Used bedding

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tlharv, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. tlharv

    tlharv Out Of The Brooder

    I cover a 4' x 5' area with pine shavings in their roost area (where I lock them up at night), and once a month I shovel it all out and replace it with new bedding. The question is, what's the best thing to do with that mixture of poop and pine shavings?

    I could build a compost bin and toss it all in there, but what could I do to break it down faster? Any ideas, verbal or photo, would help tremendously!

  2. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    I put the pine shavings from my coop into my compost bin and it breaks down very quickly! Fabulous compost too.
  3. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    I compost it.

    Getting it wet seems to make a hot fast compost if you want it to break down fast. I hose it down a little and compost in a barrel or Rubbermaid tote during the spring/summer, and put it on the garden when it's finished.

    In the fall/winter I just put it straight on my garden, and it composts however nature dictates.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Most peoples' coop cleanings have too much shavings and too little poo to compost very rapidly. If that is your situation and you want it to compost faster, add materials that are low in carbon ad high in nitrogen -- *fresh* grass clippings, animal manure, commercial high-nitrogen fertilizer, urine, etc.

    If you actually have somewhat more poo than shavings on a per-volume basis, you may be reasonably close to an optimal ratio for composting and might not need to fool with it further.

    Do make sure you dampen it thoroughly, as a pile that's dry in the center won't compost well either. Then maintain as needed to be damp (like laundry after the final spin cycle but before it goes into the drier) without being dry or soggy. You can poke into it every week or so and when the center cools back down then turn the pile so it will re-heat; but it may or may not actually be worth the bother of doing that [​IMG]

    Alternatively, spread it around as a thin mulch or amendment under plants that can "take a joke" regarding high/low nitrogen conditions. Or till it into your veg garden and by next spring it will have turned into a decent dose of decomposing organic matter to improve soil health and water-holding capacity. Or just put it in a big pile out back and let it take its time composting [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009
    North Carolina Sandhills
    Used chicken coop bedding is nearly perfect for rapid breakdown.

    Compost bins are for pretty. Stuff composts just as well in a well-built pile.

    You need to stack it by laying down 4-6 inches, moistening it so that its like a wrung-out sponge, laying down another 4-6 inches, moistening it, ... until you have a cubical pile at least 2-3 feet wide and at least 2-3 feet high. (4x4x4 being close to ideal, or, if you have more, extend the width to make it 4x8x8).

    If it wants to pack in a way that excludes air or if you have a very wet climate, use long straw, corn stalks, or brushwood to make a chimney in the middle and a few air vents in between the layers.

    If you have a very wet climate you should round off the top to prevent it from absorbing too much water. If you have a dry climate, dish the top to make sure you collect precious rain.

    You can just leave it as is and it will break down in 6 weeks to 6 months depending on climate and season.

    Or you can turn it a couple times each week, so that the outside material is moved to the inside and the top to the bottom and you'll get compost in about a month in any climate (may need to tarp it against excess rain and/or insulate it against freezing solid.

    IMO, intensive turning is too much work. Compost happens by itself if you build the pile even close to right.
  6. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    I spread it in my garden then turn it under. About a month or so later I plant. Grows some very nice sweet potatoes. For salad greens or other stuff that are eaten raw and with a short time from planting to harvest I would fallow the ground another month or two, but I like to use it around stuff that's going to be a while before it's harvested.


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