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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RHChicks, Jun 19, 2017.
Thinking about getting a compost bin to then use the compost in our garden. Anyone else composting?
I was thinking the same thing, but I've been told that chicken compost isn't recommended for vegetable gardens.
We do Deep Litter in the run. It's a mixture of grass clippings, hay, straw, leaves and pine needles. We toss veggies, fruit and landscape weeds in there. It gets cleaned out once a year (spring) and that beautiful compost gets tilled into the garden. It does a great job amending and fertilizing the soil.
We do Deep Bedding (pine flakes) that also gets tilled into the garden. The poo from the poopboard gets dumped on a compost pile. Our son-in-law tills that into his garden.
I would allow the manure to cure and not put it directly on plants.
Of course we compost. What would you do with all the bedding if you didn't?
Pure, uncomposted chicken poop isn't good for a garden plants but thinned out with the bedding is great. It's too high of nitrogen if concentrated.
I just built my first compost bin yesterday!
I've been thinking about composting the chicken poop properly forever, since just throwing it in a pile in the outskirts of the farm isn't very sanitary. Turning it in a confined area into earth kills all pathogens.
Finding information about composting in books and articles online is very easy. Some "composters" are so enthusiastic, they seem to live for it... (Pretty sure I'll never get to that point.)
According to what I've read, chicken waste makes great compost because of the balance between bedding (browns) and poo (green). And the process makes the manure, that's too strong to be used fresh, into good fertilizer.
So go for it!!
Fresh chicken poop or any animal's is high in nitrogen, more than the plants can use and tends to burn plants. That's why composted or "old" is good. Like we used to use old dry "cow and horse pies" tossed under the mulch in the garden but would never use a fresh one. I used to have horses and neighbors with cattle. Poultry manure is the same. If you spread it in late fall and let it sit on the garden over the winter it has good results the next spring.
I keep separate piles for compost, chicken manure, and horse manure. Compost needs turning while the manure needs to age.
So "pure" manure without bedding should be dried before thrown into the compost? I will only use weeds, grass, soiled straw, hay, saw dust etc in my compost. No food scraps, the animals will eat that first.
Our chickens compost for us! It all goes into their pens/run & ground coops (we don't have any coops with solid floors). I even put pony manure into them sometimes - that way they work it into the other materials as well - hay, straw, leaves, weeds, pine straw, dog hair, pony hair, paper products, shredded paper, veggie cuttings, veggies & fruits, coffee & tea w/ the filters (i remove all the staples).
I've been bringing home the coffee grounds from work and have talked to the restaurants in our area (1 family diner, 1 Italian, 1 Subway & 1 coffee shop) and will start providing trash cans for their food & coffee/tea wastes that will also go directly into the pens for the chickens to sort. When it's composted down a bit, we then can remove it from the pens and use it directly.
I don't have to turn anything!! I just have to get the materials to the coops/runs.
Ive even been using chicken crumble for cat litter (1 cat in the house & any fosters) & that currently goes into a separate compost area with dog waste (6 dogs - 12 #s - 80#s). That sits longer to decompose & heat up. Haven't tried putting that into the chicken areas... But our first compost is ready from 2015 & we are putting it around fruit trees as we plant them this fall.
All of this compost is slowly helping us to change large, open areas/expanses of sandy pastures into a soil (about 7 acres worth of our total 21 acres) that will support more plant life... It's a slow process, we have had varying numbers of chickens. Currently have the most we've ever had - total of 24 in 4 different coop arrangements. Originally we thought to let our chickens free range in our pony pastures - helping with both the breaking up of manure and cleaning equine pests up - but we had neighbor dogs dig under our pasture fences (not hot originally and then wires not in the right places to stop dogs) and kill the original birds. So we just got our first Premier 1 chicken hot, portable fencing and will try free ranging that way in small areas... REALLY wanted larger number of birds to do more work for us - we'll get there (even purchasing less expensive hatchery birds gets pricey, ).
Eventual goal is to do the rotational paddock arrangements where ponies go into a grassed area, graze for a couple of days, then get moved. Chickens then follow in that area - to do the manure management, provide their own manure, scratch & graze different plants. Then let paddocks sit for a bit as they move onto next. Plant paddocks with grass/cover crop seed and so on...
SO here's what we have done. Last year we began a compost pile in the fall and added chicken manure from coop clean outs to that pile along with grass clippings, weeds, twigs etc etc from yard clean up. I tried hard to layer things but sometimes I gotta keep it moving to get everything done so scientific it's not. Then we added some compost accelerator from the hardware store and covered it up for the winter with an old rug (I heard somewhere that this would help it). This summer we had wonderful compost to add to our soil from this pile. I also began to add material to the run to do the deep bedding (which I don't know how I can use since it always has new manure added to it, but I'm gonna go re read that thread here soon). The compost we made lasted us all year and also this fall to amend before putting in the cover crops on the garden which are now in and doing fine. Our garden was a mixed bag this year but overall success. We had a VERY wierd summer including incredible amounts of rain in the spring and weekly deluges for the first two months of summer followed by an incredible dry out month in Aug Sep. Right now (as in today) I'm using our rear bagger mower to do the grass along with brown leaves which is ideal. It mulches them into the bag and on the pile they go along with coop clean which is today. All this will be ready for use in the spring I think.
Did I mention I'm experimenting with Bio Char as well this year? Haha.