Composting with Chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dcourington, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. dcourington

    dcourington Out Of The Brooder

    24
    2
    26
    Nov 15, 2012
    Milton, FL
    I just built a Chicken Composter last weekend and I must say that it is going to be awesome for getting things broken down to use as compost for the garden. I built it fast and easy, I used 4 1x8x12 boards with corner blocks and I drove stakes in the ground on the sides to keep it from bowing out when filled. I found a guy on Craig's List that had a lot of semi composted horse manure and hay mix that he was giving away so I got a big load of that yesterday and the girls sent crazy for it. As of this morning they had completely torn it up and were ready for more to be brought in. I am getting another load this weekend when I can get back over to his place. I will post a few pics later when I take them this weekend. If you have any room at all and need good fast compost for your garden, I recommend setting one of these up and letting the girls do the work on turning it for you.
     
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can't wait for the pictures!
     
  3. nerd0geekboyz

    nerd0geekboyz Out Of The Brooder

    71
    2
    31
    Mar 15, 2011
    NorCal
    you must have a ton of chickens to create usable compost.

    For my coop, I use mulch which eventually ends (6 mos) at the roots of my fruit trees.

    Being a master composter, I tend to stay away from horse manure as they are often treated with medication (worms) that end up in their poop.
     
  4. ChicksCoopHome

    ChicksCoopHome Out Of The Brooder

    14
    0
    24
    Aug 22, 2013
    Composting is one project I would like to have in the next coming months.. maybe once I get the hang of this chicken rearing thing, Thanks for this tips and ideas I will surely be coming back for more once I finally decide to try composting.
     
  5. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    611
    80
    144
    May 2, 2012
    I suspect that the only "clean" manure you'll get is something from your own yard or someone you know uses nothing. Most types of manure from a farm will probably have some type of "chemical" added, ie. hormones/antibiotics/wormers/etc/etc.

    There was an article in Mother Earth News awhile back about some chemical(weedkiller I think), that was eaten off the grass by farm animals and excreted in their manure. Even after commercial composting the chemical was still viable and killing plants in gardens where it was used.

    I have a corner of my run walled off about 16" high. I used to sift my compost before putting it in the garden. Now I take a wheelbarrow load of it and dump it in the corner of the run and let the girls pick through it for a week or two then add another load. After 2 or 3 loads I then clean out the compost corner of the run and move that to the gardens and add fresh to the corner.
    It's my theory that the chickens will pick through the compost and eat all the bugs and hopefully eat any weed seeds that survived the composting, plus they add manure to it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,649
    9,133
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Chickens scratching it up isn't going to speed the process that much, if they spread it too much it'll dry out and not rot down.
    True composting takes balance of nitrogen and carbon ingredients, macro and micro-organisms and moisture...chickens can help with the aeration tho and add more nitrogen.
     
  7. dcourington

    dcourington Out Of The Brooder

    24
    2
    26
    Nov 15, 2012
    Milton, FL
    They break up the material quickly and turn it constantly and it provides them a place to eat the worms and other insects that move in to feed off of the material. Just like any compost, you have to water it a little bit. It works a lot faster than the old fashioned way though... and it provides a diversion for my chickens so they are not tearing up the entire yard all day. If you do not care to try it that is fine, but, until you have read about how it works, please don't knock it. A lot of us out here are willing to try things like this for all the benefits that come from it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. dcourington

    dcourington Out Of The Brooder

    24
    2
    26
    Nov 15, 2012
    Milton, FL
    I got mine from a guy that rescues horses and he does very little in the way of chemicals and stuff as the systems from these animals is damaged enough already from neglect. He feeds them hay and oats and some sweet feed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. LeslieDJoyce

    LeslieDJoyce Overrun With Chickens

    3,675
    477
    283
    Jul 30, 2012
    Sherwood, OR
    My Coop
    It is a legitimate idea. Here is a short video (longer version also available) about a commercial composting company that has incorporated chickens into the operation. They don't need to feed the chickens anything but the "compost."

     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by