composting hen urine?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by klutterer, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. klutterer

    klutterer Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi --

    I'm new to chickens and composting. I have 3 hens in a 4x12 foot run with about 2 inches of sand. The ground is hard clay and there's weed barrier (plastic I think, but porous) under that. The garden is raised bed with compost that I bought a few years ago.

    I just bought a compost tumbler to start making use of the amazing amount of poop 3 chooks produce. I put in my first load of cardboard and manure today.

    When I was moving around sand in the chicken run, I found a layer of clumpy sand that smells horrible. I'm guessing it's urine, but really am not sure. It was pretty widespread, not concentrated in the usual poop spots. My guess is that it's chicken urine that somehow binds the sand together -- it looks like cement, and chunks hold together when lifted, but the material will crumble easily.

    Can I toss this stuff in the composter?

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. AZBootsie

    AZBootsie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens don't really urinate. They just have the white urea stuff on top of their droppings. Not sure what you found??
     
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Quote:Sounds like you found cecal poop. It's a runny smelly poop that chicken do occasionally, like 1 in every 6 poops, or something like that. Here for your viewing pleasure are all the pix of poop you could ever hope to see.

    http://www.chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=17568.0

    Imp
     
  4. klutterer

    klutterer Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks -- fun photos... : )

    Could there be enough cecal poop to produce a whole layer (3/4 inch thick) of "cementy" sand?

    And if so, what should I do with it?

    Is the cecal poop a good thing for compost? Is sand a bad thing?
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Or you could be smelling ammonia. If too much poop builds up (or not enough ventillation) it smells like ammonia.
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    do you feed on the ground? might be spilled spoiled feed, mixed in with the sand.

    However, it really does not matter, throw it in the composter. You need to also add any and all kitchen wastes, and the used bedding of the chooks. The newspaper will help, but you do need lots of browns, like dead grass, or hay.

    Also, I am not so sure with a tumbler, but chicken poo is "hot" and should be aged about 6 months before plants are planted with it. So, in SD, January poo can be put on the garden, but I keep February on, out of the garden until the following fall.

    MrsK
     
  7. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Sounds like you found cecal poop. It's a runny smelly poop that chicken do occasionally, like 1 in every 6 poops, or something like that. Here for your viewing pleasure are all the pix of poop you could ever hope to see.

    http://www.chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=17568.0

    Imp

    Thanks for the link Imp! I'll put it in my favorites...

    I didn't know "normal" could vary so much! When I saw poop that looked like pic #4, I thought it was diarrhea. I'm real glad to know it's normal!

    Sorry for the brief hijack. [​IMG]
     
  8. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sometimes I find the sand in my run getting a little cement-y layer. I attributed it to moisture in the air (my run is covered) sticking the sand together kind of like a sand castle, but not 100% sure. whatever the cause in my case or yours, I agree with the others - compost it. if it is stinky, try sprinkling some food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) on the sand. it helps dry stuff up, and can help control flies, mites, and lice. it is organic and safe for your compost and the chickens, but be sure to wear gloves and a good dust mask when you spread it and keep the chooks away till the dust settles. it is abrasive to skin and lungs but once it is settled in the sand the chickens will be fine with it. be sure it is food grade and as the non food grade is poisonous. stall dry is another product that can help with odor and moisture, it is volcanic granules kind of like kitty litter. it is also totally natural and fine to put in the compost.
     
  9. klutterer

    klutterer Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, y'all -

    Cobrien, it helps to know I'm not the only one who's experienced this. [​IMG]

    The stuff is definitely more than just wet sand. It's under a layer of wet sand, and I can carry a chunk of it around. It only smells when I disturb it. Can amonia distill down into sand so quickly and widely, and cause sand to adhere?

    The run open on top, and I scoop poop almost daily with a kitty-litter scoop. If it starts smelling again as the weather heats up, I'll sprinkle food-grade DE.

    Meanwhile, I guess I'll toss the sand chunks into the composter and see what happens. The advertising says the tumbler will make use-able compost in 4-6 weeks, and the weather is springlike now, so my fingers are crossed.

    Thanks --
     

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