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Composte Pile Info/Pictures????

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Janos&Jen, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. Janos&Jen

    Janos&Jen In the Brooder

    Jan 3, 2010
    Spring Hill, FL
    I would like to see people's compost piles. Crazy request huh? Will be starting one soon and haven't a clue how to do it. Obviously pile it all up but I heard you need to "stir" occasionally??

    I love this place!! My husband thinks I am CRAZY (and he might just be right)!!!!!!!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
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  2. CARS

    CARS Songster

    Yes, you should stir it and keep an equal balance of greens and browns to keep the pile hot.

    Me... It's more of a "decomposition" pile than a compost pile.

    Pictures.... ya sure. I think this is spring. Here is the the garden with the compost pile in the back:


    And here is a "close up":


    From the looks of it, I pulled out the stuff that was on it's second year (darker stuff to the right) and pushed up last falls coop cleanings where the 2nd year stuff was.
    If you look behind the fresher pile, you'll see some weeds and dirt. That is my 100year pile. Branches, boxes, tin cans.... A bunch of junk that we cleaned up when we cleared off the garden area.

    You'll also see in the first picture, the first bed has manure/bedding on it. I apply that in the fall to kill off weeds from crops harvested early.
    The third bed has already been seeded with potatoes. That straw doesn't have any manure in it.
  3. Organics North

    Organics North Songster

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    I don't have pictures. But I will tell you a bit of what I know about the "hot and fast" compost method.
    1. Save up you brown (Pine shavings) and green (Chicken Poop) material. Be sure to keep it covered under a tarp or in barrels so it does not get wet.
    2. when building your pile then dampen materials, do not make wet. Just damp as you build the pile. (Rain or well water works best.)
    3. I build my piles like cones. Think "smoking volcano" shape. Base should be at least 3 foot diameter. Shoveling the bottom perimeter material to the top.
    4. Cover with a loose tarp. (Do not want extra water getting in if you live in a wet climate like I do.)
    5. Check the center every day or three, once the center is hot (150 F) turn your pile so the outside cool stuff goes to the center to get warm. Adding a small amount of water if it is getting too dry.
    6. Repeat step 5 a couple of times until it does not generate heat above 130 F. and all the material is dark and does not look or smell like the original material.
    7. Let the pile rest for a month or so. Then enjoy.. Done right this compost will not burn plants and all the pathogens in fresh poop are gone! Smell the material it should smell like rich earth, NOT foul or like poop! (Be sure to cover the pile if you live in a wet climate, one does not want all the good nutrients to get washed out.)

    * If the pile gets too hot, break the pile up and turn it. (Outside material to the inside with your shovel.) You do not want temps over 160F you start to kill the good bugs too! If the pile does not heat up, check to see if it is damp enough, turn it or add more "green" material such as chicken poop! You can buy a compost thermometer or I just use an old oven thermometer to check temp. Composting chicken manure can be stinky business, done correctly in a hot compost pile the smell will not last more than a week. Be ready to turn the pile frequently once it is cooking!

    I suggest searching the web on making hot compost. Personally no need to buy fancy stuff to do it. NOTHING is better for the garden then fresh home make organic compost period. It is alive with billions and trillions of beneficial microbes, that work for you . Now toss out any and all chemical fertilizers such as miracle grow. They will have a negative effect and kill your soil.. If you need to fertilize more mid season top-dress the garden with more compost!

    Good Luck
  4. Janos&Jen

    Janos&Jen In the Brooder

    Jan 3, 2010
    Spring Hill, FL
    Thank you both so much! This is wonderful information and I will be copying it into a word document to use as soon as I start my pile. What kinds of leftover food can you add? I know you can add veggies and fruit (that the chickens don't eat).
  5. CARS

    CARS Songster

    Janos&Jen :

    Thank you both so much! This is wonderful information and I will be copying it into a word document to use as soon as I start my pile. What kinds of leftover food can you add? I know you can add veggies and fruit (that the chickens don't eat).

    I put all food waste in my pile. The problem is my dog follows me out there and eats any leftovers anyway.

    Like i said, I am not composting per se, I am breaking it down over a long period of time. It doesn't smell like waste by the time I use it, it just takes twice as long to achieve my goal.​
  6. Organics North

    Organics North Songster

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Do not compost meats, unless you really really know what you are doing. Actually composting chicken poop is pretty technical and again IMO one should only HOT compost manure to kill pathogens.
    Slow composting or cold composting like CARS does is fine too. I would not recommend it for manures just vegetative matter.

    With either method, it is important to keep plenty of fresh air in the pile. Fresh air in the pile means aerobic conditions and GOOD microbes at work. No fresh air makes for a anaerobic conditions and BAD microbes at work. (Yes bad microbes can and do kill!)

    Yes, any and all vegetative matter can be composted. Keep in mind to maintain the correct C/N ratio of 30:1.... Browns are wood shavings like on the coop floor, fall leaves or cardboard. These things are C or (Carbon). Greens are things such as Chicken Poop and fresh green grass clippings or other leafy vegetation. These are your N or (Nitrogen). I would keep the materials around the same size so they all decompose at the same rate. (I like small, so I can make a batch of compost fast!)

    Most of our vegetable and starch kitchen scraps go to the chickens or the worm bins. The stuff is too good for the compost pile..[​IMG]

    For slow or cold composting building a 3 foot circle out of chicken wire and making a chicken wire lid is a good way to keep fresh air in the pile and keeping pets or varmints out. (Unfortunately one of or varmints is the black bear, and if they are around the will tear just about anything apart to get at the food!
  7. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Since I live in a suburban area with limited space, I did not want a compost "pile" per se, in case it got out of hand. So I bought an actual compost bin, to keep it contained in one spot. Other than that, I use the same method as those mentioned above. I dampen it occasionally, and turn it every so often. As far as what to put in it - just about anything that is organic in nature. We keep a small container in the kitchen in which we put kitchen scraps - veggie peelings, orange skins etc. Before we had chickens, EVERYTHING went in the compost. Now we keep some stuff out to give the chooks - apple cores, green pepper seeds etc, and the stuff the chooks won't eat goes in the compost - onion skins, citrus peels and so on. We throw our coffee grounds, filter and all into it (we buy the unbleached coffee filters and since they're just paper, they break down easily). We also put tea bags into it. You don't want to put too much paper in as it breaks down slower than food stuffs, so we limit it to coffee filters and tea bags. In the fall, after raking leaves, I put a layer of leaves in top of the compost. And of course, when cleaning out the coop, all of that goes in as well. What you don't want to put in are meat scraps, rotting food, oil, cheese etc. These will not break down easily and will make it smell really bad.

    After reading a lot about soldier fly larvae, this Spring I plan to order some and add those to the compost bin. From everything I've read, they really speed up the process.

  8. possumqueen

    possumqueen Songster

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    LOVE my compost!!!!! Compost is THE reason I'm going back to keeping chickens this spring, because the local chicken farmers aren't allowed to share their chicken manure anymore -- biosecurity reasons. (Besides, the eggs taste better than storebought.)

    I bought a roll of 2x4 weld wire, 3 feet tall, and cut it to length so that each length would make a cylinder 3 feet tall and 3 feet across. I tie it shut with string, and I layer my compost material in it, wetting it till it's about the dampness of a wrung out sponge. I got a compost thermometer to check it with -- best thing I ever found! When it heats up to about 150 I let it set at that temperature for a week or two to cook the germies, and then I turn it. I untie the string to open the cylinder, close it back beside the now cooking compost, and reload it so the compost is turned, and ready to cook some more.

    I have read that you can just lift the wire cylinder off the compost heap and set it up without having to open it. hahaha. The compost settles into the wire, and you can't lift it for love or money. So now I just tie the cylinder with string that I can cut. Baling string works.

    When I get my chicken tractor finished I will let the chickens turn it -- just set up the pen around the compost heap and let them have at it. When they finish tearing it up and spreading it around, then I will set up the wire cylinder again and refill it with the turned compost, ready to reheat itself.

    This is the definition of "hot compost." You can do like CARS does and just let it compost at its own speed, but "hot" works faster, and just about guarantees that the weed seeds and bad bacteria will not survive.

    And, hey, Janos&Jen, if you're crazy for being here, well, you've come to the right place! Welcome home! [​IMG]
  9. hens & chicks

    hens & chicks In the Brooder

    Aug 14, 2009
    Hudson Indiana
    I made my compost bins from wood pallets that I got for free. I made sure that the slats were close together to keep the compost material to the inside.I purchased enough metal corner braces to put two braces on each corner. I also got a pair of sturdy hinges. I put the pallets up on end and attached two corner braces-top and bottom-in the corners. On the 4th pallet I attached the hinges so I had a door. Then I put on a latch hook to help keep it closed.The sides of the pallets allow fresh air to circulate and they also provide a place to put the tools I need. You could make a cover out of thin plywood for the top. There is very little water that gets inside. I can add more bins as my compost grows so that all is kept in one area.
  10. bison

    bison In the Brooder

    Oct 2, 2009
    West Point, GA
    I have a question...my friend has several large compost piles made mainly from horse manure. The problem is that the piles are infiltrated with ants. Is that common for compost piles? I've never had a pile, and was wanting to make one for all my chicken poop, grass clippings, and mulched leaves. I'll probably throw in some horse manure too. What can I do to in the planning stage to prevent ants from overtaking my pile?

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