Hi! Ok, so this isn't technically a coop or run question, but it's related! I've had chickens before. Back then, they lived in an old dog house very close to our actual house. Haven't had any in years, and am interested in being more GREEN now a days.
So, we've got chicks and are working on building the coop. There's an old cement pad out back, a bit away from the house and is bordered by woods (rural NY). The coop is being built a few feet off the ground (on the pad), and the run will be built around the pad. The pad's not in great shape, but that's besides the point. It'll be closed in by hardware cloth, wire on the ground to prevent diggers, chickens will be closed up in the coop at night. OK - so for the most part, it should be fairy predator proof. My dilemma is the compost!
I plan to toss all the "chicken waste" into a fairly open air compost pile along with of course yard and kitchen scraps. First thought, I want it CLOSE to the coop for easy disposal. I don't want it too close to the house either. It seems to make sense, but then... ugh... raccoons and skunks and mice. If the compost pile is close to the chicken coop, am I just ASKING for trouble? Or, will they maybe stay away from the chickens because they'll be able to find all the "free rotting food" they want in the compost pile? Will tossing piles of leaves over the actual food be enough to keep them out? Raccoons and mice are mighty smart and have amazing noses. I know there's not much of a chance of leaves masking the scent of food.
I've had compost piles. I've had chickens. I've never had both at the same time! So, how far from the chicken coop do you keep your compost pile? Do you have suggestions to keep scavengers out of the compost, and NOT alert them to the fact that there's delicious chickens close by? Any and all suggestions welcome! Maybe I need to simply rethink HOW to build my compost bin. I was just going to put up a basic three sided deal, I just don't want it to become a problem by attracting anyone that might want to also eat the chickens. We DO already have enough of them around to worry about. Plus, I don't like them about much when I don't have chickens!
Hardware cloth "box" for compost? It won't keep mice or rats out, but it might help against skunks and coons. HELP! I need to get this built asap. Even little chicks start to make enough of a mess that I've got waste ready for the pile. :)