Composting with duck bedding?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by TLWR, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use pine needles (and sometimes some oak leaves) for duck bedding. I add a fresh layer of needles to cover poop from the day before and empty out their house once a week, hose it out and start fresh again.
    I dumped them in a pile next to the woods and used them under some new garden beds.

    Now - how can I actually get them to compost well? I can build a bin behind the garden, but it seems I'll need more than just the pine needles/duck poop to get it to compost in a reasonable time.
    So those of you that compost your duck bedding, how do you do it?
     
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Pine needles take a very long time to break down and they will give you a compost that is suitable for acid loving plants.

    There is a huge amount of information about composting on the web. There are entire forums about it. I can't teach you to compost in 25 words or less.
     
  3. jamband

    jamband Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just look up deep bedding. Save yourself the weekly cleaning.. You certainly can make compost from pine needles and duck poop. Getting it into larger quantities will be important though. Larger masses compost better.....Also pine needles themselves are acid but not extremely acid...The sap is much more so but either way it will become less acidic when composted with manure.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Some good advice so far, here.

    I use straw and it composts relatively quickly.

    I've had some training in composting, and though there are some variations of recommendations, the basics are generally agreed upon.

    Some tidbits on composting, what I have read and experienced, just to save you a little time:

    Compost needs

    enough air (so turning it helps speed up the process)
    pH range from about 5.5 to 7.5 (if it smells vinegary it's probably too acid, like ammonia the pH is too high)
    enough water (squeezing a handful should produce several drops of water)
    Balance of carbon (pine needles, for example) to nitrogen (which is found along with a bit of carbon, in the manure)
    (embarrassing, but I cannot remember the 5th thing right now. Oh, well. I'll add it in when I recall it.)

    A pile that is roughly 4' x 4' x 4' is optimal for keeping the center warm enough but not being so heavy it presses out all the air.

    Hope there's something useful here for you.
     
  5. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Amiga.
    Where I want to put it a 4x4x4 box isn't going to work so well.
    I may just keep piling it up where I dump it each week and just get a pitch fork so I can turn it and make an effort to add some green matter (maybe I'll rake up some lawn clippings to put there).
     
  6. Tahai

    Tahai Chillin' With My Peeps

    Just a question: I read oak leaves are toxic to 'poultry'...is this true for ducks?
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    @Tahai:
    Well, mine have been around oak leaves most of their lives. I don't use it for bedding, but I put some around their swim pan and it seems to keep odor down in the summer. We seem to have few health problems. The occasional bumble foot, and a couple of ducks with shell issues after they turned a year old. Took them to the vet and there was no concern about oak leaves. I keep them out of the rhubarb patch, though, because of the oxalic acid in the leaves.

    I wouldn't put oak leaves in their feed. They eat acorns. I hadn't heard it was an issue.

    @TLWR,
    that dimension is not a hard and fast box size. It's just the size recommended, and often piles that size are not in boxes, they're just piles of compost. So a roughly 4'x4'x4' pile might actually be six feet at the bottom and two feet at the top and five feet around.

    I have a nice compost in a 3'x3'x3' slatted box.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  8. cottagechick

    cottagechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There you go...you duck math enablers here to help you...you need more duck poo to compost...and how do you get more duck poo???? More DUCKS!!!!! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Question? I heard that it isn't good to let chickens into the compost pile because of eating rotting food etc. well i just finished reading Free Range Chicken Gardens and it talks about chickens in the compost which helps to turn it etc. I have kept mine covered since getting chickens 21/2 years ago, but befor that my ducks were always into the compost pile they loved it and never got sick. I guess ignorance is bliss because I didn't know that composts weren't safe till I read it. But anyway do ya'll let your ducks and chickens get into the compost pile?
     
  10. jamband

    jamband Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ducks perch up on the pallets I used to make my bins....Don't seem them eating from it often....but def, adding nitrogen to it. Last year Mother earth news did a chicken story and one thing they encouraged was fencing them around compost for a few days so they would turn it up and get lost of worm to eat as rewards.
     

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