Pine shavings - how fast do they break down in compost?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SewingDiva, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was going to post this over on Easy Garden, but thought there might be a larger body of knowledge here on BYC. I seem to recall reading that pine shavings don't break down that fast, so I wonder if I should try to remove the chicken poo from the shavings before tossing the poo onto my compost pile.

    Our coop is small (its a Playhouse Coop) so this would not be that much work. I think I could use a litter box scoop or something similair.

    Is that a crazy idea?

    ~Phyllis
     
  2. fullhouse

    fullhouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They breakdown very slow. I wet and turn frequently, add green material on top. I think moisture is key. I have a scope shovel made for manure, it helps, but chickens usually grind in the poo before I can get it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2008
  3. halo

    halo Got The Blues

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    My Coop
    I use a lot of shavings myself, for my horses and my chickies. I use it directly in my flower beds for mulch, rather than compost as they are slower to break down. They make great mulch, tho.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If you have mostly pure shavings, they break down pretty slowly, especially if you do not take pains to keep the pile moist (shavings absorb a *lotta* water...).

    The higher the ratio of poo to shavings, the faster the composting.

    You can speed it up further by a) making sure to keep it suitably moist (not soggy); b) tossing in a shovelful of garden dirt here and there through the pile; and c) adding other high-nitrogen material, e.g. other animals' poo, or have the males in your family take a whiz on the pile whenever they're outside, or grass clippings if you don't just mulch them and leave them on the lawn (tho you should), or if you're in a hurry you can even add commercial hi-N fertilizer, up to and including ammonium nitrate or ammonia.

    One thing that I think helps a lot is to use a droppings board under the roost, so that each morning you scrape out almost 50% of the birds' daily poo output in fairly pure (few-shavings) form to put on the pile.

    HTH,

    Pat
     
  5. LittleChickenRacingTeam

    LittleChickenRacingTeam On vacation

    Jan 11, 2007
    Ontario, CANADA
    I add the pine shavings to our burn pile. I save some of the chicken poop to make my own fertilizer.
     

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