Storing Leaves?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jennyf, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2016
    Those of you who (like me!) are anxiously awaiting falling leaves to put in your run, does anyone rake and store leaves for over winter and next spring? If so, how do you store them? I'm wondering whether paper bags are better than plastic so they don't get moldy?
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I don't save them but would think plastic would be an invitation to mold as the leaves couldn't readily "breathe" or lose moisture. Even if they feel dry, they are still retaining moisture if they just feel and will acquire some from the ground as well. I think paper would be the way to go. Or burlap. Are gunny sacks even a thing anymore???
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016

    Once upon a time I tried to "compost" my leaves by stacking them in a large upright wire cage. Basically a 4' high wire circle made from 2 x 4 wire. In compost terms, they were the carbon. But because I failed to add any nitrogen, they just sat there and did nothing. Over the course of the winter, the only ones that did much were on the bottom. They eventually started to rot down a bit, but the ones on top stayed "crisp" most of the winter. In a wire cage, they tend to shed rain and snow and quickly dry out once the wind hits them.

    A 25' roll of 4' 2" x 4" welded wire, or high chicken wire (poultry netting), will make two of these bins, and each will hold about 50 cubic feet of material. If you fill and cover the top with a plastic tarp, plywood, tin roof, etc. to shed the rain, they might keep all winter with no damage done to them.

    Also, they do pack down over time due to their own weight. So you can fill them, then come back and add more as time goes by.

    If you don't mind the aesthetics, 4 wood pallets wired together at the corners will also work. Being square, they will hold more and if you place them on concrete blocks on the corners, you can dig leaves out from below as needed. Fill em and cover em and they will last a long time.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. erlibrd

    erlibrd Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Oct 8, 2010
    I save leaves for the run during winter, any left overs go into the garden in spring. I use empty feed bags. I put a tarp on the ground next to the coop, set the bags of leaves on it then fold the tarp over to keep snow off them.
  5. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2016
    Malvern, PA
    My Coop

    I did exactly the above.
    Mine was a 5ft high 8x8 box made of 2x2s and chicken wire stapled on. Chicken wire is cheap compared to hardware cloth.
    I filled the thing quite quickly because we have a lot of trees. But like @howard e said, they compact down, more so with rain. Mine never composted either, and now I use them for the deep litter method, for brooder bedding, to cover fruit peel in the compost etc. It's great to have an endless supply of leaves!!
  6. crescentson

    crescentson Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 11, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    It doesn't matter how you store them, they will compost eventually. The best way to slow that process down is to keep them dry and limit fresh oxygen. The plastic bag method is a commonly used to produce leaf mold mulch for the garden.

    If you use the wire cages, throw a tarp over the top and you're golden.
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Last fall, I collected about 100 bags of leaves from a house in town. Many of them were packed in contractor bags. They stored nicely in the bags by placing the bags so that the openings were facing down, so water would not enter the bags. Many of them went into the run, into the coop,were stored in the green house, used as banking around the green house, mulch in the orchard, garden, and HK mound. I still have a few bags left to continue work on the HK, and will leave a note at that same house, anticipating picking up the fall bounty again this year.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by