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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by traildad, Oct 7, 2011.
I have the same concerns. I have 4 hens on sand in the run and shavings in their coop. They "free range" my little yard about 50% of the time. I sift out the poop balls from the run and pick out the poop from the coop and put it in a large deck box at the side of my house. The "stray " poop gets pressure washed each evening into a gutter in the back of the yard that drains into weeping tile that is under a tree. (Tree is doing fabulous) In the deck box I have put maybe a 100 red wrigglers. So far so good. The smell isn't bad - even on the hottest days. I put my kitchen scraps and half of my yard waste in the box as well. Its been 6 months and I'm still using the same box. I know the worms have multiplied and I was lucky enough to get Black Soldier Flies this summer too. So, you could extrapolate on this information... You will make up your own system as you go along!
Using shredded paper in the coop is also another good compost material. The paper helps keep the coop floor dry, asorbs the wetter part of the poop, decomposes in the compost pile. Most everyone shreds their old bills and what not, so it is a free source of litter, We have one compost pile, using the shredded paper for litter reduces the frequency of cleaning out the coop so their is no real issue with the compost bin being too full, add leaves, grass clippings to it, makes great garden matter after it is broken down. No problem with smell in the compost bin or coop.
Traildad, Just a word of caution here using walnut leaves in compost. Walnut trees put out a substance that acts as a growth inhibitor for some plants. Particularly the roots of the tree. Particularly on tomato plants. Don't know if the leaves would have that substance or not. You may want to do a little research to determine that. If they are the only kind of leaf you use, the effect (if any) would be more apparent, than in a mixed woods setting. I can visualize having a bunch of rich compost that would actually be detrimental to a lush garden!
I wouldn't use the walnut either, at least no more than falls on your compost naturally.
The manure will break down regardless of where it is. You need lots of carbon based/brown stuff to go with it though.
6 chickens won't make that big of a pile and it shrinks fast but I use pine shavings for bedding in the coop where most of the droppings will congregate. That's a perfect brown material to add to the manure.
Quote:I second that. Lots of poo mixed with shavings, moisten it and let 'er rot. It'll take a bit of time but you can get those garbage can looking composters and throw it in there. With leaves, you would need a lot more.
And third on the Walnut leaves. We have Pecan trees which do the same. All those nut trees put out a growth inhibitor that works on everything but it's own species.
I have the compost pile in my chicken run. The girls do all the work of shredding the material and turning it. It also keeps them busy. You can see my compost bin here:
I empty it early in the spring and then start all over again.
Terry at www.HenCam.com
I am also in the compost limbo I am going to just clean out the straw from the coop and put it in a pile. I dont know about these things so we shall see. I did not know I would have to keep buying straw or pine shavings. These chicks are getting to be a pain.... in the wallet If I am not careful I will have all my land for the chickens, but the up side would be no grass cutting LOL
Quote:I buy a bale of pine shavings meant for horses that goes for $5 and will put a 4" layer in a 6X6 coop. I add some occasionally and only completely clean and replace about 3 times a year.
Number one mistake people make with composting is a dry pile. Make sure it's moist through and through at least to start with and let 'er rot. That's the easiest way. Anything will rot if you leave it there long enough but having it moist to begin with helps tons.