Composting in the run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by yogifink, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Loads of people ask about it. Some do it and fail, others are quite successful.

    Let hear your story and see some pictures. I am interested to hear about what has and has not worked for everyone else.


    I'll start:

    I am currently using a composting bin in our run that works wonders. Every single piece of compostable kitchen scrap goes into the bin, all of our garden waste, grass clippings, chicken poo and whatever else we can compost goes in it. The girls hop into the bin and scratch around, mixing up the compost and find themselves some tasty treats while fertilizing the heap. I have found it very nice to have close to the coop for cleaning time. We turn the pile with a fork about once a week to mix it up.


    I made our composting bin out of pallet wood. The front is made so that slats can be added or removed as needed from the very top or to the very bottom. When we need to clean it out, I simply pull out all of the slats and rake it out. I made three of these at the end of last winter to house (unsuccessfully) potatoes. The plan is to rotate the compost pile every 4 months or so, so that we have three stages of compost. The third stage being ready for use as needed.

    The girls hop in, using that log as a step. All the compost stays in the bin, with the exception of the little bit they kick up.

    It does not smell, and we don't have a problem with flies in the pile. There are however, loads of grubs that the chooks nibble on all day.

    PVC is there to help get air to the bottom of the heap for faster break down.

    I keep a bit of plastic roof over it to keep it dryish. We have found, that an open top and all the rain we have had this year, don't mix well. We monitor the moisture, and add water as needed.


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  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Bins or large piles work better than trying to do it with chickens scattering it around all the time
     
  3. johndeerelover

    johndeerelover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Really neat idea! Thanks for sharing. I didn't see this thread or I wouldn't have started the other! Does anyone know if eating all those worms and grubs makes them more prone to worms? I know they find them wherever they travel, but if they are pretty concentrated I didn't know if it made a difference.
     
  4. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't think so, you'll just have some happy chickens. May notice your feed cost goes down a bit too. Our bin is the local hang out, they'll hit it up before they visit the feeder.
     
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Earthworms CAN carry parasites, so eating more worms does increase the risk
    http://www.extension.org/pages/66279/internal-parasites-of-poultry#.UnAWUytsafI

    Quote: Occasionally, they migrate up a hen's reproductive tract and become included in a developing egg.

    The life cycle of a roundworm is direct; that is, worm eggs are passed in the droppings of infected birds and then directly to birds that consume contaminated feed, water, or feces.

    Also, worm eggs may be picked up by snails, slugs, earthworms, grasshoppers, beetles, cockroaches, earwigs, and other insects.

    Known as intermediate hosts, these insects carry the eggs and when eaten by a bird pass the eggs to the bird. Identifying and minimizing the number of intermediate hosts that poultry have contact with helps prevent the birds from being infected with worms
     
  6. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for sharing that Bear Foot, that is good information to know. I have heard this before, and just did not put two and two together. I am curious as to why some of the books I have read talk about worm farming and using them as treats. We keep a worm compost bin (on the left of my compost pictures above), and oddly enough, our girls will not eat earth worms.


    And if you were to free range, and provide minimal feed or none at all? Seems silly to me to say that they can only eat comercial feed beacuse of the risk of contracting a parasite.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  7. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    edited above
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  8. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm a proponent of "whatever works well" for each individual. If open compost bins work, go with them.

    I personally prefer compost bins with lids and many tiny air holes (which do not permit rodent infestations). -do not want rodents with my flock. I, too, realize that chickens eat all sorts of worms and insects. Unfortunately, we live in a climate which is very conducive to tapeworm issues. -have had to treat three to four times over the past year and a half for tapes. -try to limit the consumption of host insects, here. We do have soldier fly larvae in our compost bins. I feed them to the chickens. They love 'em. -never heard of them being hosts for worms (but I haven't researched it either).

    Anyway, the OP's compost bin looks like it works well.
     
  9. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: There's no need to really "worry" about them eating earthworms, since parasites can be treated.

    It's just a fact that eating MORE will INCREASE the risks

    Most chickens have SOME worms, but as long as it's not too many, it's not a real problem
    It's just something you need to be aware of
     
  10. Dreyadin

    Dreyadin Out Of The Brooder

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    Closed vermicomposting bins have less risk mainly because you've mitigated exposure and interrupted the life cycle. Some chickens love earthworms.. some could care less. [​IMG] Mine only want to eat them if someone else wants to eat what they have. They are more than happy to put a huge dent in the pill bug population of my worm bins.

    Ours free range- so I'm not really worried about it as I it would be easier to nail jello to a tree than be able to control everything they consume. We just have the vet do a fecal float test several times to make sure they're ok.
     

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