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Chickens and the Compost Bins

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by WeedEater, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. WeedEater

    WeedEater In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2008
    Central Virginia
    I've read some interesting things of late, but a bit of background first:

    First time chicken owner
    8 PBR, at least four roos
    Spacious deep-litter coop
    Spacious run, covered on all sides
    Feeding them Southern States poultry starter and scratch
    Anything we don't eat, we feed the birds
    So far, so good

    I intend to expand the flock next year to about 36 birds. I would move the compost bins, which are made of pallets, into their expanded run, and remove one of the sides so they could just dig in.
    Anybody know of any issues with chickens grubbing in the compost? Will they be selective enough not to eat rotten meat and veggies? Typically we hold on to compost in the house for several days before it gets full enough to dump. I give them table treats after meals so they get plenty of fresh stuff, but I worry slightly about the older stuff from making the meals.
  2. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    I just started composting but was told no meat or bones........attracts critters and various other reasons. I don't know if they can eat our compost..........it's mostly dirty straw that I clean out of the run. Or coffee grounds and veg scraps. Will be interested to hear an answer here.
  3. willowtreecreek

    willowtreecreek In the Brooder

    May 10, 2008
    First rotten meat should NEVER be put into compost!!! This can cause serious health risks! My experience is that the birds will eat what looks good. If there are veggies they will eat them. I am not sure why you want to put the compost in the run though.
  4. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    I was going to use ours for the lawn and garden. I never considered handing it back to the girls in compost form.

    I agree, you shouldn't put meat products in compost.
  5. priszilla

    priszilla Songster

    Jan 12, 2008
    easley sc
    I let my chickens (ha-let-trying to keep them out it was useless) kick around in the heap- but I want to move it- its is too big. All the poo and shavings- I made last years heap into a raised bed for one of my garden beds (I do the square foot garden thing) and started a new heap for the next garden bed basically. It is the favorite place for hte chickens to go dig around.Most of the scraps they get directly -like eatermelon rinds and the like. Weeds and such go in the heap. The dogs get the meat scraps. I wish I had a better place to do my garden though, it is too close to the chickens and they eat as much as we do, I fenced it off but they are sneaky critters. But I have had a lot fewer insect issues!
  6. WeedEater

    WeedEater In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Look, I admit that my research into compost is rather weak, but the whole purpose is to add nutrition to the chickens diet. This comes from reading old stories about the Jamestown colonists (who erroneously developed the Dominique breed), allowing them to roam freely through their trash and middens. I have also read references to chickens eating roadkill brought home in poorer parts of the country and during the Great Depression of the 30's. Additionally I've seen posts about people in Puerto Rico creating a system where a rotten piece of meat is placed in a container with a screened bottom so that their birds can eat the maggots as they drop off.

    Let's face it, protein is the most expensive part of any animals diet, and I'm trying to give my birds the most they can get, whether it be scratching worms or snapping flies, or cleaning up carrion, I don't really care. My concerns are for gleaning the least expensive eggs and meat I can, but I don't want it to be diseased either. As you can probably guess, I don't have a whole heck of a lot of money, or space, but a strong desire to eat organically and from local sources. Reducing waste may not be attractive, but I believe it is important to consider.
  7. hoosierhen

    hoosierhen Songster

    Sep 26, 2007
    Give them the meat before it rots. I sometimes take my table scraps to them after I scrape my plates. The maggots are fresh, not rotten. They would be OK. I do not give my chickens anything obviously spoiled or moldy.

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