access to compost in the run? ANyone do this?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by johndeerelover, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. johndeerelover

    johndeerelover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you let your chickens access the compost all the time? Anyone have photos of how they keep the compost in a somewhat pile while letting the chickens access it? Have you found any cons to doing this? Is it worse for parasites as compost is usually damp?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    The worst thing is that I have to keep piling it up. They do help turn it and find stuff to eat.
    My compost isn't in the run but whenever I open the pens that are close, usually the first place they go is into the compost.
     
  3. Nutmeg101

    Nutmeg101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is in the yard, not the run. But they seem to love digging in it. If they spread it out too much- I use the pitchfork and pile it up. [​IMG]
     
  4. Irishhenman

    Irishhenman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use the Balfour system in one of my runs. the centre pen is pretty much a compost heap. I throw in grass cuttings, autumn leaves, weeds from the garden, shredded paper and other compost able things (not food waste though that goes into the compost bins). I put in straw and sand if it gets to mucky. I empty out the run twice a year and spread it between the raised beds, in early spring before we start planting and in early winter when we are finished growing and we are about to cover over the beds. I find it great
     
  5. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use a three sided compost bin that I made from pallets, with the fourth side having removable slats that you can add or remove as the compost pile grows. Chooks jump in, eat some treats, till things up and provide there own 'contribution' to the heap. Very little spills out.

    Here is a link I started a bit ago describing how we roll: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/827248/composting-in-the-run


    EVERYTHING goes in our pile. Non-meat kitchen scraps, yard and garden waste, spent bedding, etc. We layer with dirt/sand or geen waste (like hay or corn stalks or someting) as needed.

    When we started we left the top open, and found that the heap got much too yet from the rain and attracted flies. So, we have since added a piece of old plastic roofing material to the top, weighted down with a brick, it works perfect. We'll move as needed, and maybe remove it during alight shower if the pile needs some water.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  6. Janet Pesaturo

    Janet Pesaturo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have 5 compost bins, each 3 x 3 x 3 ft, made of wood, with one side of each bin having removable slats. The chickens perch on the upper rims and jump into the bins when they want to forage. The piles stay contained within the bins as the chickens scratch away. The bins are located in a fenced chicken yard (about 1/3 acre in size). They are between the garage and some apple trees, so it is a shaded, sheltered area where it is hard for predators to see the chickens. The compost is definitely a major attraction for the chickens - As soon as I let them out each day, they race over to the compost to see what's new.

    I, too, put all non-meat kitchen waste, garden/yard waste in the compost, and leave the tops open, but have had no trouble with flies. Perhaps that's because I do turn/aerate it sometimes. If the fresher stuff does not stay exposed for very long, it does not attract flies.
     
  7. johndeerelover

    johndeerelover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like a neat setup Janet. Do you happen to have any photos?
     
  8. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a couple of wire bins for compost, but they are empty. My hens ARE my composters! The coop and run are dirt floored. I toss in grass clippings, leaves, pea hulls, corn shucks, garden trimmings, sawdust, anything and everything organic. What they don't eat, they poop on and scratch to bits. 2 or 3 times a year, I clean it out and put it on the garden. It is black, crumbly and garden gold! The only time I use the compost bins is if I get so much from the coop/run that I have to put it in the bins. And yes, the girls will get in the bins and go to town in them. Eh.....let them have their fun. [​IMG]
     
  9. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:We were leaving the tops of ours open, but with all the rain we got this year, the compost pile was a saggy mess - which in turn attracted flies. Once I covered the top of the bin, and the heap was allowed to dry up a bit and the flies were no more. I too also turn the pile (lightly) once or twice a week to mix in any fresh stuff. Once a month or so, I'll turn it all the way to the bottom.
     
  10. Janet Pesaturo

    Janet Pesaturo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just took this photo today for you. It's not great, but I think you get the gist from it. You can see a sliver of the garage on the right, house in the background, and apple trees on the left. A few of the chickens are in or on the bins. It's a nice protected area where they can do what chickens like to do.
    [​IMG]
     

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