Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BeckyLa, May 28, 2007.

  1. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    I have a pile out in my side yard of deep litter shavings that I'm trying to compost. I've never done this before. From now on the stuff goes in the birds run, [​IMG], but I would like to compost the pile already started. So I added some kitchen veggie scraps, newspapers, etc., and then gave it a good water. I never put in meat, meat products, or dairy. Today I noticed that it's nice and hot in the middle which I think is a good thing. But tonight I also noticed that it is covered with flies. I bury any scraps over a foot deep and cover them well so I didn't think flies would be a problem. Am I doing something wrong or are the flies ok?
  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    They're probably attracted to the chicken poo. They like to land on every other kind of poo! You could try putting a layer of something else on the top of the pile, that doesn't contain chicken poo. Like leaves or grass clippings.

    We always have a disposable fly trap going, just to keep the numbers down.
  3. AZChickenlover

    AZChickenlover In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2007
    Golden Valley, AZ
    I wold throw a shovelful of dirt on the pile after you throw on the other goodies. When I did this previosly, I had problems with spiders. Yuck!! If I had had chickens at the time, I would have let thm loose on the pile. When I get my own computer up and running, I plan to start a thread about compost/poultry manure tea. I pay enough for similar fertilizer at the store, I'd like to learn how to make it myself.
  4. waypastdawn

    waypastdawn Hatching

    Apr 25, 2007
    The secret to compost is layering the green and brown, lawn clippings, then litter, more veggies, ect. A pile needs to be about 3' deep and 3' around the maintain heat and moisture. The pile needs moderate moisture, and air(turn pile once in a while). Flies and such are part of the process. A warm pile is a very good thing, it is "cooking" all the wonderful stuff into yummy compost. I keep 2 or 3 piles giong so that I am not adding new material to the one that is cooking. I have never had any trouble with smell, but I do get mice, which keeps the cats and dog entertained. Have fun, Compost is the best possible way to dispose of all vegitation and chicken coop, horse or other animal manure, and your plants will love you for it.
  5. JamieandShady

    JamieandShady In the Brooder

    May 7, 2007
    Oak Hill TX
    Yeh, I compost my chicken's scat. I use pine shavings for their bedding and I find that the pine shavings + chicken scat have a nice ratio of C:N. Its a great compost activator and disappears in about three days. I do have flies that hang out in and around my pile. Flies are a part of the decomposition process but can be annoying. My pile is not near the house, so its not really that big of a deal for me; and I just let them be.

    The only way composting can go wrong is if it starts to smell garbage-y. As in methane. This means its gone anaerobic and needs to be turned.
  6. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Thanks everybody. I did notice yesterday that it is now beginning to smell pretty bad since I have begun to water it and add veggies. I had also turned it when I add to it. I just get the feeling I'm doing something wrong and can't figure out what......
  7. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Depending on the smell, it may mean you could have a slight imbalance in your ratios. Either too much water or not enough of the brown goodies could cause that. And . . . well . . . wet chicken poo just plain ol' stinks! Hold off on watering it and see if that helps. Give it a good turn and toss a shovelful of dirt on there as AZchickenlover suggested. Then, wait a couple of days and turn it again and see if there's any improvement. To see if you have the proper amount of water in your pile, reach in and grab a handful of it. Squeeze it together. It should feel like a damp sponge but shouldn't have water gushing out of the handful. If it does, add more brown to your pile and mix it in.

    I just have to say that I [​IMG] my compost! I live in an area with horrible clay soil. I grow my veggies in raised beds because of it and previously had to PAY for good soil to be dropped in my driveway. But with the awesome compost mixing in to my soil, my gardens have never grown better. Back in December I planted some pansies which I have only had moderate success with previously. Four months later they are huge and with tons of blooms. My winter lettuce was amazing!

    Keep with it and you'll figure it out. Once you do, it's not all that hard to keep up with. And, once you get that amazing stuff into your garden, post some pictures!
    Last edited: May 29, 2007
  8. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Here's a website with some good information on ratios, what to use and not use, and how to care for your pile.
  9. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Ok. Thanks everybody for all your input. I'll check to see if it's too wet but it's on a gentle slope so it should drain well. Guess I'll turn it once in a while, let it cook, and otherwise thank God it's not near the house. [​IMG]
  10. SAZLife

    SAZLife In the Brooder

    Apr 13, 2007
    We have one of ours in a 2' tall 3' round tomato cage of sorts with door screen tied to it to keep things in. When it gets about half full, I pull up the ring and spread it out on the ground a bit. Our two "girls" have a grand time pulling out the bugs and when they're done, I shovel it back into the ring and add some dirt to the top. Here in Tucson I don't really have too much of a problem with it getting hot. =0)

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