View Full Version : chickens in my compost
30-09-2010, 01:33 PM
The chickens have discovered my compost heap. It means they push it all apart. Do you think i should make more effort to keep them out of compost heaps?
I can't decide what's more important at this point.
30-09-2010, 02:52 PM
Feed for the chooks, manure for the compost...
30-09-2010, 04:30 PM
Personally, I would keep them out. The ideal size for a compost to gain maximum heat and speed is 1m x 1m x 1m (not 1 cubic meter spread out everywhere). Plus I wouldn't want them eating all the worms which are doing their best to break down your material for you.
30-09-2010, 07:41 PM
Good point Paula, I was thinking from an already composted point of view.
01-10-2010, 09:48 AM
Yeah, i guess I will have to figure out a way to keep them out. I'd like to make one of those lovely boxes that purple uses. I think its the only way here.
I've also got the problem of not being able to collect the chicken poo easily from their pen. Its got a dirt floor and they dig and dig and so its not as if i can sweep it all out every day or two. It was much easier with the ducks. I will have to collect it by hand and dig about for it. All that precious poo is just enriching the chicken pen.
Meanwhile i can no longer collect the duck poo either as its scattered over a much larger area now. And its starting to smell a bit.
I will probably have to move the compost pile as the easiest solution. I wanted it here because there'd been a fire on the ground and I wanted to heal it a bit. I thought a compost heap would do that.
01-10-2010, 12:19 PM
Can you put down a thick layer of straw in the pen?
01-10-2010, 01:01 PM
if the sight and smell doesnt bother you - the chooks stirring up the compost will speed up decomposition and their poo will add greatly to the heap
might be a pain pushing it back into a heap every day or two - but I wouldnt really bother
I went through a stage where my compost was inside the chook run - let them pick through it, turn it over and hten I'd move the chook run and you have wonderful compost to spread everywhere
01-10-2010, 01:37 PM
Leave the chooks to it! (thought you may not end up with much compost!)
THe only compost we have these days, is what we can take from the material that accumulates at the bottom of the chooks pen (the pen is 9 x 12m though.. We bring in heaps of grass, pulled out tomato plants, prunings, scraps, whatever we can find. What they eat (including all of the insects!), saves us on chook feed and gives them nutrients, what they don't, is nicely scratched and turned untill it is a nice black compost / mulch. I do go around with a sharp spade and chop up some of the bigger stuff they struggle with, eventually it all disappears..
The work of turning, and breaking up compost, is done by the chooks who don't think it's a job at all!
01-10-2010, 09:30 PM
Chooks AND compost Dont go together,same as with veges...Once they know they love it,they spend rest of time trying to get back at it,including fence jumping up to the 1.5 mtrs high or higher if they good jumpers..
Try the deep litter stystem,I been doing this from day one allmost...Its far superiour way to do things...they continulinly breaking it down smaller ans smaller,pooing,raining etc,
Its self working after a while and,i can only need reg additions of straw,grass clipping,anything and all things organicly..
Having the chook run/area like this gives your chooks more room to run around and scratch and feed..Will also dramaticly cut your food for chooks funds...
Compost in my opinion is for small areas only,and dries out, if just on the ground in dry weather, becomming nothing more then compacted mulch... and no use untill it becomes wet again!!!
Compost can be great if u can make your own super brew for say potting mix or for fancy flowers, etc,
I live on 3 acre town size corner block...to compost my "permie area" approx 2.75 acres (still wanting more lol) It would take a lifetime and tonnes and tonnes of the stuff,front end loader and tip truck with chip mulcher, to cover my "ground" its too kind to call it soil :(..
My quick instant mulch/compost is the "fill it with woodchip tree prunings" method...
get as much as you can cover every bit of :GROUND: thats in your areas....pray for rain add chooks and leavem to it,just anything organic into/on the pile the chooks will scratch and break down,and the mulch will soak up most of the runny chook poos and dry out the rest,stopping the fly build up that occurs ...once you cover the whole area,its just a matter of topping up as required,using woodchips doest really help your garden grow just by itself,ithe results of its breaking down processes,using woody materials,some pieces may last 4 or 5 years,but STILL BE working..compost will be useless first few dry days....
Just 22 years of expierence..... not much really,but it works great,for me..
02-10-2010, 10:39 AM
Hi Sun Burn
Just on the 'collecting chicken poo front', I put straw down in their months ago and let them at it. With time, its become a fantastic compost which I went in and dug out for a new garden bed I was putting in. I've put down leave litter now after a big pruning I did and that seems to be working in a similar way. Don't know if that will work in your situation, but might be worth a try.:)
02-10-2010, 11:05 AM
The only thing i worry about putting straw down is that we get a lot of rain now and it will always be soggy and probably attract mosquitos. But its worth a try i guess. I have to wait until i can get at the car wiht the tow bar which is in pieces at the moment too - before I can get more straw. I could try the same with the leaf litter.
02-10-2010, 11:08 AM
They do kick it around a lot so I didn't find it created a bog.
02-10-2010, 11:17 AM
Yeah they are good at kicking. The food doesn't stay in the plate for long. I'll probalby have to get one of those food dispensers eventually.
07-10-2010, 11:07 AM
First post but thought I'd add my 2 cents worth :)
Generally in the chookhouse all the poo is around the roosting area so my chooks don't scratch in the poo, those little bugs always find it no matter how often I clean it up! I recycled a couple of bread crates that are seen hanging around most shopping centres and milk bars across the land and tip top etc don't seem to miss them! I place them under the roosts and clean them with a scrapper into a wheelbarrow along with all the old straw every so often. I find my chooks don't care about staying in the chookhouse anyways, harder to get any sleep with daylight savings just kicking in!
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