I think I'm starting to like deep litter. Maybe.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by rubberduckies, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There has been a lot of trial and error with the waterer in the brooder. But FINALLY! I made a waterer out of a 1 gallon ice cream bucket and wow... Everything stays so dry. Just a little wet bedding right around the bucket but that's it.

    I always thought is hate deep litter but today (first day cleaning after the new waterer was put in) I scooped out all the wet stuff and chunks of poop. Then I stirred the rest around and was like "wow, that's amazing!" I added a scoop of new bedding and sprinkled on a little more PDZ. Viola! Dry, odor-free, and awesome. If this is how the rest of the world does deep litter I can see why you love it.

    When I was finished I looked down and my bag of "trash" I had cleaned out and thought "This stuff looks perfect for compost!" I've never even attempted to make my own compost but I've read about it and this stuff was about 50/50 poop and pine shavings (with a little PDZ sprinkled in. Does that make a difference in compost??) and the moisture from the wet part of the brooder made it just moist enough for compost, I think. I don't want to throw it away! I never thought I'd like duck poop so much but...

    I really want to have a compost pile but my SO thinks its gross and will stink. No matter how much I tell him it won't. I think he'd be ok with it if it was contained. Any ideas about how to make a cheap (preferably free) compost bin? Maybe put 4 pallets up like walls and screw them together?? Maybe I could paint it or something to make it a little prettier? Or (if I could find one) and old trash can with holes drilled in the bottom (would I need holes in the top and sides too??). Give me some ideas. Pics would be awesome. :)
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    You can do quite a bit on the cheap for compost. You could make a deluxe setup if you have about a four by ten piece of ground with five pallets. That would make two side-by-side open-front bins. You can add a pallet as a door for the front of each side, so that would be seven pallets.

    Compost done correctly does not stink. You need some basic things:

    Balance of carbon and nitrogen - which the poopy bedding already has
    Some air - either needs to be tossed, or get fancy with the design for a system that does not require turning (more expense and effort to set up)
    Some water (not too much) - if a handful of compost, squeezed hard, produced several drops of water but not more than that, it's great
    pH between maybe 5.5 and 8 - too low and it smells like vinegar, too high and it smells like ammonia (if too low, add ashes or limestone, if too high, add something acidy)


    and there's always a fifth thing I don't remember..... I'll edit to add when I think of it.....
     
  3. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the pallet idea! I've seen something like that. They had 3 of them and they were at different stages of composting. 3 might be too much for me but maybe 2 would work. I have an old trash can I could drill holes in but it doesn't have a top. It's about 1'x2' around and about 3' high. Would that be big enough? If it is I can drill holes and start adding to it now.
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I dump all my brooder shavings - AFTER each batch o' chicks or ducklings are through brooding - into a compost thingie I have. Bought it at Gardeners.com Check out the options if you need to find something to please your SO.

    Or just make a single bin with pallets.

    Not all that much goes into the compost but soiled brooder shavings and poop from the coop, garden cuttings the chickens have taken down to twigs, tree leaves, banana peels, egg shells, avocado skins and seeds (wondering about those but.... Oh well) and other kitchen scrap stuff I don't feed to the flock.

    You have the right idea! I have never composted before and not sure I am doing it "right," now, but I feel good about it. :p
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    You could start now with that old trash can, and expand over time. The optimal pile size is a four foot cube, I am told. And of course, compost doesn't sit in a cube, it sits kind of like a cone. And optimal is one thing, real life another. I have multiple compost piles. A certificate in composting, even. So I have a tumbler I was given, a 3x3x3' bin, and six piles that range in size from about 10' diameter to 8' wide, 3' high, 16' long.
     
  6. ducksinarow

    ducksinarow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read on byc that one of the members use the duck pen itself as a composting bin. Ducks till it constantly and add water to it and the compost turns into dirt very quickly. I thought this was interesting.
     
  7. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just looked around online and saw people making compost bins out of 18 gallon storage containers. Hmm. I guess if they can do it, so can I. Lol. Should I be worried about it not having a lid? I don't feel like its really a big deal. I still have the old bedding from this morning in a trash bag. I'm going to drill lots of holes and throw that in there. I'm so excited! Yummy food for my garden!
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Not having a lid means that rain and snow get in, and if the drainage is slow, it could get anaerobic around the bottom, and that could become aromatic. Also, I don't know if you have any raccoons or other critters likely to browse the pile. A piece of metal hardware cloth with a big rock on it might be an idea.
     
  9. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Amiga, I'm sure there are raccoons around here somewhere but we've never had a problem even when I left a bag of trash on the porch and forgot to put it in the big outside trash can. Miles and dogs seem to be the only things around here to worry about. (And hawks, but the enclosure will have a roof). Maybe I can find something to put on top. Maybe I could just go buy an 18 gallon storage bin. I think they're about $7. Hmm. Something to think about. About how long does it take for your poop bedding to actually turn into usable compost?

    Ducksinarow, I've heard of people doing another kind of deep litter where the litter composts itself. It might work great but I'm not ok with letting them sleep on all their on poop. Just seems... Idk.
     
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    In New England, here it takes several months. And that's because I just toss it in a pile and let it take its own sweet time. I do monitor for odors, and turn or adjust it if necessary, which is hardly ever. My kitchen scraps are what can get a little whiffy and unbalanced.
     

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