Where can I get my chicken poop tested to see if it's safe to use and sell as a fertilizer?

Asked July 26, 2020, 9:59 AM EDT

Hello and Thank you! I live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area and I have a mini-farm in Walker, MI. I was hoping you could tell me where I can take a sample of my chicken's manure to see if it's safe to use?

Kent County Michigan

2 Responses

I am assuming when you say "safe" you are referring to the pathogen content in chicken manure and the potential to cause illness to humans. Chicken manure contains E. coli, salmonella, and cryptosporidium parasites. Pathogens and parasites can be killed with heat, and the best way for someone in your situation is to compost it. Making compost is both an art and a science. A basic recipe would be two volumes (volume could be a bucket, a scoop, etc.) of carbon (wood shavings, sawdust, shredded paper, etc.) with one volume of chicken manure with enough water to moisten it to the point where it will hold it's shape if squeezed in your hand. Chicken manure is high in nitrogen and will give off copious amounts of ammonia if there is not enough carbon. Watch for the temperature to rise in the pile. It should start within several hours of mixing the feedstocks together. If the pile is not heating up then there is either to much moisture, not enough carbon, or not enough chicken manure. That is where the art comes in. You have to do a little experimenting to determine the optimal recipe. The desired temperature to reach is 131 degrees F for at least 72 hours. Pathogen and parasite kill is a function of time and temperature. If you are going to sell this it is absolutely imperative that you keep accurate records of each batch of compost you make. I strongly recoemmend you folow the guidance found in the USDA Organic Regulations for Organic Compost 7 CFR ยง 205.203(c). I also recommend purchasing "The On-farm Composting Handbook". You can purchase it through Cornell University or Amazon. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me.

You asked for labs that can conduct an analysis. Google A&L Labs (Fort Wayne, IN) or Midwest Labs (Omaha, NE). Both are excellent labs that perform the type of analysis you are looking for.