Composting?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by buyabed1, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. buyabed1

    buyabed1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 17, 2013
    I just read the article in the learning center about composting and letting your chickens do the work and scratch through it in the chicken yard. I am getting mixed messages about this: Is it okay to use the chicken poo in the composting pile if they are digging through it? Of course, this would be easier as it would be less work and I could have one compost pile. OR do I need a separate one for the chicken waste? I am new to chickens and composting…so forgive my ignorance.
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Excellent question, and if you ask 10 people, you might get 12 opinions! Here's my take: Chickens walk through their own poop all the time. I have yet to see them wear boots, or scrape the poo off their feet. When you put that poo in your compost, the microbes in the compost start to work on it right away. So, yes, go ahead and put that wonderful poo in your compost pile. Now, some folks actually keep their compost pile in their chicken run, adding all garden debris, and household scraps (non-meat, non-dairy). The chickens eat what they want, including all of the wonderful bugs that are attracted to a thriving compost pile. Personally, I would not choose to put any kitchen scraps in the chicken run unless I am confident that they will be eaten fairly soon. I don't want to advertise free food to the local predators and rodents. So, my household scraps that are not chicken worthy go in my big compost pile, or in my worm bin, or in my compost tumbler. My lawn clippings and miscellaneous garden debris go in the ground level of 2 story coop, garden waste that is of interest to the chickens go in their run. My poor, poor husband... he has given up on me! When he sees some less than table worthy stuff sitting on the counter, he doesn't dare to touch it, because, it's inevitable that he'll do the wrong thing with it! (The ultimate mis-direction of kitchen debris in my household is to put it in the trash!) When they free range, they have full access to the big compost pile. Let your girls work your compost pile. They need a job to do, and it will keep them busy and happy for hours.
     
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  3. buyabed1

    buyabed1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much! What a thorough response. I think I am going to try to put the food in the chicken run since it is fenced in. I will stop if it I have rodent issues. I have to start small. Sounds like your experience in sorting will overwhelm me if I start out like that. I may get up to that in a couple years. I appreciate your answering my question. It sounds like it can be as much work as I want it to be.
     
  4. SweetSilver

    SweetSilver Chillin' With My Peeps

    The only times I would not offer access to chicken poo in the compost pile is 1) if I'm trying to keep separate flocks and want to minimize contact for any reason. Like the pp poster said, chickens walk through their own manure all the time, even in the cleanest of coops and runs. But 2) if I'm dealing with a heavy worm infestation and need to limit access to even their own manure.

    Otherwise, manure is a great addition to the compost that chickens can scratch into. Unless they are heavily dewormed, there will me dung beetle larvae and all kinds of stuff. And the grit that is present in chicken manure is great for earth worms, if they ever get a chance to breed in a compost pile that chickens have access to. Amazing how quickly it all gets processed!

    Another consideration for compost with a *small flock*: be careful how much table scraps go into the coop. Not only can it attract raccoons and other predators if left unfinished, but I have had nutritional problems when I threw every bit of kitchen scraps out to the chickens without regards to nutritional balance. Large flock? No problem!
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
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  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Points well made Sweet Silver. Good expansion on my simplistic response.
     

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