Getting rid of chicken waste/empty food bags etc.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jools2014, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. jools2014

    jools2014 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2014
    Hi, I was just wondering how everyone disposed of chicken waste and empty food bags etc.? We have a bonfire that we put everything on but have seen rats around it occasionally and also something keeps taking some of the stuff off the bonfire quite often (though not sure what animal that is). Obviously I try and empty the food bags of all feed but there might be the odd bit still left and the odd egg that is cracked I will also put on there.

    We were getting rats in the chicken pen and house but I managed to get rid of them for the most part by keeping all food in metal containers and buying a metal feeder that only the birds can operate. This worked brilliantly, now I am just thinking if there is a better way of disposing of all the food packets to stop the rats from going on the bonfire in search of any food left-or maybe something I can put on the food bags to deter the rats? How does everyone get rid of the feed bags-in the regular bin, recycle, or bonfire? Thanks.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  2. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    we just throw ours away in the regular trash
  3. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 26, 2015
    Some paper feed bags can be recycled. There is a symbol on the bag for it. My recycle people still don't want the feed bags, even with the symbol <go figure>, so I trash them.. Plastic bags go into the trash. Some creative folks use the plastic chicken bags, with pictures of chickens on them, to make totes. There are videos on Utube showing you how to do it. Kinda neat. I believe there is a thread in one of the forums that talks about it.
    I can tell you that both rats and mice <and insects> Hate Mint! Hate the smell of the stuff. Whether it be dry, fresh, or oil on a cotton ball. It will repel them. Really works good on ants If you place any of them near your chickens, be sure the birds cant reach the cotton. I soak cotton balls with mint oil and tuck them into nooks and crannies under the hood of my car to keep pack rats and other vermin from trying to nest under there and destroying the car wiring. You have to refresh them about once a month or so. Good Luck!
    1 person likes this.
  4. jools2014

    jools2014 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2014
    Thanks guys. What about all the sawdust and straw stuff? Trash that? I have ducks so that gets really wet and needs replacing regularly and then there's the big clean out I do every so often.

    I have actually tried mint before but just mint sweets-something ate them all! But maybe I will try with a different form of mint next time!
  5. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Did you ever think of composting your sawdust/straw chicken waste? -- It takes about 6-months to decompose -- depending partly on the size of your compost pile and the amount of wetness in your area. Once it has turned to brown compost with no recognizable bits of anything then it is ready to put on flower bed or garden. -- true good compost doesn't have a nasty smell and is full of micro-organisms that make your plants thrive. --

    I often use bags to trash things -- My trash collection requires bags -- but doesn't require black plastic trash I just use feed bags in the trash collection - easy cheap recycle.


    Regarding rats...there are ways to use a 5-gallon bucket and spinning can to drown the rats...

    Your idea about super good hygiene with the chicken feed is probably the very best!
    1 person likes this.
  6. wolfrosie

    wolfrosie Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2015
    Like ChicKat said, have you ever thought of a compost pile? You don't need a whole lot of space, depending on the amount of waste you create, just plop a couple wood pallets up and you can pile it in there. Just turn it a couple times every now and then with a shovel, actually forget the shovel… your chickens can have a hell of a fun time digging in it for you. ;)
    Depending again on your waste and area eventually you'll get some nice rich soil you can then sell or use on your own garden. For me my open-style compost pile breaks down really fast, within a month, and I have the chickens go in and loosen it up every now and then so I can easily go through it to transfer some to the garden bed. As for the feed bags you could just burn them, but if you can recycle them I think it would be better to do that. When feed bags burn they send a lot of ashes into the air versus actually getting burned down, or at least with the ones I have, that's what I find… so I only tend to use them as a fire starter. I usually keep an empty bag to store hay strings in, maybe you also have a similar use for one? One down at least…

    As for your rats, make sure you are keeping all of your garbage in an area that isn't accessible to them when you aren't burning them. You aren't leaving them piled up on the bonfire while you're waiting to burn them right? I think it's important to keep them stored separately where animals can't get into it. If you don't have a garbage can I recommend getting one so the rats can't tear the bags open if they're just sitting outside somewhere. They have to be eating something in the meantime while you've not been burning anything to attract them to the firepit… after all.
    When you burn is the garbage getting burnt fully?
    If not that's also a problem. Are the bags getting wet so they can't burn? My neighbours used to leave their garbage on our fire pit but naturally when things get wet from rain they won't want to burn. Even if the outside looks dry, if it's rained at all, all that moisture is going to accumulate on the inside so in the end the middle won't get burned at all. Even if it's been really hot, all that heat can create moisture to build up on the inside… if your garbage is piled fairly big.
    If this isn't a problem, and the garbage isn't burning fully, then try to put garbage on slowly as fire can be snuffed out if there is too much on it at one time. So put only a couple bags on at a time and only put on more when the flames are big enough to cover them. This will make sure that everything burns out evenly into a nice pile of ashes for you. I also recommend not manually putting the fire out as it should burn out itself. I've seen some people regularly do this but if there's a flame that means there's still something to burn... Sorry if you already know this but I see it a lot so I wanted to make sure!

    It's good you got rid of most of them by switching feeders! It would be a good idea to maybe run a skirt of wire down the side of the coop and block any holes up to prevent them from getting inside the coop first as well. Even if they don't find food from your chickens you don't want them continuing to set up camp if they can find another food source nearby. Do you have neighbours with potential food out? If the rats are smart they can also end up going for your eggs, and your chickens/ducks water may also attract them when it's hot out. Plus if you have other predators the skirt of wire is especially a good idea.
    I also 2nd mint, however be careful if you use a spray as the powerful smell could also bother your chickens along with Weehoppers advice about the cotton balls. Use any sprays on the outside, not the inside, so the chickens can move away from it.
    (Sorry this is kind of long. :) ) Good luck on getting rid of the rest of the rats completely!
    3 people like this.
  7. jools2014

    jools2014 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2014
    Hi thanks, compost is a good idea! Not really thought of that before since I'm not much of a gardener but will try it now. I just bought some mint oil to deter any rodents so will try that around the pen. When I see all the other posts about predators and pests I feel incredibly lucky that we only have rodents as pests and no predators at all. Well, we have the fox of course but he doesn't seem too interested in the chickens (have seen one go across the garden completely ignoring the chicken pen!) That's not to say it won't ever happen but we have many many wild rabbits and pheasants so I put that down to not having any trouble with foxes. Crazy reading about snakes/raccoons/hawks/bobcats/bears?!/etc. etc that others have problems with.

    Anyway back on topic-wolf- the empty feed bags I usually keep separate until I burn them but all the sawdust and any loose bits of food there might be mixed in with it go on the bonfire. There are probably a few things left on the pile after the bonfire. I have just bought a big metal bin that I think i might put all the waste in and burn-problem solved? I hope.

    We don't have close neighbours so that isn't a problem. Our pen is poorly designed-I guess we didn't think of rats at the time and we were fine for about 2 yrs-then they discovered the food which they had easy access to at the time so I had to buy a new (expensive!) feeder. Unfortunately the pen is very much open to rats (when we had it built we didn't get someone who was particularly skilled at building pens to do it!) We looked into getting it re-done but it was going to be very costly, maybe i will ask around and see if i can get it done cheaper though.
    Thanks so much for the extremely detailed and helpful reply wolf, and thanks to chic too and everyone. It's helped me think of ways I can make things more efficient and hygienic as well.
  8. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Chicken feces will burn your garden vegetables so be careful about spreading it on your garden. Composting it is a great idea, but it's best if you have a separate pile, or piles really. By the year. Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3. Once you've finished adding chicken waste to year 3 pile then you can take Year 1 compost and add it to your garden, flower beds, etc. Till each pile every spring to aerate. After you've used all of year 1, you rotate, and year 2 becomes year 1 and you start a new year 3, make sense?

    For feed bags, we reuse them for a bunch of stuff. We hunt, so after we butcher the deer, we put the bones in the feed bag. We butcher meat chickens, cows and pigs, so after we're done butchering, anything that needs to be disposed of goes into the feed bags and then into the garbage. We cut them and use them for weed barrier in the flower beds. They're great for storing garden hoses and all the chick brooder supplies after we're done brooding in the spring. Any bags that aren't useful, we burn.

    As for the any bedding - well we use straw. When it isn't good anymore, we add it to our mulch piles.

    Happy Recycling!
    1 person likes this.
  9. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    It almost sounds like you live in UK with non of the common USA predators.....[​IMG] You are lucky in that respect.....
  10. jools2014

    jools2014 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2014
    Lelila-yes that makes sense, thanks for the tips-we're not too big on recycling but need to do more of it. Great ideas for how to recycle/reuse feed bags.

    Chic-I do indeed live in the UK-no snakes/hawks/bears/bobcats/raccoons here-I really feel for you guys what you have to deal with! Definitely would've lost a few chickens by now if I had all that to deal with. Well may not even have had chickens or definitely would've had a more secure pen. Just saw a fox tonight but luckily had shut my birds up before he came round-getting a little more worried about that now, but so far all is ok.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by