The benefits of using manure as a fertilizer

The benefits of using manure as a fertilizer
Luke Sholl

With many different manures available all year round, taking advantage of our animal friends is a great way to encourage a sustainable and organic approach to growing cannabis. While we cannot guarantee they won't smell, they are all packed full of vital nutrients.

A shining example of organic and sustainable growing, using animal manure to improve the growth of your cannabis plants during the vegetative stage is relatively cheap, better for the environment, and less damaging to your plants than some chemical fertilizers.

Pinpointing the exact moment the first human decided to use animal poo to help fuel the plants they would later come to consume is difficult. It is hard to know how that thought process would have come about. However, we should be grateful it did.

All plants, including cannabis, need a rich collection of nutrients to grow well. By providing everything marijuana needs, you will be rewarded with bountiful buds — that's why using manure is so good. Many forms of manure are incredibly rich in the vital nutrients cannabis needs during the vegetative stage of their life.


Compost first to prevent any unwanted organisms

There are a few of the candidates listed below that do not need this approach, but we would advise it regardless. Hot composting is a term used to describe adding manure to a compost heap first, which after 4-8 weeks is then ready to be used directly on soil surrounding plants.

By adding water so that the heap retains moisture and turning every couple of weeks, it is possible to maintain an average temperature of 49-77°C/120-170°F. By creating a “hot compost” heap, harmful organisms and parasites can be killed off. Composting first will also destroy any pesky weeds that are lurking in the form of rogue seeds.


So which animals make the best candidates?

Some of these may stink a lot more than others. Just remember, that smell comes with a valuable benefit: better buds at the end. You can almost guarantee the scent of huge, pungent buds and that is a worthy tradeoff.

There are a lot of options when it comes to using manure in your cannabis garden. Every option has its benefits and will help you grow in a much more sustainable, organic way.


Chicken manure benefits from being naturally high in nitrogen — an average of 1,5%, but as much as a 2.8% even in some cases. Alongside nitrogen, chicken droppings also feature phosphorus and potassium. Given chicken manure is also light, and easy to get hold of, transporting it to your outdoor growing area should be easy.

Composting chicken manure takes between 6-9 months, so it is a viable solution for those planning next years cannabis cultivation. The wait is worth it though, once it is ready you apply a thin layer as a top dress without fear of the nitrogen burning your plant's roots.


Rabbit manure is one option that doesn't need to be hot composted first. Instead, it can be applied directly to the soil surrounding your marijuana plants. Rabbit manure is also one of the richest in nutrients. In conjunction with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, rabbit manure contains calcium, magnesium, and zinc. The best part, rabbit droppings are odorless!

Apply in a similar fashion as chicken manure by top dressing the soil in your growing area. It can be turned over into the soil but never at more than an approximate 20% ratio of manure to soil.


When people think of manure, it is usually horse or cow manure that springs to mind. Both are a good option and are highly beneficial as both contain a good nitrogen and potassium content.

It can be slightly more costly to transport, but either proves highly beneficial, with about 0,7% nitrogen and 0,5-0,8% potassium content. Both will also need to be composted before applying to soil; they are one of the varieties of manure that is likely to contain unwanted seeds and harmful pathogens.


Pig manure used to be widespread among farmers. However, thanks to commercial growing operations, pig manure can contain many harmful bacterias that deterred farmers from using it on crops. Thankfully, our illustrious hot compost pile comes into play here and does an excellent job of making pig manure ready for use in outdoor cannabis cultivation.

Unlike the previous manures, pig manure is not very high in nitrogen. That doesn’t mean it is useless though. What it lacks in nitrogen, it makes up in phosphorus which is essential for cell development in plants.


Our final suggestion is another that doesn't need to be composted before use. And in much the same way as rabbit droppings, sheeps manure consists of small, odorless pellets packed full of macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Sheep manure is multi-purpose; either apply as a top dress or work it into the soil in the winter to prepare an outdoor grow for the following year. The final benefit comes from a high concentration of potassium. Potassium is vital for healthy root growth.

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl

Fascinated by the wellness potential of nature, Luke has spent over a decade writing about cannabis and its vast selection of cannabinoids. Creating, researching and writing content for Cannaconnection, alongside several other industry-related publications, he uses strong technical SEO skills and diligent research to bring evidence-based material to thousands of unique visitors.