Fall Leaves

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mandelyn, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. mandelyn

    mandelyn Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    Three houses down from me, you can rake your leaves to the curb and a big truck will come by and suck them all up. But where I live... no such luck. I have a big enough yard where I can have a compost pile... but it takes SOO long to break down leaves.

    But I noticed that the leaves that fell into my chicken run are pretty well chopped up. Has anyone actually put leaves, in a good amount as if they were bedding, into the run? How long did it take the birds to break it down?

    I was thinking about raking everything over to them, and putting leaves in the run about 3 inches deep. Removing it when it got pretty well chopped up, and adding more until the pile ran out. Moving chopped leaves and chicken poo to the compost area, hoping for a faster breakdown. I have left over 4 ft high fencing to make a containment area for the leaves so that they don't blow around the yard again.

    I have a separate area where tree clippings are drying out to end up into the fire pit. So that will be leaves, chicken poo, dog poo, and wood ash. Was thinking on layers to avoid odor and to make it easier to mix up. And using additional spare fencing to keep the dogs out of it.
  2. lleighmay

    lleighmay Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    I think it sounds like a great idea- mine are currently mulching the maple leaves from the tree overhanging their run. I'll probably just leave them in there this year since I don't have my composter set up yet but will definitely consider this plan for next year. In the past (before I lived here) I've also run the lawnmower through piles to chop them up before adding them to the compost (if you have so many leaves your chickens will take all year to finish them). Note- this method works better if you have a bagger mower or a lawn sweeper..... I'm not sure but I don't think you're supposed to use dog poo in your compost though.
  3. kcsunshine

    kcsunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2009
    Maryville, Tennessee
    My husband goes around town and gathers all the leaves he can get for our ginormous compost pile. The first load went into my chicken roosting house and run. I had them like that last year and had the most wonderful compost to start a new flower bed with. I grew rhubarb, winter squash, and herbs there this summer. I had sand and gravel down in the run this summer and wanted the leaves to be easier on their feet (and warmer). They've had a blast scratching and throwing leaves everywhere. Their little house they roost in is not insulated and I pile the leaves thickly in there to help warm them up.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2010
  4. tdgill

    tdgill Overrun With Chickens

    yeah great fun leaves!

    no dog poo though
  5. pontoosuc

    pontoosuc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2010
    Richmond, MA
    So far I've been putting them in their outdoor run and they have a blast.

    Haven't put inside the house yet.

    From what I've read on other posts here many people use them inside and out.
  6. kla37

    kla37 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    Hillsborough, NC USA
    I have put huge piles of leaves in the run occasionally and the chickens have reduced them to nothing. Nothing recognizable as leaves. My ground in the run is a couple feet of topsoil, with shredded mulch on top, and the chicken-shredded leaves. I shovel out the top few inches every few months to mix into the garden and then spread out fresh mulch and more leaf piles for them to play in. They love it! [​IMG]
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You can certainly do it, but you will want to be prepared for the possibility (in many climates, "likelihood") that it will turn into an enormous stenchy squishy mess come thaw or springtime, and need to be laboriously shovelled out. It can be good IMO to do this before it has reached *maximal* horribleness; and if you have more leaves than you really need to put in there *now*, you might consider piling them conveniently to use as replacements for whatever you may have to remove.

    Good luck, have fun,

  8. Lilacfeather

    Lilacfeather Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    I put leaves in my run every day. We have an abundance of leaves where I live, and I put an entire wheelbarrow full of fresh leaves into the run every day. When it was still hot, I would sprinkle some DE, then use the tiller to grind everything under, then put the new leaves on top....this helped with the flies a lot.

    Now that it's cool, and there's no flies, I just till, then put in the new leaves. My run is covered, and it is very dry in there. The chickens love kicking through the leaves, and they mulch it all up in no time. It's pretty much like having free bedding.

    I say go for it!
  9. mamaKate

    mamaKate Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    SE MO
    Leaves do make great run filler. If you just want to clean the yard, though, mow'em. I put the bagger on my mower and dump the chopped leaves into tree rings, compost pile, etc. You'll be surprised how much volume is lost when they're mowed.
  10. texasgal

    texasgal Brood with an Attitude

    Apr 18, 2009
    I mentioned this to DH saturday .. "Hey, instead of burning the leaves, lets pile them up in the coop, run .. and then after they shred them they can go in the compost pile!"

    Added benefit?? Any critters hanging around in/on the leaves...

    It's a win/win .. I think

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