Compost questions...running out of room!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kuntrychick, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. kuntrychick

    kuntrychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2009
    Ever since I've had chickens (2+years), I've been wanting to compost but never really knew how.

    This summer I finally got a composter from Sam's. It's on a stand & easily turned. Here's the one I got:

    Well, hubby wanted this as far away from the house as possible so that it wouldn't smell.

    Now, I know the waste will reduce, but I've already got the thing filled up! Between cleaning out the coop & hatching a couple batches of chicks & cleaning their shavings out of the brooder, it fills up QUICKLY!

    I've even got a trash can full of poopy shavings right now that won't fit in the composter.

    Also, as soon as hubby gets finished with the new coop (hopefully this weekend), I will be cleaning shavings out of the old coop & I have nowhere to put them!!

    Can I just make a compost pile? An actual pile that is out in the weather & all? Can it be in the enclosed yard close to the coop for convenience & for the chickens to dig in some? Will it stink too bad (cause it's pretty close to the house)? Will it possibly attract predators?

    Should I make the compost "pile" out there where my composter now is & bring that composter close to the chicken coop (the chickens couldn't dig in it & it doesn't seem to stink since it's closed up)?

    Also, I'm not sure about the shavings & poop ratio in it. There seems to be A LOT more shavings in it than poop. I do have some vegetable scraps in there every now & then (hubby doesn't eat veggies & the few leftovers I have usually go to the chickens). There are some coffee grounds & filters, tea bags, & a few egg shells in it.

    Plus, I have a TON of leaves that I've raked up & bagged from the yard & piles I haven't yet bagged & tons more that are falling & I have nowhere to put them!!

    Also, I have a coffee can under the kitchen sink I was keeping coffee grounds & egg shells & such in to eventually take out to the composter when it's full. Well, I opened it up & it's got mold in it. Is that still ok to put in the composter? What about worms I find in the yard while raking under the wet leaves (from rain the other day)...can they go in there...will they help break the material down faster?

    Thanks for any & all composting advice/tips.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    There is an entire forum just about composting over on Garden Web.

    I have to keep two compost bins. But at least the deer won't eat your chicken manure, so yes, you can just pile it on the ground. Or build a 3 sided frame to hold it.
  3. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Yep. Just take 4 pallets and nail them together in a square and you gotcha a new compost pile. Water it every now and then and turn it with a shovel every now and then and then you'll have a heapful of compost for your garden. [​IMG]
  4. SueBaby

    SueBaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2011
    Oceanside, CA
    In general if you compost "correctly" it doesn't smell. Correctly basically means that you don't have more high nitrogen/green stuff (poop, veggie scraps, coffee grounds, etc) than you do high carbon/brown stuff (leaves, shavings, newspaper, etc). However, correctly also means that those 2 ingredients are in a pretty good balance and are well mixed together. If you have much more carbon than nitrogen your pile will not decompose as quickly.

    One thing you could do to help you stay in balance would be to add in some grass clippings. If you don't mow this time of year then you could try to find a coffee house near you that would give you their old coffee grounds. I know Starbucks shops around here do that. Another possibility would be to find a way to set up poop boards so that you can remove more poop and less bedding when you clean up in your coop.

    I've seen people set some stakes in the ground and surround them on 3 sides with chicken wire. Then they throw their compostable stuff in there and leave the side and top open for mixing. If you keep the right balance even this shouldn't smell or attract flies. You should probably bury any veggie scraps to keep away rodents, or better yet, only put edibles in your enclosed composter. If I had to choose I would keep that bigger, open set up away from the house and bring the small enclosed composter closer.

    You can always just pile your leaves. They will compost eventually even by themselves.

    I hope that helps.
  5. Impress

    Impress Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    Gray, TN
    I just toss all of mine into a gigantic pile that I water, rake, flip, and flop (with help from the chickens who enjoy digging in it for yummy bugs and scraps) and it never smells. I plant butternut squash in the pile in the Spring, then start a new pile somewhere else on my property. I get some fantastic squash from growing it straight in the compost, then when all the squash is harvested that pile gets loaded into the wheelbarrow and moved onto my main garden. Lather, rinse, repeat.

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