Self-renewing Eco System/food Supply

gsim

Songster
10 Years
Jun 18, 2009
1,997
41
196
East Tennessee
Am wanting to put a compost heap in chicken pen and "seed" it with crickets and nightcrawlers. Escapees would become food for my pullets. Thought I would put chicken wire over it to prevent birds from ripping it up and plundering the colony in one day.

Anyone out there ever done that or heard of it? Great way to have a renewable food supply of fresh protein and really a superior food to store-bought stuff, just as fresh greens are.
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
349
341
Ontario, Canada
If the pile is fenced off so the chickens can't scratch in it, I doubt you'd get any more bugs wandering into the run than will wander into the run *anyhow*. If you think about it, unless your chicken area is surrounded by pavement, it's *all* a big natural composting-and-invertebrate-growing area out there beyond the run fence
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Many people throw compost-pile type stuff into the chicken run directly, then periodically shovel it out to finish composting elsewhere once the chickens are having no further fun with it. There are both pros and cons to this, the main cons being that you cannot guarantee the chickens mightn't get into things that could hurt them (even if you are careful about keeping poisonous plants out, that still leaves mold and large fibrous items that can cause crop impaction). I do it and have not had any problems, but, you would have to decide for yourself.

Do remember that most internal parasites of chickens have insects and worms as their intermediate hosts, so the more bugs and stuff your chickens are eating, the more likely to get a diversity of internal parasites. I am not saying this necessarily argues for trying to minimize bugs and worms in the diet, but it is something to be aware of in your overall management strategy.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat
 

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