The use of organic turkey manure, as well as other poultry manure, to grow plants is gradually becoming more common, as it's found to be an excellent soil amendment. It might be assumed that turkey manure would be a common organic fertilizer ingredient, given the number of turkeys consumed in America in November and December. Unfortunately, since the bulk of turkeys raised for commercial consumption are not in the least bit organic, their waste goes to waste.
Why Fertilize with Organic Turkey Manure?
Since turkey manure is not that common, you may be wondering what its benefit is over cow or other manure. Turkey manure is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It is a little less concentrated than chicken manure, but should still be composted before applying to your garden. If it is applied when it is too fresh, it can cause burning as it breaks down.
In a study by the Federal College of Agriculture in Nigeria, areas that were fertilized with a fertilizer with turkey manure added increased in both soil richness and the lushness of the foliage over other fertilizer combinations. Not only that but the height of the plants, circumference of the stems, and even the weight of the fresh shoots increased.
Cost and Availability
Since there are relatively few organic turkey farms in the United States, organic turkey manure can be pretty scarce. You may be in luck if you can locate an organic turkey farm in your area or you are in a position to raise your own organic turkeys, but most people will not be able to find a good source of this product. If you do find a local source of the manure, be sure to allow it to cure for at least two months before using. According to Seattle Tilth, an organic educational organization, this time in the compost pile allows it to heat up enough to destroy any pathogens that are present as well as break down into rich compost.
Luckily, there really isn't much difference between poultry manure. Organic chicken manure is an available and very reasonably priced alternative. You can also often find sources for organic fertilizer combinations which include turkey manure. This helps to keep the cost down.
Better Nutrition, Better Nutrients
When expressing concern about the high cost of certified organic manure, it can be easy to forget that the benefits of organic agriculture, like the benefits of organic foods, range far beyond the merely financial.
While it's true that raising turkeys organically is more expensive than the battery method of cultivation, a bird that is given better nutrition and a happier life yields a more nutritious meal. Likewise, the bird's improved nutrients make for a more nutritious soil without the need for additives. In turn, this yields finer plants.Thus, the current higher costs must always be balanced against the greater gains. If turkey farmers and gardeners continue to persevere with organic farming, not only will the real costs decline, but the immense benefits well beyond the merely fiscal will increase exponentially and both the population and the planet will be healthier.
Where to Buy Poultry Manure
You may be able to find poultry manure at your local home improvement store like Home Depot, Lowe's, or even Walmart. If you can't find a source for it locally, here are some online venues.
- Odd as it sounds, Amazon carries almost everything; including poultry manure.
- Composter Connection carries many different items for composting and gardening.
- Planet Natural carries organic chicken manure, heirloom seeds, and more for the organic gardener.
Although it may take time to locate a source of organic poultry manure, and especially turkey manure, it is worth the effort. This rich compost material is a valuable addition to your soil.