How to compost?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by Sylviaanne, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. Sylviaanne

    Sylviaanne Overrun With Chickens

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    I have a lot of chicken poo mixed with pine shavings and hay. Maybe some seeds from their scratch grain.

    I have a hole in my yard where my son was going to build a garden about 8 years ago but my husband never bought him the soil for it and he lost interest.

    So, I have the poo, what else do I need? BTW, we don't drink coffee and don't know anyone who does. Oh, yes, I have dogs, can their poo go in there too?
     
  2. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    No waste from dos or any other carnivore.

    Just make a nice neat pile. Wet it down in layers. It will get very hot, very fast. When it cools down flip it and mix it. Do it until it quits heating up. Dump in your hole to finish.
     
  3. Sylviaanne

    Sylviaanne Overrun With Chickens

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    Do I use water to wet it down?

    I figured to put it in the hole and turn it when needed but in the meantime let the chickens go dig in it if they want to. What other kinds of stuff should I or should I not put in it? Thanks.
     
  4. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    If you have a very high ratio of pine shavings, you might want to up the nitrogen by adding a bit of urine, and all kinds of greens you have will add some nitrogen too. If you're just keeping it in a pile, I would not put spoiled food in it as it will attract rats and other pests, but all garden waste you've got can go there.

    *Edit* And yeah, water is fine for wetting it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  5. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    I use the deep bedding method and there is enough waste for the bedding to compost. Also the bedding is already partially decomposed before I compost it. If the bedding is fresh, it will likely need more nitrogen, and will take a lot longer. I also use the fine bedding so it ill decompose faster.

    I use water to up the moisture compost and get it cooking. It is too dry straight out of the house.

    I till it in after it stops heating up, and let it finish in the soil.

    I do not allow the birds access to composting bedding. You can certainly compost right in your hole, but I like my piles. They get more O2 in piles.

    The good thing about composting is you can do it as you please and it will decompose regardless. Eventually. You can put a lot of labor and thought into it or not.
    Generally speaking, the four keys could be the carbon/nitrogen ratio, moisture content, O2, and texture of the materials.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    How big is this hole, what size garden are you wanting to plant, and how much bedding do you have available? Am I correct in assuming that you are not a gardener, but might like to try your hand at it?
     
  7. Sylviaanne

    Sylviaanne Overrun With Chickens

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    Mostly what I have is hay, chicken poop, pine shavings and some grass. Maybe a little bit of newspaper. Pretty much in that order, could be chicken poop in first place though. I don't think I will be using much pine shavings except for the chicks in the brooder. I have some in the nesting boxes because it seems to keep the eggs cleaner than the hay.
     
  8. Sylviaanne

    Sylviaanne Overrun With Chickens

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    What kind of bedding do you use?
    Most of it coming out of the coop is dry but some days, like when it has been raining, the fresh poop doesn't dry as fast.
    Well, the chickens go through it where ever it is and I know some people kind of "pen" their compost piles up so I thought the hole would be a good place to put it.
    What is the carbon and nitrogen that goes into the pile?
     
  9. Sylviaanne

    Sylviaanne Overrun With Chickens

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    At a guess I'd say the hole is about 4 ft "square" and about 8-10 inches deep. I wasn't wanting to have a garden, I just have all this chicken poo and thought I would do something with it. Bedding? Um, I'd say maybe 3 medium wheelbarrows full. Nope, not a gardener but I have been reading a little about people using the chicken poop for a compost pile and I thought maybe I could even sell it when it is done. Is it ever "done?"
     
  10. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    All organic material is mainly made of carbon. In a compost, to maintain optimal living conditions, the bacteria that breaks down the waste needs food, carbon to get energy and nitrogen for protein needs. The optimal mix is about 25 to 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. Usually people aim for the 30:1 mix to keep down smells. Here are some links with the composition of different things:

    http://www.weblife.org/humanure/chapter3_7.html
    http://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/c-n-ratio/
    http://compost.css.cornell.edu/OnFarmHandbook/apa.taba1.html

    And some info on the composting process itself:

    http://dccn.typepad.com/home_compos...the-four-stages-of-a-hot-compost-process.html
    http://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/compoststages.html

    But to make it simple: Dry and brown stuff usually has a high carbon content, dry leaves, bedding, straw etc. Fresher garden waste, like grass clippings has a higher nitrogen content. Anything that comes out of you or your animals is high in nitrogen, chicken poop and urine are your friends here. In addition to carbon and nitrogen, you will need oxygen, which you add by turning the pile and by packing it loosely in layers, preferably with something that allows it to breathe in between layers. chopped up sticks and similar stuff work for that, although they take ages to break down. In addition to these things, the bacteria require a moist (not wet) environment, water works well, but ordering your male family members to sneak a pee in there every once in a while is good too. Nothing wrong with you doing it yourself either [​IMG]. The optimal moisture level in a compost should be that when you grab a handfull of the stuff, you can squeeze out a few drops, but it shouldn't be wet. If it is too wet, you will start to get anaerobic breakdown (rotting), which will lead to a nasty smell. It makes okay soil that way too, but it's a different process, and usually not something people want going on in their yards.

    I'm not sure if you've been visiting my hot composting thread, but I've chronicled my own composting there, you could read through that if you're interested.
     

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