From fresh eggs to organic, grass-fed, free-range meat, it seems like the benefits of chickens are exponentially growing. The one drawback of raising chickens, or any livestock, is dealing with chicken droppings.
Eco-farmers across the world are countering this drawback by using pyrolysis to transform chicken droppings into fertilizer while reducing CO2 emissions and harvesting biogas during the process. Pyrolysis is the process of heating raw organic product — animal and agricultural waste — under extreme temperatures without the presence of oxygen; sometimes temperatures reach higher than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Oxygen reacts with the organic dung to produce greenhouse gasses; heating the dung without oxygen keeps CO2 from releasing into the atmosphere. The process takes a few hours and produces a porous, charcoal-like object called biochar, which is used as fertilizer. During the process, the high temperatures cause gasses to emit, which are collected in a series of chambers and used as fuel for households and cars.
Chickens produce two types of droppings, faecal and caecal. The latter are produced every eight or so droppings, and are much stickier and smellier than the faecal (normal) droppings. Typically chicken poo is left up to a year to rot down sufficiently before it is used in the garden. It is an excellent activator when added to the compost bin mixed in with other compost materials but avoid masses of any one thing (e.g. grass, dung, newspapers - get a mixture layered).
Once composted it can be dug in the ground or used as a mulch under fruit bushes and trees. All animal faeces/urine are useful and most of it is better (more easily useable by the plant) if the nitrogenous constituents are allowed to degrade.
Just leave bacteria and fungi to do this in a compost bin but keep it moist and covered. Do not leave it in a heap exposed to rain as the most useful compounds will dissolve in the water and run off in the ground to waste.
It is a myth that you cannot use fresh chicken poo in the garden. Digging in a small amount of fresh chicken poo in the garden is also an option.
Fresh poultry litter is strong stuff and highly concentrated (i.e. more nitrogen per unit weight) which makes it a good mid to long term slow release fertiliser and soil conditioner which is beneficial and lasting up to 3 years.
Another option is to gather the chicken poo and mix it with water and use it as fertiliser. This is beneficial for leafy vegetables such as brassicas.