compost and chicken scratching

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by apowell, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. apowell

    apowell Out Of The Brooder

    May 1, 2012
    Olympia, Washington
    This was my first winter with chickens and I'm working out how to compost with chicken-leavings. I have a combination of straw and pine shavings in the coops and runs. Used bedding goes to a "compost pile" which basically means I'm stacking it up in the corner of the yard and hoping it magically becomes compost some day :)

    The chickens love scratching through the pile when they are out free ranging and do a wonderful job, but I'm wondering if it is ok for them to dig through a pile of their own droppings. I'm considering incorporating the waste pile in their scratching pen, but wondering if that would just concentrate the droppings and breed disease.

    What do you think? The girls have other grazing area in their pen, so they wouldn't be on the poop/compost pile 100%. I could see going in the Spring & Fall and cleaning out the scratch pen for garden compost, but otherwise wouldn't mess with it much.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  2. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    If they are scratching in their "waste pile" then I would definetly put a small fence around your pile area. I have a pile away from my coop and run that I load up in a wheelbarrow every so oftern and then spread directly on the garden. It make a GREAT fertilizer! Our chickens free range in an acre area and do not scratch in the poo pile area at all even though it is within their free range area. If they scratched in it then I would add a 10' dia fence around the pile to keep them away from it.

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