Compost feed?? How do I identify the larvae??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by wendyrun, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. wendyrun

    wendyrun In the Brooder

    May 25, 2010
    Gainesville, FL

    I have a compost bin that we put EVERYTHING into. We had an environmentally conscious friend who told us the only reason not to put meat scraps and bones in the compost was due to likelihood of drawing rats and longer decomposition time. However, we hardly ever use the compost around the yard anyway. It's mostly coffee grounds and food scraps, and I also dump the shredded paper that I put in the bottom of my finch cages. Occasionally banana leaves when we prune the trees. No doggie poo and no grass clippings going in.

    It's been very hot here (haha, like everywhere else) and my compost is very wet, and as frequently happens, it's basically a shuddering mass of ookie looking worms. I thought they were maggots - but reading here sounds like they might be black soldier flies? I actually came on here to read if I can scoop out a cup of these worms to give the chickens (ETA is TOMORROW, finally!!!).

    Does anyone know how to identify them? right now it's a big ole mess of brown tea brimming with these things, so I can't even tell if they are brown, too, or just colored by the liquid.

    I've grossed myself out - but if the chickens will like them and it's safe to feed, I would love to take advantage of that resource [​IMG]

  2. Organics North

    Organics North Songster

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    How does it smell?
    My rule is if it smells ok then it is OK (Good bacteria at work) If it smells bad it is anaerobic and bad bacteria is at work.

    In the future I suggest covering the compost pile with a tarp, and only let get damp, not wet. Wet suffocates the pile and does not let enough oxygen in, which lets bad bacteria take over.

    A just damp pile that is turned often is teaming with good bacteria and all kinds of larva. I am not so concerned about the larva but the bacteria in the wet compost.

    I will compost meat and bones, but in a pile that is intensively managed and a temp of 150 is held for many weeks, with the pile being turned a few times a week. Composting meat and bones is tricky.. IMO not because of attracting rats but because of if you do it wrong you can breed some nasty microlife.... In a proper hot compost pile I will have large whole fish just disappear in a week or two, completely converted to nutrients by the bacteria.

  3. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    I agree with ON. If it smells O.K., then it's probably O.K. for the chickens to dig around in. As he said, you really have to worry about the anaerobic bacteria. Keep the pile as moist as a wrung out sponge and turn it regularly and those problems generally won't develop. I think there are enough compostable materials that come through a household to feel O.K. about throwing meat by-products into the garbage (or the dog, or to the chickens for that matter). I keep my compost in bins and when I have finished compost, I let the chickens tear through it first before I use it. It is one of their favorite things to do and a single bin's worth of compost will keep them busy for days. I don't worry about the bugs in there at all. They seem to think they're delicacies. Take advantage of that resource wendyrun!
  4. wendyrun

    wendyrun In the Brooder

    May 25, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    Well, I had better 'fess up, we do nothing with this compost. It's one of those black plastic bee-hives, so it's got a cover. I keep the cover on so it made this soupy stew all on its own. It is so scary looking that I haven't stuck anything in there to give it a swirl, b/c I'm so disgusted by the volume of creep crawlies (that's the scientific name, I'm pretty sure!) in there.

    Also we have had rats but not now. And I think raccoons trying to pull the top off occassionally. The lid locks, and we had to repair the ventilation holes (someone chewed in) and now it does not look like anyone has been grazing in there. I pity the critter that tries to go in that thing now!

    I will have to discuss w/hubby what anaerobic smell might be. He's got a science background, not me!!
    will advise on the 'bouquet' [​IMG]


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