poop management

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dftkarin, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 27, 2008
    I only have 4 large chickens and its still frozen in my area but I dump the droppings board poop into the compost every monthing and since its frozen and can't be mixed in - the compost box is almost overflowing with frozen chicken poop. Also, I have a small fenced yard and the chickens seem to mostly keep to a limited area since the snow covers the ground - but its covered with chicken poop too. I'm scared what it will be like (and smell like!) when the spring comes and we have a month or two of non-stop mud (this will be the first year with chickens and their poop). I plan to make a sand-filled enclosure when things thaw out enough to move things around - but is there anything I can or should do to pevent my yard smelling terrible??? Can I sprinkle lime or anything? What can I do with the compst? When it thaws I can mix it in with everything else - but how long does it take for chicken poop to break down enough to not burn things?
     
  2. wasatusay

    wasatusay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Even tho it is cold I would cover it with a heavy black plastic to get some solar heat going. Anything that is decomposing will generate some heat of its own and help to break it down. Add some leaves, hay, what ever organic matter you have to help dilute it a bit.
    I know that when I move my coops after the winter I usually do not get any grass growing until the next year. My mom put chicken poo on her yard many many years back straight from a family friends chicken barn and it burned everything for almost a year and stunk to high heaven for months. The neighbors were not pleased to say the least!
    I do mix some of mine with pine straw and spread around my acid loving shrubs, but always around the widest part of the plant. I have read the diameter of a plant or tree will tell you the diameter of the roots in the ground.
    I have 5 acres here to spread or bury the hay/poo mix and a lot more poo so I am not too worried about any one spot. I have even offered my friends to dig any of the compost that I bury for their garden projects as long as they bring back new dirt to fill the hole.
     
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Poopy paths are one reason that it doesn't bother me the chickens don't like to go out in the snow. Now that there's been some melting, they've been out most every day. Generally, the poop freezes as soon as it hits the lawn but, at least, there's more lawn for it to "hit" and not just my carefully shoveled and narrow pathways.

    During warmer weather, I did use some garden lime (dolomite limestone). The birds had made a mess in an area that I wasn't interested in cleaning up for awhile. It worked really well but it does add it's own odor to the backyard. After about 24 hours, all the odors of one sort or another were gone.

    Be very sure that it is dolomite limestone because other types of lime would need to be applied more carefully than just sprinkling them about. You would be at serious risk of killing your lawn and even injuring your birds.

    The cooperative extension (Coop Ex [​IMG]) folks advise aging any manure several months whether you are composting it or not. I think it is generally better to be safe than sorry when applying it to the garden (especially on something I want to eat [​IMG]). Wasatusay mentions pine straw and that's great stuff for composting.

    A good supply of pine needles, layered with some garden soil and chicken manure will turn into the best compost. You'll feel like you've created something of real value after a few weeks time, some water, and stirring it up once or twice.

    If you've got wood mixed in with the poop, you may have a long wait ahead of you for composting. Wood is nearly 100% cellulose and nearly 0% nitrogen. There won't be any rapid "cycling of life" within that compost pile. That's what you want to happen but without more nitrogen (along with the water and stirring) it's not going to be a "lively" pile of plant nutrients anytime soon.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2009
  4. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 27, 2008
    Thank you. I still have some bagged tree leaves that I collected but never ended up dumping last fall - when things thaw enough that I can mix things up in the compost (its a black box, probably 3'x3'x3') - can I mix in a bunch of leaves to encourage things to start decomposing more quickly? I live in a condo in a city and have a small backyard and I managed to keep the smell of the chickens down and my neighbor (who started out anti-chicken but agreed to let me try it to see if it was as clean and non-bothersome as I claimed) hasn't complained. Now that the chickens are full sized and pooping at full speed - I'm amazed at how much poop there is to deal with!! Its overflowing the compost box, its on the back porch, along paths in the back yard, all around the coop and run - I'm scared of the smell when it thaws out!!
     
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lots of different leaves - some will mat down and make a slimy mess, others compost easily. You may want to run your lawnmower over the leaves to get the process started more easily.

    If you are inclined towards buying soil amendments for your yard, you may want to buy stuff to mix with the manure & leaves. I store lots of dahlia roots in peat moss every Winter. The peat moss makes a nice addition to the compost pile in the Spring.

    Chickens do poop a lot. They don't urinate so it all comes out as a wet pile but washes away with a hose fairly easily.

    Steve
     

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