Do you compost in your run?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pdxblossom, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. pdxblossom

    pdxblossom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 11, 2010
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    One of the coops on last weekend's tour was pretty cool. They had a compost bin in the large run. The coop owner said that he was going through a tremendous amount of feed per month for his flock, but now that he composts in the run he is buying a third of what he did before. He says the eggs are stronger and more orange than before and his girls seem happier.

    Anyone else doing this?

    I was thinking about putting a small pile in the run so the chickens could turn it and expedite decomp. That compost will get added to a special "chicken" compost bin that will age before use. I have a second compost bin at the back of the yard that the chickens do not have access to because of it's akward construction.
     
  2. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No,
    I free range. I build my compost piles on the ground and cone shaped. I will say the birds do enjoy breaking them down and spreading them out. They save me half the labor...I only need to pile it back up again..[​IMG]
    When I do not want the birds messing with the piles I cover them with a tarp. I like your idea of the second bin for aging. I find the chickens will eat too much of the soil life out if they have access to the piles after they are done.
    Our birds also help out with "pre composting" They work piles of leaves scratching through and breaking them down so they compost faster.

    ON
     
  3. hallerlake

    hallerlake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My son has his compost heap in the run. I warned him about not putting things like onions and citrus in his compost. teh chickens seem to like scratching through the pile. It also attracts bugs.
     
  4. pdxblossom

    pdxblossom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 11, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    I'd love to free range, but we're gone during the work day and we have a serious possum issue. But our coop and run will be very nice size for our flock size and they will be out free ranging when we are home.

    I think I'm going to put a pile close to the exit/entrance to their coop/run so they can find it easily. That way I can more easily clean the coop/run when I need to.

    I like having the second pile that is a "chicken free zone" because it protects those worms. That pile is just teeming with red worms and I want to keep it that way. It holds a great, steady temperature and cooks really fast. I'm afraid to upset the balance.
     
  5. Boo-Boo's Mama

    Boo-Boo's Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have my girls in a run/coop that is 10x21 feet...no free range. I weed my garden beds and spread this in the run/coop. I leave for a couple of days and let them eat what they want then I rake it up and put in my compost piles. I have considered leaving it in one corner during the Winter to give them something to work and maybe attract bugs for them.
     
  6. pdxblossom

    pdxblossom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 11, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    I've changed my mind and have decided to do a teeny tiny bin in the run for their amusement. I'll just scoop it up every once in a while and add it to one of the working bins. Hopefully they'll be happy for it.

    Do I need to worry about their nutrition? Will the skip feed entirely to eat the compost goodies?
     
  7. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Hmmm,
    My concern is the birds eating "not decomposed enough" food items. I usually keep my piles covered until the pile starts to cool down. I worry about rotten food. At least be mindful of what you put in their compost pile..[​IMG]

    I would not worry about them only eating compost goodies if it is almost done compost. Mostly larva and worms at that point. No different than what they would find free ranging.

    ON
     
  8. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I prefer to think of my birds as part of the composting system. While I dont build compost piles, my birds get all the waste from our garden. Also, every year once the graden has been harvested, I replant the garden with a rye cover crop. When the rye has reached a reasonable height, I move my tractors over the spot and let the girls have at it. This way, they return all soil nutrients back to the soil in the form of manure. Their scratching also serves to areate the soil and they will eat all the weed seeds they can find. When its again time to plant a crop, I simply move the coops back to the field and till the soil to plant my veggies. I also throw all my egg shells in the garden as a source of calcium. I save a ton by not haveing to purchase fertilizers.
     

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