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

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

  1. 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?

  2. fullhouse

    fullhouse Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    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

    Nov 22, 2007
    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

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    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.


  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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