poop management

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dftkarin, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

    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 compost? 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. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    Here in Maine, I'm keeping a hot compost pile going all winter. The trick is to add enough other material to it that will feed off the nitrogen in the poop, make the pile large enough to retain heat and control the moisture level.

    The recommended size for a hot pile is 3'x3'x3'. My pile is about 40" high, about 6' wide and 10' long at the base. It is mostly wood shavings and coffee grounds, though it got two wheel barrows full of bedding and poop a few weeks ago. (And one dead chicken last week.) Every day I feed it a 5 gallon bucket of coffee grounds and 4 or 5 buckets of shavings (free from work.) I keep a tarp over it to keep the heavy snows from saturating it and only add enough water (snow) to keep the pile moist, not soggy. It cooks at about 140 degrees below the surface.

    That's how I keep the compost going all winter, but it isn't necessary for the operation of my coop which is simply deep litter. I just keep adding wood shavings to the floor so the poop mixes in. I'll clean out the coop two or three times a year. Occasionally, I'll rake up some clumps of poop from under the roosts and throw it into the pile but usually the birds do a good enough job mixing it into the bedding.

    Not sure what I'd do with your compost now. Probably just cover it with shavings, or shredded cardboard or newspaper and call it finished. (Too much nitrogen (poop) and not enough carbon material (shavings, etc.) is what causes compost to stink. Whent he thaw comes, the microbes will jump-start the composting process and you'll probably have to keep adding shavings, leaves, cardboard, etc.

    Having a huge garden myself, I'd simply start another pile! And keep some lime handy for the spring thaw in case it's needed.

  3. Scratchn By

    Scratchn By Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2008
    East Texas
    Hello! I live in the country, and have a lot of acreage. However, my runs are not huge... To combat the poop prob I usually cover the run and house floor with hay (cheap stuff). When things get out of hand, I rake and burn the stuff. Maybe this is not an option for you? I do save some for planting, but you can get overrun with the stuff quick! Good luck!

    The poop is the only down side I have with mine. I let them free-range during the day and you step on the stuff all over the yard.
  4. CTChickenMom

    CTChickenMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2009
    SE Connecticut
    I would try some Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for your compost as well as for your yard. Check out this site: http://www.shadowridgedonkeys.com/perma_food_grade.htm. Its nontoxic and earth-friendly and is good for animals and people. It will help to dry up the poo and will prevent insects from making a nest of it. I would think that if the poo is dry, it will be easier to rake up and less likely to leave burn marks.

    This site was very informative. Check it out!
  5. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    I'd just sprinkle some lime over it for now until better weather then turn it over and mix well.I let mine build up in the coop and just put lime on it to dry it up and keep the smell down,but It is also in a place where the chickens can't pick through it. Will

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