Will Compost Bins Near Coop Attract Predators?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by GuppyTJ, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Songster

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    Mar 13, 2013
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    My Coop
    All,

    I am starting to build a compost pile and was going to locate it near my chicken coop. This is the best place for it, for several reasons. The bins I'm building will be made of wood but will probably not keep out smaller predators like racoons and opossums.

    However... I was going to throw kitchen scraps that the chickens won't eat/can't eat or are done with in one of the bins. Things like left over corn cobs the chickens have pecked clean, mango skins, coffee grounds, banana peals, orange peals, potato skins, stuff that is compostable but chickens don't eat. I'll keep giving chickens the edible things like strawberry ends, older (but not rotten) lettuce, potatoes (but not the skins) stuff like that.

    My question is, will this type of compost attract predators? I live on the edge of 3,000 acres of forest in Kentucky and so far for the past 3 months, knock on wood (rapping my own fist against my own head!), me, my husband and my 2 dogs have held the predators at bay. I don't want to create a problem by putting my compost pile near my coop. Or maybe I can have a compost pile for poo and other things but not household scraps like I described? This would probably be the way I'd have to do it as moving the compost pile down closer to the house is not very viable and it would still be within about a 1/4 mile of the coop. Close enough that it's still plenty close to the coop that predators would easily walk up tot he coop from the house/compost pile.

    What are your thoughts and experiences? I did a search on this in BYC but didn't find a lot of direct information or experiences on this topic.

    Thanks as always,
    Guppy
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  2. Yes a compost pile/bin will attract other critters. Skunks, Opossums, Raccoons and other critters love compost piles.

    I would put it away from your coop so as to solve several issues. Temptations for predators, sometimes smell, possibly flies if your putting in the chicken poo and various other reasons.

    Wish ya the best.
     
  3. Mark1

    Mark1 In the Brooder

    Guppy, I have a compost pile near the coop also, I only dump the chicken waste and pine shavings in it. I haven't seen anything near it, although I have noticed the pile "rearranged" from time to time. All the table scraps that I don't want to feed to the chickens go into a worm bin in a storage shed.
    I'm pretty certain table scraps in your compost pile will attract a lot of interest from your predator population.

    One thing a compost pile near the coop does attract----CHICKENS! Our Leghorns have been flying over our 5' fence to scratch in the pile. I clipped their wings 2 days ago and it seems to have solved the issue for now. They still try to fly up to the top rail to get out but don't have quite enough lift, pretty comical to watch..
     
  4. shmccarthy

    shmccarthy Songster

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    I started a compost pile and buried most of it, on the other side of our property and found evidence of a fox visiting it (dug holes and prints). Probably the same fox that killed 7 pullets a couple months ago.. I think the smell could attract predators.
     
  5. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Songster

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    Mar 13, 2013
    Kentucky
    My Coop
    Oh, yikes, I'm sorry to hear this and this worries me. Just a few questions to make sure I have clarity on your situation, if you don't mind.

    1. How far away from your coop was your compost pile? (Asking so I can find out if distance even matters. I suspect it doesn't.)
    2. What did you throw in the compost pile? Was it chicken poo only? Chicken poo and table scraps or some combo of both or something else? (Asking this so I know what was attracting your fox. If it was just chicken poo, I've got problems!)

    Thanks again,
    Guppy
     
  6. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Songster

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    Mar 13, 2013
    Kentucky
    My Coop
    Thanks, very helpful. I'm curious now, about your "worm bin." Can you describe this and what do you do with the worms? Are they earth worms or meal worms?

    Thanks for the help,
    Guppy
     
  7. shmccarthy

    shmccarthy Songster

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    Mar 27, 2013
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    The compost pile is about 400 feet from the coop, on the other side of our acre of black berry bushes. Our property is covered in mostly very heavy brush, trees and vines so you can't see the pile from the coop and vice versa. I haven't seen any evidence of the fox visiting the coop but I'm definitely not ruling out the possibility.

    It was all chicken poo, most of it from my brooder actually. There was a small amount from the coop but I don't know if burying it again will work. The fox has a very good sense of smell so he probably sniffed it out easily even under the dirt. I just found the digging in the compost pile two days ago so I'm still trying to figure out what to do as well.
     
  8. Compost piles by nature have GRUBS that skunks and Opossums like. The grubs are great for breaking down organic material and the chickens love them if they can find them. If you add food scraps you will attract even more critters than usual. Food scraps make great compost when thrown in with brown carbon matter.

    Red Wrigglers are also the best worms a worm bin and also you will find these in your compost pile. Leaves, wood chips mixed with grass/green clippings will make the best compost soil. Composts are a natural attractant to all kinds of insects and critters. I turn mine about every 3 months and will always have one. My compost pile is about 100' from my coops. I find raccoon tracks, and even hog tracks near my property.

    Wish ya the best.
     
  9. Mark1

    Mark1 In the Brooder

    Guppy, I started a worm bin so I would have castings and worm tea to use as a fertilizer in my vegetable garden. It works great! I have had to expand to a couple of 15 gallon tupperware containers as the worms multiply pretty fast. I have mainly red wigglers with a few European nightcrawlers. We like to fish so we never have to buy worms.
     

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