Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Bridebeliever, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've been at this for 6 full months so I'm NOT giving up easy...frankly I refuse to give up because I know how awesome compost is! Here's my pile:


    It's about 4 1/2 feet high, I completely turn it anywhere from 2 to 4 days. It's composed of chicken poop, pine shavings and dried leaves. I have seen steam rising from it a whole ONE time. Oh, and we live in Washington so it gets plenty of water, but it's not soaked. I do even add a couple of liters of water to it occasionally too.
    I have read so much about hot composting but clearly I just don't get it! I have 8 chickens and loads of poo! We clean the coop daily but don't overly scoop out pine shavings.
    I'm feeling that even though there's lots of poo I am still missing nitrogen stuff (we've added lettuce a couple of times). So today I'm going to go out and harvest a whole wack of stinging nettle that's starting to rear its ugly head and add that to the pile.
    Anyone have any suggestions for me? What am I doing wrong?
  2. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    Do you have a thermometer to monitor temperature?
  3. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, yes, and no...I don't think my meat thermometer is long enough. Is there one made specifically for temping your compost?
  4. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay, I went out and dug in to the center to take the temperature. It's 62F (17C) in the center. The outside temperature here today is 47F (8C). Not really what you'd call hot, eh?! [​IMG]

    I've got things SPROUTING in there...not the idea. So I dug out the center, threw in a bunch of Stinging Nettle (my arch enemy, but very nutritious), some more weeds and grass and about 4 cups of coffee ground. I then covered it all back up and threw on 2 gallons of water. Then I covered the whole thing with a blue tarp and placed a rock on top so it wouldn't blow off.

    Am I headed in the right direction with this? [​IMG]
  5. Molpet

    Molpet Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 7, 2015
    N. Illinois
    My Coop
    well I think the oat needs to warm up......
    I would turn mine every week or so in the it time to heat up... is it wet enough? and not too wet
  6. Gatewayto

    Gatewayto Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 8, 2016
    Battle Ground WA
    You are heading in the right direction BUT

    I believe the problem here is you are turning your compose TOO OFTEN. The temp is still too low to turned so often. You will want to turn compose pile every 2 to 4 days in the summer to cool your compose pile. Currently it is still too cold to turn this often, you are not allowing the compose pile to reach the right temp:
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yes, there is and they are very, very handy.

    Ditto Dat^^^

    Also is it damp down inside?
    When I composted pine shavings and poop, dry in the coop for a year....
    ......I sprayed what I thought was quite a bit of water on it, when it didn't heat up after a week I replied it and put 10 gallons of water on 13 cu ft of material.
    It was up to 160F the next day.
  8. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you for that! Here is a quote from the article and I think this is what has been confusing me:

    "Aeration to maintain aerobic conditions in the compost pile is essential for high temperatures. When the compost pile becomes anaerobic, temperature drops rapidly. Even small areas which have become anaerobic will often exhibit a lower temperature than surrounding aerobic material."

    This is why I thought I had to keep turning it every few days. Probably the time I had gotten a little heat built up is when I had left it alone for a week!
  9. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, it seems sufficiently damp all the way through. Like a wrung out sponge as other websites have said. It's not sopping wet anywhere...but I still keep wondering about the moisture.
  10. Gatewayto

    Gatewayto Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 8, 2016
    Battle Ground WA
    When you notice anaerobic (lack of oxygen), this means your compose is already working correctly and the bacteria can not work anymore because of "lack of oxygen". This is another reason for turning your compose, to add oxygen back in to your compose, so the bacteria can have food to continue working.

    I can see why you were confused. Because you saw steam, then stop seeing steam (thinking that the pile was out of oxygen).

    You are on the right track now - I may need to stop by and pick up some compose for my raised bed in a couple of months :)

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