How or whether to compost moldy lay crumbles


Jul 2, 2011
I live in a very humid climate and have to get rid of moldy organic crumbles periodically. I thought this stuff would be ok in my compost piles (I keep one outside the hen yard and two inside and put stuff I do not want them to eat in the outside one. Maybe once a year I toss the finished compost into the hen yard so the girls can enjoy the bugs before the compost goes to the garden. This has worked fine, but I recently dumped a bunch of moldy crumbles in my outer pile and it went all stinky on me. I piled grass clippings and leaves on it and am hoping for the best. Does anybody have experience composting old chicken feed? Did it work? Is the end result useable? I hope for the voices of experience! Thanks all!
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I already did that. I am wondering if anybody out there had this stinky hard mass thing happen to them though, and how long it took to break down, and whether it made useable compost in the long run? In other words, is this something to keep doing or should I stop putting it in there now!
You will get a usable product. Organic material gets broken down (rots) due to microbes eating it. Those microbes can be aerobic or anaerobic. The aerobic use oxygen, the others do not. The anaerobic will often turn it into a stinky slimy mess, but the end result is usable. Just don't feed it to your chickens while it is still slimy.

What probably happened is that it got so wet the air was forced out of it and anaerobic activity set up. That can happen just with grass clippings and such. You can mix it up and get oxygen in there and dry it out a bit if you want, but I would not. That moldy mess would have a field day with my allergies.

I have put cat food in my compost heap, but not chicken feed yet. It breaks down.
The pile is cooking ! I stirred it with an O'o (Hawaiian digging stick) and Broke the hard stinky mass up and watered and added leaves and coffee grounds.After two days the smell is ok and there is steam coming out! It sure did get stinky first though. I think it did go anaerobic for a bit there.
I've done that. What I did was dug out my compost heap and made sure it was all in the bottom part sort of layered with a bit of leaves and such so the chickens wouldn't get to it until it was pretty well cooked. I don't know if it stunk or what way down there but a month later there wasn't any smell and I couldn't tell it had ever been chicken food.
Lawd does it ever get rancid! Last spring when digging up the winter run area I had to take many breaks. Gagging odor. But that was when we used crumbles and much of it was scattered on the ground by our hens. It composted very quickly once it was turned into our actual compost pile and was able to all go into the garden in just a few weeks. We don't have the problem of wasted food in run anymore due to switching to pellets. The bottom of the tote used for food storage is dumped into the compost (what's mostly dust and crumbles) and never a problem with odor.
I do keep one messy compost wire hoop bin outside the coop so I have a place to put stuff they should not eat. I also have them fenced out of the one I raise potatoes in, and I am always raiding that one for worms for the hens.
They do love their worms!

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