Composting questions...

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by RookieFarmLady, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. RookieFarmLady

    RookieFarmLady New Egg

    Feb 19, 2016
    Hi all, I'm new here and new to composting. I have chickens and am trying to use the droppings and bedding for composting. Not sure if I'm on the right track or not. Need help please.

    I just used chicken droppings, wood shavings for the bedding and sprayed it down with water in my a 55 gallon drum tumbler. I have added some veggie kitchen scraps, eggshells, and coffe grounds. I turn the barrel twice a week. It has now been about 4 weeks in the barrel. Is this what it is supposed to look like?? Thanks [​IMG]
  2. CochinLover1

    CochinLover1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2015
    It looks about right. Composting is more of an art than a science, really. It looks like it is getting close though!
  3. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    What does it smell like? when it's broken down, it doesn't smell like poo, it smells like compost, a sort of earthy smell, not a poo-y smell.
  4. RookieFarmLady

    RookieFarmLady New Egg

    Feb 19, 2016
    There is no poop smell. Smells like dirt. Just didn't appear to be like broken down as much as I expected. Maybe it just needs more time?? It has only been approximately 4 weeks.
  5. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    Bark chips take a long time to break down (years or months, not weeks). You won't see them "dissolve" like you will with vege scraps or poo. When they tell you how long it takes to "make compost" they are usually talking about household scraps, not "woodland" type scraps.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    That still has a way to go since you can still see the wood shavings in it. When you can’t see the individual components it’s pretty much ready. Those are probably pine shavings which aren’t real bad to compost but wood takes longer than many other things to break down. How fast they break down depends on what kind of wood they are and how thick the chunks are, your mix of greens (nitrogen) and browns (carbon), moisture level, and how warm it is.

    Wood chips take a lot longer than wood shavings and cedar is a lot slower than pine, a lot slower. Your chicken poop is considered a green while the shavings are a brown. The best proportion is about 2 browns for every green but yeah, that is a lot more art than science. Any mix will eventually break down but some can take longer.

    For moisture you want it slightly damp, not wet. If it is wet you get anaerobic bacteria take over and it stinks. But the bugs eating it need some moisture.

    Four weeks isn’t very long. Give it more time.
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Then again, there's the question that needs to be answered. How will it be used? If it's to be tilled in, it needs to be "finished". If it's to be used as top dressing, IMO, it's ready for that now. When you use it as a top dressing, any water will leach through it, and carry a nice compost tea down into the root zone. (and that top dressing will also keep the soil from drying out) While I do have a tumbler (tend to use that in late fall and let the stuff sit from freeze up until it's thawed and can be dumped and spread somewhere) I also am a pile-it composter. Most of that stuff goes into my HK mound in progress. However, most of my composting is done as sheet compost. I simply bury the household debris under the mulch somewhere.

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