composting shavings?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Dilly, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

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    Apr 15, 2008
    I plan on replacing the shavings quite often in my coop. I am curious about composting them. Will they break down or am I going to just be making a hung pile that will need to be cleaned up at a later date?

    I have never composted a thing, so any advice on composting is greatly appreciated. Just remember I want to do this if I can with the shavings as part of the deal, otherwise I won't bother.

    Thanks
     
  2. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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    Hey Dilly Dilly, since I got chickens in May 2007, I've been filling my composter every three months or so with the contents of the coop floor (pine shavings & poo). Even though our compost bin has been producing fabulous "black gold" every year for 10 years now, this year will not be one of them. Despite adding compost bio-accelarator powder and extra nitrogen to speed up the process, I predict this compost will be ready in approximately twenty-five decades.

    Sorry I can't be more help.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If you're going to rebed the coop 'quite frequently' (why??) you're not going to have much poo in your shavings and it will compost with glacial slowness unless you add something high-nitrogen, like grass clippings (but don't, you should be using a mulching mower and leaving 'em on your lawn!) or a commercial fertilizer with lotsa N.

    Buff, have you tried wetting your pile more. Shavings can require a good bit of water added to get moist enough *to* compost.

    Pat
     
  4. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

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    Thanks just as I thought the shavings need to go elsewhere. Hey I was looking at your coop and hens. LOVE them. So cute.

    Can you give me some quick ideas for a compost pile, you mentioned prior to this past year you have had success with yours.

    Again Thanks and how do you like those Orps? I think that is what I want if not Brahmas.

    Dilly Girl
     
  5. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

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    Quote:Hi Pat, Because I am a clean freak. I will be using the DE but still I just cannot fathom going more than a week without a complete cleanout.

    Have you composted shavings, you mentioned keeping them wet. If so, how long till they break down?
     
  6. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Dilly-
    Depending on the number of chickens and the coop size a week is rather quick. I have 13 in a 8x8 coop and change it once a month. Remember expense not to mention conservation.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ok, well to each his/her own -- I cannot fathom burning through that much shavings for no particular purpose - I mean, I know wood is theoretically a renewable resource but still [​IMG] You do realize that as long as you have a good substantial bed of shavings, and good ventilation, the poo just dries right out and sort of 'blends in with' the shavings? And lest you think I am a slob, let me add that I've been working with horses since I was a kid and am *quite* picky about *horse stall* cleanliness... it just works very differently with chicken poo vs horse poo. Especially if you have a droppings board cleaned every morning (poo scraped off and removed from coop), which I do, and highly recommend.

    Can't really give a hard and fast number for how long it takes to compost, because it depends hugely on the amount of poo (or other N source) in the pile. My experience with horse barn manure-pile composting is that if you get the C:N ratio right, build a pile at LEAST 4' on a side, and turn it every week or so, you're looking at a couple few months to reasonably finished compost. OTOH if you have a smaller pile (as a backyard chicken owner is likely to) it will take longer, if you don't turn it it will take longer, and if you don't have much N in there it could potentially still be there composting when your children inherit it [​IMG]

    I konw that doesn't help much [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  8. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

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    Hi Pat, I am quite familar with breeding, showing and raising horse, cows and even six piglets once. Which had their straw changed twice a week. Cleanest pigs the butcher has ever seen. He even brought out two other clients to show off how it can be done. lol I know not everyone if anyone is as tiddy as I, but to each her own. [​IMG]

    I will eventually have to let experience guide me in how often to change the shavings. Besides the pooh there is always the pee. lol

    ANyway thanks so much for the advice I will take everything said into consideration. I really do appreciate the replies.

    Dilly Girl
     
  9. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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    Dilly, I'm a clean freak too. When I decide to change over the coop bedding, it usually has a significant amount of poo, which is dry and not at all damp, but it still is enough to have an odor when I open the coop door. Since nobody near me has chickens and many people think they're dirty, etc., I like to surprise visitors with a really clean example of what backyard chickens can be.

    Our existing compost is in one of those big plastic black bins with a cover, which I recommend simply because it's all nice and contained as opposed to sprawling all over the ground. I turn it at least once a week all year long.

    Pat, I did hose the bin down several times last fall when I suspected it was too dry to decompose. I personnally think that it is not Silkies that are Evil, it is my Compost Bin That No Longer Composts. I consider it my personal battle this summer - to FORCE that sucker to make me more black gold!
     
  10. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    I remember my uncle had chickens and he would just shovel the shavings into a wheelbarrow and then take it out to my aunts flowering shrubs and place a couple of shovels full of the spent shavings around the shrubs and I wish you could have seen the flowers she had!! Hydranges, camillas, lilacs, azaleas, and roses .. He never placed it right on the truck but out about a foot--she had no weeds/grass up close... Can this not be done if you have alot more shavings than poo or is it still too hot to use as mulch??? I know he never had a compost pile.. His son owned a saw mill and he had all the shavings he needed..
     

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