Composting questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jpruett86, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. jpruett86

    jpruett86 Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been wanting to start composting anyways and now I read that pine bedding and chicken poo is great for composing... Yipee!!! Other then the fact that I don't really know what I'm doing I'm ready to start! Lol. I don't even have chicks yet so it will be a while before that is added. I want to do something like this:

    Wire Mesh Bin; Round bins made of hardware cloth are also very simple, cheap and effective. Diameters of three to five feet are best. Just get some sturdy utility fence material and form it into a cylinder. Use some zip ties or just twisted wire to hold the ends together. You can line the inside with breathable landscaping fabric or even plastic sheeting to help retain the moisture. Fold the top edge over and secure it with clothspins or binder clips or even staples.

    I know I need a fairly even mixture of greens and browns (im assuming once I start throwing pine bedding in that will pretty much do it for browns.) I know it needs to stay moist (how moist?) And how would I go about turning something like this and how would I actually get the compost if its at the bottom of the barrel?

    Thanks for any help! [​IMG]
     
  2. Cindilou

    Cindilou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We just have an area at the end of our property that we throw all excess food wastes, yard wastes, paper, and chicken wastes. It has 3 sides but it is really just a large area that we can walk into and throw stuff and then go back later and turn it. We have actually made some really nice compost over the past year and it got nice and hot and shrunk down, the neighbors even call when they rake their lawn for us to come by and pick up leaves once in a while. Our property is actually not that large but we do a whole lot of gardening and go through the compost. We had a bioreactor for a while which is just a fancy name for a trash can within a trash can with some bricks and a spigot but it is just easier to be able to walk up with a pitchfork and move stuff around for us.
    Glad to see other people getting into composting. Free nutrients for the plants!
     
  3. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    I have three hard plastic composting bins but I also have several made from 1/2" hardware cloth just as you described (2' tall X 3' dia.). I use those when I have a surplus of compost and when I need to cure compost for longer periods of time. I've lined them with landscaping cloth and heavy mil black plastic but the latter worked much better at maintaining moisture in our dry climate. Adequate moisture is essential to speedy composting; it should have the moisture content of a damp sponge. Turning the compost will speed it along too. I use a compost crank like this, it's very effective and easy to use:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. jpruett86

    jpruett86 Out Of The Brooder

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    I thought about doing a pile but our yard isn't very large and id rather have something my daughter couldn't manage to climb in (she's like a ninja!) And my dogs LOVE to dig, so I see the bin idea as being more logical for me haha. Ill have to look into the crank, that's pretty neat. About how.long does it take to compost in this set up? Would I have to fill it and just wait or can you remove compost from the bottom somehow.
     
  5. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    I do hot composting which takes about 6-8 weeds depending on the season to break it all down. I usually let it cure for a month of so after that. It sounds like slow composting would be fine for you (supposedly makes better compost anyway). Once it's done you can shovel it out the top or just lift up the wire cage to get at it.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The sister site to this forum, The Easy Garden, has a section on composting and people, especially Boggy and Pat, that really know what they are talking about. I mention that to give Nifty's gardening forum a plug and give you some more options, not because I disagree with that anyone here says. I think you are getting good advice here.

    http://www.theeasygarden.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=36

    My set-up is more like Cindylou's, so I can't help you a lot with managing what you are talking about. I have two bins side by side and use one for actual composting while I store things in the one next to it for my next batch.

    Yeah, dogs, kids, or chickens will get into anything that is open like that. I have to cover the one that is composting to keep the chickens and dogs out. I think you will want to close it. I don't know where you are or your climate, but managing moisture will probably be your biggest challenge with your proposed set-up. You want it moist enough to keep the microbes alive and working but not so wet that it sets up anaerobic action, which means without oxygen. It gets slimy and stinky if it is too wet. You may have to use some trial and error to get it right.

    I'm not even going to suggest how you would turn it with the wire cages. Sounds like that could be a challenge, but there are probably techniques out there that work pretty well. I do not turn mine all that often, but it takes several months for mine to adequately break down. If I were more industrious about turning it, I'me sure it would break down a lot faster.

    You can get as technical as you wish about the browns to greens ratio, but I don't worry about it too much. I tried goiing to some of the web sites that discuss it but found in practice that you are guessing so much the calculations don't help a lot. Again, trial and error may be your friend. I use chicken manure, bedding, grass trimmings, garden waste, and anything from the kitchen that is not meat, milk, or cooked (well maybe some cooked stuff). If you put certain things like meat or milk, it can attract vermin like raccoons or rats, and especially flies. There are techniques to compost that type of stuff but I don't use them. Other than meat or milk, the things you should not compost is predator poop (like dog or cat), diseased or pest infected plants from your garden, or noxious weeds. You don't want the seeds to survive composting to where you are sowing weed seeds in your garden. You probably can use the dog or cat poop if it is not going on vegetables, but with your ninja I'd be a bit concerned using that in landscaping stuff.

    I think composting is a great way to reduce what is going into the landfill and get a very useful product. If you can make it work in your circumstances it is a great win-win for you and the rest of us. Good luck!!!
     
  7. annep

    annep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We use a small pitch fork to turn ours..Works well..Ours is wood, with wire mesh..
     
  8. jpruett86

    jpruett86 Out Of The Brooder

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    There is an old truck trailer in my back yard that is currently just holding tree trimmings and other junk. Do you think I could line this with black plastic and make a hardware netting cover for it? Would that work for composting?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Pastic 50 gallon drum. Used circ. saw to cut a door. attached a hinge so I can open and close. 2 hasps that I clip shut with biner clips. Put in a mix of brown and green materials, toss in a couple of good sized rocks to help mix, and roll. I give it a roll every day when I go to let the EE's free-range. In about a month or so Compost!
     
  10. Daphne16

    Daphne16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just do a pile and turn it when I feel like it.
    I have also done one out of a plastic garbage can that was cracked. I drilled large holes all over it did 50/50 browns greens and a few scoops of dirt. I put a bungi cord over the top to keep critters out and stop spillage when I rolled it on it's side to turn it.
     

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