Shredded newspaper and junk mail compost?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by gtaus, May 22, 2019.

  1. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

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    I am wondering if I could use my shredded junk mail and shredded newspapers mixed in with the litter for the coop bedding, and later compost it for the vegetable garden? I have removed all staples and plastic windows from the mail. I know that newspapers are supposed to use soy based ink for their papers, which is non toxic, but don't know if junk mail falls into the same category. I don't want my chickens to eat paper with toxic ink and I don't want to put compost in the garden if it contains toxins. I am just trying to reduce the amount of stuff we throw away or recycle, but don't want to cause any damage to my birds or the garden in the process. Any help appreciated.
     
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    I might worry about paper cuts. :p

    Beyond that... DO it. ;)

    I compost lots of junk mail... the red wigglers never seem to show an issue. Now I just bury it. But using as litter would give it even more value. :pop
     
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  3. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Songster

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    We have used shredded paper exclusively for years in our coop and love it. My husband works at a professional building and brings home bags of it regularly. It is cleaner than straw, hay, wood chips or sawdust, easier to transport in his little car, easy to handle, and it's FREE! We are recycling something that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It goes into the garden. We've never seen an injury to our chickens even though we do see them eating it once in a while. We've used it for about eight years and recommend it.
     
  4. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

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    Thanks for the info.
     
  5. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

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    Obviously, the FREE part is appealing to me. But I really try to reduce, reuse, recycle as much as possible. I make wood chips from fallen branches in the yard, I bag up leaves using my riding lawn mower bagger, I dump grass clipping from the bagger into the compost/garden, etc... We will be feeding kitchen scraps to the chickens rather than just composting them this year, and they will probably get fish remains after cleaning fish (I live on a lake). We try to reduce things sent to the landfill as much as possible.

    I am planing on using a deep litter method for the bedding in the coop using wood chips, leaves, and maybe dried grass clippings. I was thinking about just mixing in some shredded paper, but not using it just by itself. My goal is to keep the bedding dry and fluffy, turning the chicken manure into the litter, and only cleaning out the coop once in the spring and again late in the fall before the snow falls. Old bedding litter will be sent to the compost/garden.

    You stated you use shredded paper exclusively for years in your coop. Does the shredded paper mat down and get all funky? How often do you have to change/clean out your paper in the coop? Thanks.
     
  6. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Songster

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    It's pretty cool, it actually wicks away moisture so it stays dry a pretty long time. We're high humidity, in a drier climate it would turn the poop into pebbles and last even longer. We "scoop de poop" and do a complete change-out about once every three months, I'd say, but we clean out the nest boxes more often - whenever they need it or about once a month.

    Lice and mites simply are not a problem in this stuff. It's great!
     
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  7. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

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    Sounds like shredded paper has many benefits. I'm going to try it. Thanks.
     
  8. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

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    I dumped a small grocery bag full of shredded junk mail, newspaper, and cereal box cardboard into the chicks brooder a few hours ago. I just left it in a big pile. My 10 chicks are 4 weeks old. At first they just looked at the shredded paper, then gradually one started to grab a piece in her beak which of course made all the other chicks run after her trying to get the paper. They took turns with that game. I also noticed that some chicks ate a piece of paper, but I don't suppose that will harm them. I just checked on the chicks and the shredded paper pile is completely scratched down level with the other bedding.

    I will be observing how well the shredded paper works with the other wood chips and pine shavings in the brooder. When the chicks are done with the brooder, I will put all the bedding in a compost tumbler (I am currently building) or maybe just use it as top mulch in the raised garden bed. I don't suppose there will be too much fresh chicken manure in that brooder bedding that it would be too "hot" for the plants.

    At least, from now on, I will be repurposing the junk mail, newspapers, and light cardboard as bedding, then as garden compost/mulch, instead of sending it off to the landfill.
     
  9. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Crowing

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    If you lay cardboard boxes flat on the ground, bugs will collect under them for your bugs.
    Any bedding containing fresh manure shouldn't be used on plants, it's too hot even if it's fairly diluted. Best to let it age.
     
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  10. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

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    If I put the bedding into a compost tumbler, or bin, how long does it need to age before it's safe to use? Thanks.

    My main idea is to use a deep litter bedding method where I clean out the coop once late in the fall, after the garden has been harvested, and applying the litter directly on the raised beds to let it winter over. In the spring, I plan on cleaning the coop again and applying that litter on the ground, between the raised beds and letting the bedding compost in place over the summer. I think that should work. But I would like to have some litter composting in a tumbler and/or bin for more immediate use.
     

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