Chicken keeping is a cost-effective, economical, sustainable approach to our everyday needs.
There has never been a better time to start up a backyard coop than right now. But what do we need to know about our soil before putting chickens in their new home?
A friend of Healthy Homes and Gardens provided some soil from their backyard chicken coop for us to conduct some testing. Using a Bruker S1 Titan to sample our soil, we collected the following results.
What do all these numbers mean?
Our soil passed, with healthy nutrient levels and no hazardous contaminants. You may notice the soils are rich in phosphorous and calcium, while the sulphur levels are higher than is recommended.
Let’s see why…
Q: What causes high levels of phosphorous, sulfur and calcium? A: Phosphorous is found in chicken poop, so, it is no surprise our soil was high in phosphorous. Sulfur is part of plant proteins and is vital for the health of the plant. Calcium is required for the growth of roots and leaves.
Q: How does this affect the health of plants? A: High levels of sulfur and calcium are common in soil. There is no need to worry, as these elements are there to help your plants establish healthy roots and continue to grow.
Q: How does sulfur affect chickens? A: Sulfur has no effect on a chicken’s health/growth. Sulfur will not harm your chickens, nor will it improve your chickens.
In conclusion, the soil was negative for any soil contaminants or dangerously high levels of nutrients, as the soils will be used to house chickens. These chickens can live in a safe and healthy home and we can enjoy their eggs without a worry.
FUN FACT: Sulfur has been used by farmers for decades to control mites on chickens. They receive a little dust bath where the chicken sits in the dust and naturally shakes and fluffs its feathers to remove parasites. This method is even effective on chickens in the same coop who choose not to use the dust bath.
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