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Composting fresh chicken manure

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Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  dixie on 10/6/2011, 10:10 am

I don't make it to the forum very often, but when I do, I make good use of it. I've spent a lot of time this morning catching up!

Any ideas on composting fresh chicken manure, especially controlling the odor? I still didn't get around to starting a real compost bin because I put all my scraps in the worm box. I have a good bit of tomato, bean and other coarse material to use and a LOT of chicken poo.

Is chicken poop too "hot" for worms? If I cover the pile with black plastic will there be enough oxygen?

When I made manure tea out of it I used a Kay Scarpetta (the forensic pathologist in the Patricia Cornwell novel series) trick. I put Vick's VapoRub in my nose to mask the odor. It helped a lot, but believe me, I worked fast & watered it in really good.

I hope everyone had a grand and glorious garden this year.

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  Roseinarosecity on 10/6/2011, 3:24 pm

Dear Dixie,
I did a little research last year when we adopted 5 chickens because of Salmonella and E. coli bacteria. All chicken manure and their bedding, when it gets changed, gets placed in the compost pile, but I make sure it has at least 60 days set aside after composting is over AND it gets applied to a vegetable crop that doesn't get harvested for another 60 days. Last year I applied it to my corn so it was more than sixty days and the corn never touches the ground. Better safe than sorry, especially since I am new to using chicken manure.

There is never an odor in my bedding because I use food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) powdered into the pine shaving bedding. The DE dries the poo. I later add the bedding to my compost pile with an equal amount of dry leaves. I make sure I turn it over 2 - 3 times a week. It gets hot! I can see steam! The chicken manure really speeds up the compost pile. I had a pile before the chickens and it was so slow to compost. I am grateful I have the chickens to speed up the compost.

I don’t know anything about worm composting. I wish I had room to keep one.

Are you using fresh chicken manure for your manure tea?

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  boffer on 10/6/2011, 4:06 pm

Hi Dixie, you better retire again so you can spend more time hanging around the forum!

My chicken compost story is a little different. I don't have the volume yet to add to my big compost pile, so I'm composting the chicken manure/bedding separately. My pile is about 4x4, and a 'mountain' about 2 feet high in the middle; it lays on the ground. The worms like it; if the pile were to get too hot they would just go back into the ground. I haven't been able to get it steaming hot. I've added some veggie matter, some cut grass, and some blood meal at different times to try to heat it up, but it's not happening much. The veggies and poo are breaking down OK, but the wood chips are really, really slow.

I don't have an odor problem unless the weather is hot and humid, which isn't too often around here, but is probably normal for you?! The DE might help by desiccating the poo. Usually, bad smells like you're describing come from a too wet/poorly aerated pile, where the decomposition has gone from aerobic to anaerobic. The inside of the pile gets slimy and stinky. If that's the case, you can use dry leaves and grass to help absorb excess moisture, or spread the pile out to let excess moisture evaporate.

I keep a jar of Vicks in my glove box. When I buy a yard of mushroom compost on a hot day...whooooo wheeeee!!

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  Glendale-gardener on 10/7/2011, 12:45 am

I am cracking up at the image of you guys vicksing your noses for compost! My husband and I just tried that trick last month to try and get some sleep after we were awakened at 3 am by the stench of a skunk sprayed dog that just came back in the house via the doggy door and went back to bed! It didn't work so I thought I had busted a myth- I guess our stench was just too much for the power of vicks!

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  NorthWoodsFever on 1/7/2012, 11:05 pm

Another revival of an older post What a Face I have a small compost pile made from 3 old wood pallets that I got from work for FREE, otherwise they were just going to get burned. My son and I lashed them together with bailing twine - also FREE from work - I work on a horse farm, so I also get unlimited manure when I want it. Anyway, our compost is roughly 3'x3' and can go roughly 3' tall or so. When our small hen house gets cleaned out every week, a wheelborrow full of the straw/poo goes straight to the compost pile.

I've not done much turning of the compost, I'm bad about that, probably since I clean about 20 horse stalls a day. lol. But even without my help the pile has NEVER gone above the pallets. We toss in leaves now and than, and any of the veggie plants that are left over after harvest get tossed in there, our Guinea Pig bedding also gets added to the pile. We are also big into fishing, so any of our bait fish that die end up in the compost pile as well. We don't get any smells from it that I'm aware of, and the soil that I have dug out from there...WOW...it's nice.

Below is a photo of the compost pile in the back corner ... along with the hens when they busted into the "forbidden" land. LOL



Last edited by NorthWoodsFever on 1/7/2012, 11:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  camprn on 1/8/2012, 6:33 am

@NorthWoodsFever wrote:- I work on a horse farm, so I also get unlimited manure when I want it.
I am so JEALOUS! Very Happy

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  dixie on 1/8/2012, 1:17 pm

What kind of chickens, Delaware?

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  CarolynPhillips on 1/8/2012, 1:41 pm

I like the simple trash can method of composting small amounts of manure.
Two trash cans with lids. One empty......one with your chicken manure, other manures all ground up fine....mixed with lawn mower chopped leaves...etc.... Every two weeks you pour your compost out of one trash can into another. Two weeks later do it again. Back and forth. Chicken manure and rabbit manure mixed with chopped leaves and slightly moistened is not extremely heavy and can be dumped by one person but two people makes it a quick easy chore. When dumping into the other trash can, check the moisture and make sure there is enough. wala

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  miinva on 1/8/2012, 2:05 pm

That's a great idea! Smile

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  CarolynPhillips on 1/8/2012, 2:21 pm

roops===an important factor====dont forget to punch little nail size holes all around the trash can==up and down and cross ways.

some folks roll their trash cans a couple times a week to speed up the composting===winter months take longer. but during the summer it should be ready in a month.

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  miinva on 1/8/2012, 2:46 pm

When I was researching composting I saw a plan for garbage can composters that included leaving bolts protruding into the trash can so that when you roll it they breaks things up. Supposedly it sped up the process. They used washers on both sides of the trash can to reduce leakage (which, as I recall, they learned the hard way). I wish I had the link but I can't dig it up. It's very similar to this compost bin made from a trash can, but it had bolts with washers in place of half of the holes. Lots of people recommend using trash cans on wheels.

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  NorthWoodsFever on 1/8/2012, 5:08 pm

Yep, 3 of them are Delaware's and the other is a Buff Chantecler...I just love em!

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  dixie on 1/8/2012, 8:57 pm

@NorthWoodsFever wrote:Yep, 3 of them are Delaware's and the other is a Buff Chantecler...I just love em!

I will be getting more chicks this Spring & had been on The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy site & checking some of the endangered breeds & had decided on either the true Dominique or the Delaware. The Delaware is listed as laying "large to Jumbo" size eggs, do you find this to be true?

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  NorthWoodsFever on 1/8/2012, 9:17 pm

@dixie wrote:I will be getting more chicks this Spring & had been on The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy site & checking some of the endangered breeds & had decided on either the true Dominique or the Delaware. The Delaware is listed as laying "large to Jumbo" size eggs, do you find this to be true?

Our Delawares lay large scale, once in awhile there will be a jumbo scale one. The Girls are all about a yearr and a half old now, we had gotten them when they were 16 weeks old and just starting to lay eggs. It was fun to watch the eggs transform from small and funny shaped (on occasion) to what they are now. I love Delawares. These are the first chickens we've ever had and I'm very happy with the choices we made. They are friendly, they come running when you call them - no matter where they are - and they are a heavier bird so they can't get a lot of height in any flight they may try. lol. Now the Buff Chantecler...she scaled their 5ft fence, hasn't gotten over the 6ft section though, thank goodness. Smile

I wish we could have a rooster, as I really hate to see their genetics end with them...though I've often toyed with the idea of finding someone who has a Delaware rooster and taking at least one of the girls there to visit. Wink

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  dixie on 1/8/2012, 9:41 pm

Great info, thanks. I'll be ordering 10-15 hens & 1 rooster of whichever I choose. DH is leaning toward Dominique because they are a lighter breed & supposedly better feed to egg cost, but the Dominique is just on the Watch list & Delaware is on the Threatened list. Not that I would be making any great contribution to promoting the breed with just a small flock, but that's what I've got in my head.

I have New Hampshire Reds & black sex link now, but need (aka want) more.

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Re: Composting fresh chicken manure

Post  NorthWoodsFever on 1/8/2012, 9:59 pm

It's the small homestead flocks that keep these threatened and endangered breeds (of any species) going. Make sure you post photos! Very Happy

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