compost pile in chicken coop

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickenwho, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. chickenwho

    chickenwho New Egg

    Dec 25, 2010
    Haven't seen this mentioned, and i'm starting to wonder if this is a bad idea... It started with a barrel of apples i dumped in the chicken coop for them to eat. I thought also it would attract worms from the ground. Then i started putting all compostables into the pile and it SEEMS to be a good idea for several reasons.

    1. Compost pile is fenced, (inside the chicken coop) keeps the dogs out of it.
    2. the chickens can scratch around in it and eat what they like
    3. i keep my rake and shovel out there and turn it (them actually) every few days
    4. I rake up droppings from coop frequently, maybe weekly.. and toss that into the piles. I also use "deep litter" so some of that goes too.
    Oh, and by the way... where i live our trash/recycle place provides FREE wood chips.. and that is mainly what i use for the flooring...
    5. I figure if mice come around, maybe the chickens will get them... so chickens may actually help control mice infestation.
    6. I frequently rake the entire chicken yard and it goes into the piles.
    7. I put everything in these compost piles (that is compostable)... coffee grains, veg peelings, fruit peelings, old fruits vegs, etc....

    But my concern is am i putting something in the chicken coop that could cause disease or infestation or anything? I intend to eventually move it to my garden when it's time. (i dont' actually have a garden yet)... and i also thought this would invite worms to come to surface for easier pickings, sort of like stocking the chicken yard with worms... But is there something i'm not thinking about that could harm them? They seem to enjoy scratching around in the freshly turned compost.

    Oh, and another benefit of having it in the chicken yard, apparently when i turn it and such and rake the yard, the chickens must see me as the MASTER of all scratchers... they currently stay holed up in the coop for the winter wet weather , but when i come out there, scratching or not.. they come out of the coop and start scratching around.. frolicking and dust bathing.. it's like i am some sort of security figure to them. I just guess i am the MASTER scratcher.

    Any ideas on this? ANy concerns? Thanks.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I have read on this message board someone said that their chickens got sick from eating/drinking from the compost pile runoff.

    Moldy feed can kill chickens.

    I personally don't allow my chickens access to any old food.
  3. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I was thinking the same thing...they could get a hold of something moldy and get sick.
  4. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    Right. There are a lot of things that are compostable that are not edible.
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Oh, I have read that you can lay cardboard on the ground and it will attract earthworms to the surface, but haven't actually tried it.


    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  6. freemotion

    freemotion Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Western MA
  7. chickenwho

    chickenwho New Egg

    Dec 25, 2010
    Quote:Thank you ... and YES it will attract worms .. pretty much anything will work.. .plywood works too... but i was thinking a few inches of compost under the .. whatever.. then when i relocate it i could shovel the compost onto the top of the whatever so the worms cant escape to the underworld before dinner time. ..

    it appears so far, the only concern is they will ingest something moldy by keeping a compost pile in the chicken pen ... I also free feed them crumbles.

    Just for the record, they have had access to my compost pile for about 8 months and so far so good.... but still i am open to what others think. thanks.
  8. panner123

    panner123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    Not sure if I read just where the pile is, but if it is in the coop it will add heat to it. This will keep your chickens warm in the winter. Somewhere over the years I have hear that a compost pile in the coop saved the chickens from being frozen during one extreemly cold winter. My chickens have been getting in my compost pile for around 60 years and they love the little goodies they find in it. Plus any scratching they do is helps with the turning.
  9. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009
    My Coop is on a brick foundation (hand built) with a sub-ground level dirt floor which I use the Deep Litter Method in. It does compost during the winter adding heat and is often 10 to 15 degrees warmer then outside. The rubber tub for water rarely freezes or only a skim of ice while the outside rubber tub will be a solid block for weeks. (See my BYC page for Coop pics)
  10. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    Giving chickens access to the compost pile is a bad idea... period. Many people discover that their feed has become wet and moldy but don't think it will make a big effect of their birds, the next day they only wake up to half their flock. A few years ago I lost two to that, and a few days ago I left the food can open and had to throw it out. Chickens' poop and leftover scraps can go in the compost pile, NOT the chickens themselves. And I've read never to give your chickens coffee grains.

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