Composting question

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Shannon's Chix, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Shannon's Chix

    Shannon's Chix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    N.E. Florida
    I have 2 plastic garbage pails full of chicken poo.[​IMG] I don't know much about composting but did read it needs air, you're supposed to turn it, etc. So my question is can I still turn this stuff into compost for a spring garden? One of the bins have been sitting untouched for about 3 or 4 months. I was thinking about putting it onto the ground, turning it and all that but I'm afraid it's too late now and I'll just have a bunch of poo all over my yard.[​IMG]

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated, I don't know what to do with this stuff![​IMG]
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Hopefully Pat will come on and talk about this. She is better at this than I am. There are other knowledgeable people on this site on this topic, but to me Pat is the one that stands out.

    Are you talking about a vegetable garden or your front lawn? How much area are you talking about spreading it over? How soon will you plant in it?

    In Northeast Florida, I'd expect you to start planting a vegetable garden pretty soon. Chicken poo is high in nitrogen and can burn many plants if it is put on too strong. If you have enough garden area so it goes on pretty thinly, you could put it directly on the garden and turn it in. If it has about two months before you plant in it, I'd spread it and turn it in, even in fairly high concentrations. I think it would break down sufficiently by then. If you are planting sooner, then I'd look at the concentration. Even if it is just a month until you plant, I'd be very tempted to turn it in now unless you are talking about a layer over 1/2" thick. Less than a month, I'd compost it.

    You do not have to turn it if you put it in a compost bin. It will eventually break down anyway, but turning speeds up the process. It needs to be damp but not wet. Kind of check to see if it heats up internally after you start it and turn it. When it cools back down, it is time to turn it again. Keep turning it until it does not heat up, then it should be compost. If it is a little moist in the bags, I would not be surprised if it has been breaking down already.

    You can mix it with other stuff to help break the other stuff down, like the bean vines or corn stalks from last year's garden, leaves, litter from the coop, kitchen wastes, wood chips, or whatever but it will also break down by itself.

    You can get pretty technical with carbon-nitrogen ratios and such if you want, but if you pile it up, turn it or not, add other stuff or not, it will eventually become great compost. In your climate, keeping it damp but not too wet may be your biggest challenge.

    Good luck!!!
  3. Chieftain

    Chieftain Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2009
    I have a large compost pile now, and am building my coop adjacent to it for convenience. I have used chicken manure in the pile for years. We have a large number of big trees in our neighborhood and collecting leaves for the pile is not hard.

    I use the lawnmower to collect and shred the leaves, and layer them into the pile about a foot deep, with chicken manure between each layer. (In the past I have bought bags of chicken manure just for this purpose). I also layer in wood ashes from the stove (which are very good for adusting ph...) and turn in any vegetable scraps from the kitchen along with used coffee grounds. The end result is that the pile heats up very fast, and stays hot for a couple of months. I get out there and turn it over a few times over the winter, and come spring I end up with almost 3 cubic yards of finished compost (I did mention the pile was rather large....

    In the summer, the chicken manure helps break down grass clippings like nothing else. It helps avoid those slimy green wads that form when you dump grass in the pile by itself.

    On a smaller scale, you might try turning the raw manure into an unused spot of your garden and let it decompose and cool off before planting anything. The key is to mix the poop with lots of vegetable matter and allow it to decompose.
  4. Soccer Mom

    Soccer Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2009
    West of Crazy
    I put mine in big bins. I also add in goat and rabbit manure, leftover hay scraps, leaves from the yard, kitchen scraps, egg shells, ashes from the fireplace, etc... In order to compost, the mixture needs oxygen. This is why turning regularly is important. It also needs moisture. Don't just soak it though. Then it will compact too hard and won't get the oxygen. I give mine a little chemical boost. About once a month I add a couple beers (for the yeast and hops) and I add a can or two of Coke. No really. (And not diet. I want the sugar in it.) This is how my Nana made compost and it works for me. I don't have a fancy bin. Just big boxes and I sort of turn it with a rake.

    Chicken poop is too high in nitrogen to put straight in the garden. It will indeed burn your plants as others have said. But it makes fantastic compost!
  5. bargain

    bargain Love God, Hubby & farm Premium Member

    Apr 13, 2008
    Bowdon, GA
    For us, the chicken poop should break down for 90 days before we put on the crops/land. That gives time for complete breakdown of the nitrogen.....and like earlier posters, we put vegetation, leaves, grass, (NO meat/fat/ orange peelings in the pile)

    Happy Composting and Happy New Year!
  6. Shannon's Chix

    Shannon's Chix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    N.E. Florida
    Thanks so much everyone! We just moved here so I don't really have a garden yet...I want a vegetable garden and our yard is ALL sand so I figured composting would help. I think I need to add some sort of vegetation but the one bin has been sitting for so long and it definitely is moist and is dark like soil rather than the sand. I think I'll put it out and hopefully it will be ready to go to the gardening thing too.

    Thanks again!

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