vermicompost litter

Captain Quark

Songster
Apr 29, 2020
86
197
128
Ontario, Canada
I've read somewhere (I thought here but can't find it now) of someone who used vermicompost as the deep litter method for quail bedding for an indoor pen. We are in the middle of building a new indoor 10' x 4' pen with the intent to try the deep litter vermicompost. I thought I better re-read on what the worms need and more each thread I find is saying the poop will be too hot and kill the worms. I hope no one tells my husband because it's already a done deal 😂

Anyone able to share experiences with composing with deep little indoors? My intent was to reduce cleaning, reduce smell, cut down on the dust spread (we are making a semi contained shower unit with sand only to encourage them to bath there), use up the spilled food waste, compost my kitchen scraps and then use the compost soil in the garden / container gardening in the winter.

In theory good sounds excellent, now if only could find the thread with the person that did it successfully to make sure four cubic feet of soil full of worms isn't going to go to waste!
 

Dan Clark

Chirping
Jul 20, 2020
105
160
81
Might be better to do outside the amount of waste that you will have is staggering and you will need to mix in dirt in order to get rid of the smell. I’m interested is your pen off the ground or on the ground? Because if it on the ground you will have to till it to mix in the poop Instead of hoping worms will break it up before they get eaten or before birds poop again.

most compost piles are like 3 feet deep my biggest problem with compost is having enough material to put in the Compost piles Both green and brown in late summer. So I’m thinking that next year I will move my compost pile right under cage so when they poop it will be right in compost pile.
 

CaloosaBirds

Chirping
Nov 22, 2016
41
33
68
I think the person who had that posted an update that theirs was not deep enough. I would think (having had quail AND worm bins for a long time, however, without mixing them, so I am ALSO intrigued by this...) that using something deeper, like the depth of a large bin, would be a better bet. Have you vermicomposted before? I will try to find the original post, since I marked it.

I use deep litter for my quail, but they are outside, so when the litter starts to break down and attracts various composting bugs (as well as hiding some of the mealworms that they didn't eat, LOL) it's not a big deal. Although the quail LOVE searching for bugs in the litter, so when I do partial cleanings, they are in heaven.
 

maadroj

Songster
May 25, 2019
306
381
158
You might be thinking of this one:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/smell-free-quail-coop.1280509/page-4
Which didn't turn out too well in the end, apparently.

I haven't intentionally tried this, but we have a large outdoor aviary on the ground, approximately 8*30 ft. Shortly after introducing 14 quail last year, we added a thick layer of wood mulch and replenished it periodically. At some point, I discovered significant earthworm activity in the ground underneath. We weren't intentionally vermicomposting, but it seems like it could be possible under the right conditions--including not overcrowding and providing a thick, protective mulch or other layer. We've never needed to remove mulch, only add new material. During the pandemic, we ran out of mulch and it did eventually start to smell, so this time we watered the ground heavily, raked to mix up the soil, then dumped fresh mulch in a nice thick layer. Fresh and clean.

Good luck!
 

0wen

Songster
Mar 25, 2016
715
180
151
Southwest Virginia
I can't imagine this working indoors. I keep quail on deep litter outside in an 8' x 16' aviary. I also vermicompost indoors and outdoors. I think the volume of worms you would need to keep up with the quail waste would exceed the space you will have available. The waste is also likely too hot for the worms. My guess is you have a lot of escapes, die off, or both. I wouldn't put fresh quail (or chicken) droppings in a worm system.

I keep mine separate. I compost in the chicken run occasionally. Mostly dried leaves, garden scraps, lawn clippings. Honestly - the chickens usually devour everything or scratch it into their run. I'm ok with that though. My main source of compost is from my worm systems.
 

Captain Quark

Songster
Apr 29, 2020
86
197
128
Ontario, Canada
I can't imagine this working indoors. I keep quail on deep litter outside in an 8' x 16' aviary. I also vermicompost indoors and outdoors. I think the volume of worms you would need to keep up with the quail waste would exceed the space you will have available. The waste is also likely too hot for the worms. My guess is you have a lot of escapes, die off, or both. I wouldn't put fresh quail (or chicken) droppings in a worm system.

I keep mine separate. I compost in the chicken run occasionally. Mostly dried leaves, garden scraps, lawn clippings. Honestly - the chickens usually devour everything or scratch it into their run. I'm ok with that though. My main source of compost is from my worm systems.
I've actually had good success so far with my system. I don't leave all the droppings to compost which is probably why. I do a daily scoop of whatever I can reach easily. It's not turned out how I thought (worms don't need any veg scraps, all the waste that naturally happens in the pen is enough), but the worms are thriving! I had so many that I just transferred a bunch into the small pen and got that set up for some new birds.

It's keeping the smell fresh, birds are happy, worms are happy. Only one that wants more out of this is me - I thought I could compost but really it's just a mini ecosystem that breaks down my paper waste. I'm going to set up another non-bird traditional vermicompost bin for all our veg scraps.
 

MDBird

Chirping
Jul 19, 2020
161
212
93
Glad to hear that is working for you. When I tried just a plain worm bin I had them constantly trying to crawl out. I felt like I only had two weeks were they were happy and pretty much staying in the bin.
 

0wen

Songster
Mar 25, 2016
715
180
151
Southwest Virginia
Removing waste likely helps. How many birds are you running in the 10' x 4' and how many worms? I'm running a composter close to the size of your pen, but it's all for worms and I probably have 30-35k red wigglers working in it.

Maybe not envisioning your system. My outdoor quail coop is 8x16 and we have a lot (relative) of birds on it at times, as different groups make their way to a freezer. We probably keep a few dozen steadily, as layers, but at times while we're waiting to process that number can double or better. During those few days, the coop can get messy - especially if we have a heavy rain or such (so we try to process as early as schedules allow).
 

Captain Quark

Songster
Apr 29, 2020
86
197
128
Ontario, Canada
Removing waste likely helps. How many birds are you running in the 10' x 4' and how many worms? I'm running a composter close to the size of your pen, but it's all for worms and I probably have 30-35k red wigglers working in it.

Maybe not envisioning your system. My outdoor quail coop is 8x16 and we have a lot (relative) of birds on it at times, as different groups make their way to a freezer. We probably keep a few dozen steadily, as layers, but at times while we're waiting to process that number can double or better. During those few days, the coop can get messy - especially if we have a heavy rain or such (so we try to process as early as schedules allow).
I've only got 12 birds in the large pen. Keeps it manageable. I'm providing meat birds here and there for others randomly so still learning how to rotate through the ones that will be processed. Right not I've got just three in the small brooder pen (4 x 3) with a small population of worms. The large pen houses the 12 but separated as I'm trying to avoid inbreeding. Four original parents on one side and eight offspring on the other. Worms I can't even estimate. There seems to be a good amount when I dig the soil up every couple weeks. I get big masses of them in spots, typically where there is a ball of paper, cardboard or eggshell. Last time I dug some out to put in the brooder pen it was the size of a hardball and that was a quarter of the first spot I put the spade in and found a giant mass.
 

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