Is it ok for my chickens to have access to the compost made from my house rabbit and hamster litter/

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by AGB680, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. AGB680

    AGB680 New Egg

    Dec 21, 2013
    I've been told that rabbit litter (wood stove pellets, orchard grass, oat grass, poop and urine) makes great compost and now we also have a hamster that uses aspen wood shavings for litter. My question after reading the article about giving chickens plenty of compost to scratch vs. giving them a lot of feed is far better and cheaper but I wonder if the rabbit compost will be enough for them?? Otherwise I suppose I could add a truck load of compost to the existing pile to provide more food for them! Thanks-
    Amy on the Oregon Coast
  2. GreenSahara

    GreenSahara Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 8, 2013
    The more compost that your chickens have to scratch through, the better. No matter how much you put down, they should be able to reap a benefit from it. That being said, the more compost that you can amass for your chickens, the more likely it is to attract worms, grubs and other goodies for your chickens to enjoy.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    It's fine for them to scratch in, but they also need feed. Compost won't provide everything they need to be high producing birds.
  4. GreenSahara

    GreenSahara Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 8, 2013
    Definitely. It would take a ridiculous quantity of compost to feed your chickens off of it solely.

    You might want to check this out though,
    Good food for thought.
  5. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    Compost is great for them to play around in and pick out treats but they should also have layer pellets out for them to eat as well to help give them everything they need for the hard task of egg making.
  6. AGB680

    AGB680 New Egg

    Dec 21, 2013
    I asked this in direct response to the article regarding that farmer in Vermont who doesn't feed his chickens at all but instead allows them to 'work' for their food by scratching at huge piles of cow manure/hay/dirt compost heaps....
  7. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 29, 2012
    Huge piles and that produced by two pets sound like different plans altogether.

    I think I'd stick to feeding them but letting them scratch in a compost with fruit and vege scraps. That's just me though I find the thought of them eating poop a bit gross lol

    Mine love to get in our compost but don't think it would ever come close to providing all their food needs so either they were hungry chickens or it was bloody huge poop pile he had!
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Magazine articles rarely tell the whole story. Can you post a link to the article?

    Depends on how big the compost pile it and what is in it, chickens don't eat poop, they may eat hay but probably not feces soiled hay. Chickens feeding from compost piles are eating bugs attracted to the pile and human food scraps in the pile and chickens in that scenario are probably also foraging in a free range situation. Providing the proper kind of compost pile and free ranging foraging, you will notice they eat less purchased chicken feed...but they still need access to the proper feed at all times.

    Rabbit litter is excellent compost for feeding gardens as it can be put on at any time without aging as there is no risk of nitrogen burning the's what I use when I plant garlic in the fall.
  9. JesNflock

    JesNflock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2013
    NE Florida,US
    I believe this is the guy that you are talking about that does the composting and no feed. This was being discussed on another thread as well that thread is

    Compost video: Hopefully this link works...if not I posted the thread link that it was being discussed on.
  10. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    It is best to keep chickens away from compost piles unless you are prepared to treat them for intestinal diseases. Rotting vegetation, meats, dung, ammonia, molds are all potential problems for the health of the flock. Just about every poultry publication will advise people to avoid those things. I'm sure I'll get some responses and referred to some article a person posted on his webpage. This subject has been discussed before, at length on BYC. Common sense should be the basis for the health of the flock.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
  11. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I'd like to know what that farmer in Vermont feeds his chickens when the snow and ice is piled up about 3' (or more) deep.

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