The poop on turkey poop

“Up on the rooftop reindeer pause…”

Turkeys struttin' their stuff in my front yard.

Wait a minute; it’s too late for that. Those are 20-pound turkeys scrambling around my rooftop, driving my two dogs, and thus me, into a frenzy inside the house. Jerry runs out with a broom to shoo the turkey-toms away, but they’ll be back tomorrow: strutting, fanning, digging, scratching, pecking, wobbling, gobbling, peering…and pooping. Lots and lots of pooping.

My neighbor, who feeds the turkeys, diligently walks around the neighborhood collecting turkey poop in a plastic jug. He uses it in his compost and swears that turkey poop is one of the best natural fertilizers around.

I decided to investigate his claim further, and here’s what I found out about the benefits of turkey poop in the garden:

First, turkeys do, in fact, excrete a lot of waste. Large tom turkeys at 16 weeks old let loose a little more than 1 pound of manure every day. Females poop only slightly less than 1 pound a day.

Second, according to the OSU Extension Service’s Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley (2017),  poultry poop, whether turkey or chicken, has the third-highest levels of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (N-P-K) of any animal fresh manure, behind goat poop and the hyper-pooping bunny rabbit poop. (I know rabbits poop a lot because Jerry and I inherited one when my daughter went off to college.)

The drier the manure is, the more nutrients it contains.

Third, turkey poop usually breaks down more rapidly than other fresh manures, so it can be used more quickly in the garden. The best way to use turkey poop is by hot composting or brewing up a compost tea.

Fourth, turkey poop will last for two years, so you can collect it and and use it for a couple of garden seasons.

So, my neighbor is right to collect the turkey poop and use it as an effective soil amendment. I wonder if he’ll climb up on my roof and collect it there?

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  • About the Author

    Rhonda Nowak

    Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, writer and teacher. With more than 25 years of gardening experience and a Ph.D. in literature and language arts education, she combines a love for plants, poetry, and prose in her Literary Gardener blog. ... Full Profile
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