Bedding and compost - assistance required

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mlorne, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. mlorne

    mlorne In the Brooder

    Mar 30, 2010
    Hello all,

    I recently came into posession of 2.5-3 yards of chipped tree debris (small to medium sized wood chips with shredded leaves). My intent was to line the run and/or the coop with this material, but I have a concern regarding compost.

    I have a 2500 sq. ft garden that consumes a great deal of compost. The poultry manure is invaluable for the compost pile, but the wood chips really do not compost well within a few years. So, if I use the wood chips as bedding in a deep litter method (my preferred) then the poultry manure is tied up in material that is not destined for the (quick) compost pile.

    What are my balanced options at this point? Currently I am using wood shavings as a coop bedding and straw for the run.

    Thanks for the help,

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I normally use fresh wood chips as mulch in landscaping beds. Each year, I replace the wood chips in the landscaping beds and use the year old wood chips as mulch in the garden. When I turn the garden next spring, I turn the old wood chips under. A few may not have broken down but most have. They do help the tilth of the soil tremendously.

    I get my wood chips from a city chipping facility. They take wood from residences or when they trim trees and chip it. I have some concerns that the wood may have undesirable chemicals or seeds in it. By using it in my landscaping beds, the seeds either rot or sprout before they get to the garden and the possible unsavory chemicals have a year to leach away before it gets to food I eat.

    Not saying I am right or wrong. Just the way I do it and why.
  3. Zoomom

    Zoomom Certified Cackleberry Consumer

    Jan 22, 2009
    Ontario, Canada
    I took my wood chip/chicken poo/grass clippings/kitchen waste compost from last fall and put it on my potato plants last month to hill them up, and it is not all broken down looking, but most of it is. It is working really well and is light and fluffy, making it easy to dig into to harvest potatoes. It hasn't killed any plants, and after the veggie garden is done, I will let the girls turn it over and let it mix in for next spring.
  4. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    I alternate the (pine shavings) deep litter in the flower gardens and the compost pile. I have found that the shavings that i add to the compost pile have fully broken down by the following year, but my compost pile is pretty active. I clean out my coop in early May and late October.

    If you are desiring the poo for your garden, have you considered using a poop board? It will make your deep litter last longer and you can clean the board and dump it directly into your compost pile. Or you could probably just add water to the bucket and make a tea and fertilize directly. Make sure it's not too hot.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by