areas can make it easier for you to collect and use their manure.
You can place feeding troughs in different locations in the garden to prevent your ducks from assembling in just one place.
You can also disperse duck treats throughout the garden to encourage them to move around more.
Try to restrict ducks from passing through areas where young plants are growing so that the ducks do not trample the tender plants.
5. Make Liquid Organic Fertilizer
Using a liquid organic fertilizer that includes duck manure provides nutrients immediately to your plants. There are three ways to make liquid organic manure:
- Passive method
- Semi-passive method
- Active method (requires bubbler)
The passive method produces a slow-release fertilizer, (though it releases nutrients faster than directly applied duck manure).
Mix warm water with the duck manure in a sealed container for three to four days. After that period, mix the solution with water, (your preferred quantity), and use it in the garden.
This method requires molasses and a little of your attention. Mix duck manure, molasses, and warm water in a container and keep it in a warm place for three to four weeks.
Every two to three days, aerate the solution by stirring or shaking it. After three to four weeks, the solution is ready to use. Mix it with extra water and apply it to your garden.
This method produces a solution that gives readily available nutrients to your plants because the manure is fully decomposed.
The active method requires all the ingredients used in the semi-passive method, along with the additional use of an aerator (or bubbler) to aerate the microbes that break down the manure.
In about two weeks, this mixture should be ready to use in your garden. You do not have to manually mix it (so long as the aerator is working properly).
Duck manure is an excellent fertilizer for your plants. Duck manure has a higher quantity and quality compared to other poultry manure and it is safe to use directly on plants. You can also use it in compost or as a liquid fertilizer.
How have you used (or plan to use) duck manure in your garden? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.