Compost as feed, sorta

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jimla, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. jimla

    jimla Out Of The Brooder

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    I compost everything from the kitchen and office in my backyard, three bin system. Coffee grounds, veggie scraps, donuts, pasta, meat...anything that will biodegrade when mixed with shredded leaves except bones. In warmer weather its a hot pile and the items are "gone" in a few days. No odors, no vermin. With the milder winter, the composter is working more like a vermicomposter. It doesn't get too hot and as a result the pile is full of red worms that the chickens enjoy. Rather than picking out a handful as a treat, could I dump a few forks of raw "compost" with hundreds of worms in it for our 4 chickens to enjoy? In additon to the worms it would be a mix of half rotted scraps mentioned above. Any concerns with feeding this to my chickens maybe once per week? If not any precautions to doing so? Thoughts one way or the other? Thanks.
     
  2. Frost Homestead

    Frost Homestead eggmonger

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    I don't think you'd have any issues doing that. I have a huge compost area and my birds get right up on top of it and start digging, especially when they know I just took out my kitchen compost container and emptied it on top
     
  3. Frost Homestead

    Frost Homestead eggmonger

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    [​IMG]

    oh and I almost forgot, Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    [​IMG]

    Moldy food can kill chickens. It is not advisable to give them anything spoiled. I would keep them away from old rotting food.
     
  5. Tallulah Chicklet

    Tallulah Chicklet Out Of The Brooder

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    Those chickens must love you! Mine is a combo of the above answers... I've given mine handfuls from the worm box, but I've sifted out the chunks of food first, and they do love the compost pile, too, but it is well composted. Worms are a nice high-protein snack. I think a big attraction in compost is also seeds, insects and insect eggs.

    I throw non-rotten, non-moldy, non-poisonous (avocado is toxic to chickens) kitchen scraps, grass and weeds over the fence into the chickens' leaf pile/compost and they spend a good part of their day scratching through it. Anything rotting/moldy/spoiled is mixed into a biostack composter, and when that is digested, I'd be willing to let them forage in it. I don't think of compost as "rotten", to me rotten is slimy and stinks, while compost is earthy and smells good (sounds like what you have). Some molds can produce toxins that could poison chickens, so that is the consideration.

    Some people seem to think that worms can carry parasites, but I have trouble believing that it would have much of an impact on healthy chickens if it were true. Better they build up a resistance to parasites, and I can't see that you can tell your chickens to not eat worms anyway!

    So, I would give the forkfuls to your chickens, but from an area that is fairly well cooked and I would look first and remove anything that is obviously inappropriate.

    Welcome to BYC!!!!!!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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  7. TN_BIRD

    TN_BIRD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens love my compost pile. When I turn the pile (I'm pretty diligent about it), the birds come running. Sometimes they get all up on it and I practically have to shoo them away.

    Watching them scratch and hunt on the pile is actually pretty cool. It's one of our favorite chicken TV shows. [​IMG]
     
  8. jimla

    jimla Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks all for the input. And thanks for the welcome
     
  9. Avonlea22

    Avonlea22 Jessamine Cottage

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    I would refrain from putting meat in the compost pile. Meat doesn't belong there and should just be thrown out.

    Welcome to BYC!!
     
  10. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have the compost pile in the chicken run. The girls do all of the work. They shred it to bits and turn it over. It's a great boredom breaker, they eat bugs, and it's a good source of useful microbes. That said, I'm careful not to put in too much food that they'll overeat and set their protein/mineral out of whack. I'm also careful not to add meat - not that the girls won't eat it up, but I don't want to attract predators. I don't put their own waste in it- that way I minimize internal parasites. I have a compost pile outside of the run for manure and overflow. But, the girls get all of the garden weeds, etc, and kitchen scraps. It keeps them happy and it reduces my work load! I have more on my blog.
    http://www.hencam.com/henblog/2011/06/the-compost-queen/
    and here:
    http://www.hencam.com/henblog/2009/04/compost/
     

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