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Quick composting chicken manure?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by vermontgal, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a barrel spin-type composter that suggests it can accelerate the composting process to around 4 weeks.

    Do you think this would work for chicken manure + shavings?

    I am going to have about 4-6 weeks of good composting weather before the garden is planted in late May. If I could accelerate the process, that would be helpful to me. I would be able to spin it every day.
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    The key is to get as close to optimal moisture levels and C:N ratios as possible. You will have to add some water to the bedding, and most probably it has way too much shavings in proportion to the amount of poo so you will have to add a bunch of pure poo (like from droppings board) or other high-N amendment if you want fast-as-possible composting.

    I do not offhand know what the target amount would be, but I expect that a careful inspection of whatcha got (maybe taking a few representative samples and actually separating out the poo vs shavings by hand, then weighing each) plus looking up the book values for C and N content and doing the math should enable you to optimize things. If you really care that much.

    Personally I'd just pump in some extra hi-N stuff and dampen it and then let happen what may [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  3. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    As far as ratios go, here is what the Seattle Tilth says in their write-up on composting chicken manure:
    "To keep things simple most composters follow the general rule of 1 part brown to 2 parts green. However, because chicken manure is so high in Nitrogen you may be more successful using a 1:1 or even a 2:1 mixture."

    By my reading, this implies that when you eyeball it, having about equal amounts of shavings = poop is good, and it might even be OK to have more shavings than poop. Pat, you are right about also adding moisture, and I plan to do that. I will also toss in some compost accelerator (bacteria).

    Most people say it takes 6 months to a year to compost chicken manure, and so I wonder if there are others who have successfully accelerated the process in a spin composter?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2009
  4. LVVCHAP

    LVVCHAP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just started to raise chickens last July and so far all the manure is going on the compost pile. From my past experiences though I would think that all you would need to do is add some moisture to the litter. Try it and if it heats that is really all that matters. If you can keep good temps for a few weeks it will be composted. I am anxious to see if there is a difference in my pile this year.
    Good luck!
     
  5. gimme sum eggs

    gimme sum eggs Out Of The Brooder

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    The ratio is 3 parts "brown" to 1 part Nitrogen. Browns are dead leaves, vegetable scraps, sawdust, etc. If you have it, fresh green grass clippings will give all the N you need. That stuff heats my compost pile right up. If you're doing it right, the inner part of your pile should hit 130 deg. F or so.
    This also pasteurizes the soil and kills most of the harmful pathogens. The other ingredient, you'll be adding when you put the chicken poo in. The fresher, the more active microbes it contains to get the reaction going.

    Here's a great site (like this one) where almost any question can be answered by people with experience.
    This link will take you to the soil/composting forum.
    http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/soil/
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2009
  6. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    4 weeks? Well, girlie, if it works, please email me with the name of your composter [​IMG]

    I have compost both in a bin and a plain ol' pile on the ground. I haven't seen a quantifiable difference in the speed of decomposition between the two of them. The pile on the ground, however, is significantly easier to toss. The shavings just plain take a while to break down. Water and grass will help. If you don't have the C:N mix right, then all decomposition will likely stop. Nature will take her own sweet time. Try to be patient - It will be worth it.
     
  7. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, cool, I just got a compost tumbler today and was reading up on using it... What I read is that tumblers can handle more brown material than traditional piles can. So I was planning to put in a bunch of browns (probably old straw/hay from the goat stall) as the base, and start adding chicken manure until it heats up.

    Vermont, I'm really interested to know how your composting goes. Please post back and let me know!
     
  8. bigjohn

    bigjohn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am interested, too, to see some results. I have quail and I let them poop on newspaper, which in turn is going into a compost bin. The poop is much wetter than chicken poop. But it does stink and I am trying to find a practical method to allow it to compost much quicker. I add other food items to try and help. It seems that if I cover it with some dirt or leaves that the odor lessens, but not sure if the whole thin pieces of newspaper are composting correctly despite the large amount of poop.

    Any ideas on on a good way to rollup wet newspapers with lots of poop and get it to compost without odor? And I add to it everyday.
     
  9. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    I keep a bucket that I fill about half way with water. Each day, I scoop poop off nest boxes and roosts and then add that to the water and stir a little. When the mixture gets thick, I add a little water. And when the bucket fills, I pour a little on the compost pile to get it cooking good. I have a separate pile of the wood shavings/poop from shoveling out the coop. I mix in some straw and then pour my poop liquid all over it. I keep it wet with water and mix it up every few days and add poop liquid once a week or so. During the summer, I add in mowed grass and during the winter I add in dried leaves. It composts nicely.

    Oh - the poop liquid bucket does NOT smell pleasant. I keep a lid on it.
     
  10. spottedtail

    spottedtail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Use straw instead of wood shavings, if you can.
    Shavings take longer to decompose and they have a tendancy to 'compress', which doesn't allow good air flow.

    spot
     

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