Layer flock on a decayed animal compost pile

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by amisfarms, May 15, 2016.

  1. amisfarms

    amisfarms New Egg

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    May 15, 2016
    I have a new flock of hens coming next week and while cleaning out the area in and around the hen house, I came across a large mound of composted earth containing sheep bones, skulls, etc. The former owner raised sheep and they had a bunch of lambs that didn't survive one year (from weakness and lack of care, not disease.. I believe). The pile is fully decayed, 2+ years old. I was hoping to give my hens access to the pile to scratch it up and turn the land but now knowing that it was in fact an animal graveyard, I'm wondering if it is safe to have the hens picking at the pile. Any advice?
     
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    If it was not 2 years old, I'd say keep them out. Botulism can be caused by maggots that have been feeding on decayed flesh. But, it it's just bones and nothing rotting, I'm not sure there would be an actual issue. Hopefully, someone else can chime in. I've never seen the question asked before. Is it too much to remove or fence around?
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    They will be fine. Actually the bones will be a good calcium source. Actually I know people that will give their flock a small carcass occasionally, chickens are carnivores.

    Mrs K
     
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I have to agree, just that I'd never seen someone ask about an actual long-term animal carcass dump before. You don't want them eating rotting flesh and getting maggots off it, but since these are long ago dried up, I do think it's fine, as Mrs. K said. It's just not the usual question, LOL.
     
  5. amisfarms

    amisfarms New Egg

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    May 15, 2016
    Thanks for the feedback. I found out today from the previous owner that the pile is in fact 10+ years old from the owner before them. It's a very rich pile of earth, just scattered with bone fragments! I feel reassured and I'm sure my hens will enjoy scratching it up. Thanks again!
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Oh wow, then it's perfectly fine! Have a great time with your chickens!
     

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