Embracing the Quack Revolution: Gardening with Duck Manure

TEG Project Manager

Garden Addicted
Jul 9, 2012
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In the world of gardening, there are countless methods and techniques to enhance soil fertility and maximize plant growth. From composting to mulching, gardeners have experimented with various organic materials to nourish their plants. One such unconventional yet highly effective method involves the use of duck manure as a natural fertilizer. While it may initially raise some eyebrows, the benefits of gardening with duck manure are truly remarkable.

In this article, we will explore the advantages of this alternative approach and discover why ducks might just be the secret weapon for thriving gardens.

The Power of Duck Manure​

Duck manure, also known as "quack fertilizer," is a nutrient-rich organic material that can work wonders for your garden. Ducks are known to have a diverse diet, which consists of insects, weeds, and a variety of greens. Consequently, their manure is packed with essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as trace elements like calcium, magnesium, and zinc. These nutrients are vital for plant growth and overall soil health.

One of the primary benefits of duck manure is its high nitrogen content. Nitrogen is a crucial component of plant growth, promoting the development of lush, green foliage. By incorporating duck manure into your garden, you can provide plants with a sustainable source of nitrogen that will fuel their growth and enhance their vitality.

Another advantage of using duck manure is its superior moisture retention capabilities. The organic matter in the manure acts as a sponge, absorbing water and gradually releasing it into the soil, thus helping to maintain optimal moisture levels. This property is particularly beneficial in arid regions or during dry spells when water conservation is crucial.

Moreover, duck manure acts as an effective soil conditioner. It improves soil structure, enhancing its ability to retain moisture, drain excess water, and allow roots to penetrate more easily. With regular use, duck manure can transform heavy clay soils into loamy, fertile beds that support robust plant growth.

Application and Composting​

Now that we understand the benefits of duck manure, let's explore the practical aspects of using it in your garden. The first step is to collect the manure from your ducks' enclosure or pond. It's essential to maintain good hygiene practices during collection to prevent any potential contamination. Ensure that the manure is free from feathers, bedding, and other debris.

Before directly applying fresh duck manure to your garden, it's advisable to compost it first. Composting helps to break down the manure, neutralize any potential pathogens, eliminate unpleasant odors, and stabilize nutrient levels. You can create a compost pile by mixing the manure with other organic matter such as leaves, straw, or kitchen scraps. Regularly turn the compost pile to promote decomposition and accelerate the process. After a few months, the composted duck manure will be ready to use in your garden.

When applying duck manure compost, it's important to strike a balance. Use it sparingly and avoid over-application, as excessive amounts of nitrogen can lead to nutrient imbalances and potentially harm plants. Start by spreading a thin layer of compost around the base of your plants, gently working it into the soil. Alternatively, you can mix the compost with the top layer of soil when preparing beds for planting. This way, the nutrients will gradually release and nourish the plants over time.


Incorporating duck manure into your gardening practices not only benefits your plants but also promotes sustainability and environmental consciousness. By utilizing the natural fertilizer produced by these feathered friends, you can reduce your reliance on synthetic fertilizers and contribute to a healthier ecosystem.

Duck manure offers a range of advantages, including its nutrient-rich composition, moisture retention capabilities, and soil conditioning properties. The high nitrogen content promotes robust plant growth and vibrant foliage, while moisture retention helps maintain optimal hydration levels in the soil. Additionally, the soil conditioning effects of duck manure improve soil structure, making it more conducive to root growth and overall plant health.

To make the most of duck manure, it is advisable to compost it before application. Composting not only breaks down the manure but also neutralizes potential pathogens and eliminates odors. By composting, you create a well-balanced and stable organic material that can be safely used to nourish your plants.

Remember to exercise caution when applying duck manure compost. While it is a powerful fertilizer, excessive use can lead to nutrient imbalances. Therefore, apply it sparingly and monitor the response of your plants to ensure their well-being.

Gardening with duck manure is a unique and beneficial approach that connects us to nature's cycles and encourages sustainable practices. By embracing this natural fertilizer, you can create thriving gardens while reducing your environmental footprint. So, why not join the quack revolution and let these delightful creatures contribute to the growth and beauty of your garden? Happy gardening!


Garden Ornament
Sep 28, 2022
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South Eastern Montana, Zone 3b
My husband and I just got 19. They are currently using pine needles for bedding until they get feathers. I am going to swap that into my garden, yes I know pine needles aren't the best option for compost etc., but since my soil has no nitrogen at all, it may add at least a bit.

We also got goslings to protect the ducks from predators once we move them outside. Raised together, they should be safer from coyotes, wolves, and bears. My main concern is for the humans that will pass by and steal them or hurt them. I am in the middle of nowhere, but its amazing how quick people are to try to take what is not theirs even out here.


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