I want to know if I need a compost bin with the chickens.......I really don't want to use the deep litter method so should I build one. If any of you have one pics would be great!
Chicken ~ Compost bin
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My husband built a compost bin 4'x4'x4' with wood slat sides. We mix the chicken manure and the manure/litter from inside the coop with garden cuttings, grass, hay, leaves, and coffee grounds from a local coffee shop. It makes fabulous compost for the garden. You definitely need a place to compost your chicken manure before using in the garden.
I use a piece of welded-wire, 4'x12' that the last owner of the house left behind. I pull it into a ring and hook it to itself, makes about a 4' circle. Great for composting leaves, layered with henhouse litter or grass clippings. Smaller mesh would work better for just the litter, to keep the fines contained.
Composting bins don't need to be complicated or fancy. I have a plastic bin with a lid that a friend gave me, and it's okay bit kinda small. Looks nice, and probably cost a lot.
I've also composted in 10 gallon black tubs that trees come in (dumpster salvage) and they work okay, but worms don't find their way in. Works pretty well for quick hot batches of stuff that then gets added to another compost pile later, or for letting mower-shredded fall leaves pre-rot over winter. Not much air, though, so things get anaerobic and stinky.
I've seen three-sided (open front) bins made with pallets.
My compost bin is 6' x 3', and right on the ground. I tried wire the first year, but quickly got frustrated with the pitchfork tines getting caught when I tried to stir close to the sides. So now it's plain wood. It's about 22 " tall, I used two ten-inch wide boards on top of each other, with an inch open at the bottom and an inch in between. A little compost spills out, but not enough to worry about.
That's a large enough bin for me, all the lawn mower clippings go in it, so do the dry fallen leaves, shredded newspaper, and kitchen scraps. When I get my chickens next year I anticipate needing a second one, or making the one I have larger.
Here is pics of my compost bin, shortly after constructed, each section nests onto the next one as it fills. Today it is nearly full with chicken poop saturated shavings, shredded leaves, grass clippings, weeds from the garden, coffee grounds, eggs shells, clam shells, other green scraps from the table, and an occasional shovel full of dirt. It's all processing well and is often visited by my girls...
"Monk's" compost bins are really nice. Mine were made from recycled pallets so they aren't nearly that pretty, but, like someone said they can be as expensive or cheap as you'd like. I like that "Monk" can add to it as it is filled. You really do need two bins so that one can sit while you continue to fill the second bin.
Love the bins, Monk. I have a very similar style only there's no gaps between the layers. They just stack and form solid walls. But basically the same style. I like being able to take off each layer and move the whole bin. I put my compost right in my garden and move it from bed to bed. I get about 3 good piles a year. Chicken litter goes from the coop floor to the "run area" for a while where it can get some rain and break down further. Then to the compost.