Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Easier chicken poo cleanup

I'm hoping to get my compost pile bigger. I am using my new leaf blower to gather leaves but need more "green material" to get my pile hotter and bigger.

Which is a big part of the reason I keep so many chickens. But I tell ya, shoveling chicken poo is a drag. Not to mention that wood shavings take forever to break down in the compost pile. 

One idea I had was to put a grate over a frame with newspaper underneath. Every few days, lift the frame, wad up the paper, put it in a bucket and dump it into the compost pile. If the frame gets dirty, hose it off.

I also have placed sheets of cardboard underneath their roost and just carried the sheets of cardboard out to the compost pile. But newspaper without the protective frame doesn't work as well because the chickens like to scratch it up.

Anybody out there have any more clever ideas?


Deborah Niemann said...

I'm not sure what to do with the system you have, but you don't really need to worry that much about the ratio of brown to green in your compost pile. The key to getting it hot is just to have it big enough. As long as it's at least three feet high, wide, and long, it should heat up fine. I went to a full-day composting seminar to learn this. :) But my engineer husband just had to actually use a thermometer to be sure it was true -- and it is. The only thing we put in our pile is muckings from the barn, which is straw and goat poop. Makes the MOST amazing compost, and it's the only fertilizer we use in our garden, except chicken blood (from butchering) for the corn. I use vermicompost for starting seedlings.

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

That's great info Deborah! How exactly do you use the blood and what do you do with the bones? Do you compost those as well?

By the way your blogs is one of my favorites. :)

Deborah Niemann said...

When my husband chops off the chicken's head, he puts the chicken's body (neck down) into a 5-gallon bucket to catch the blood. We fill up the bucket with water, then put about half of that water into another bucket, and fill up both of them with water. So, basically the blood from one chicken gets diluted with 10 gallons of water. We use that to water the corn when we plant it. That amount will water about 40 feet (four, 10-foot rows). We don't use the cooked bones for anything. I don't put them into the compost, because I'm afraid that my dogs would dig them out and eat them. Cooked chicken bones can splinter and cause problems. We do give the dogs the raw necks. It's great for their teeth.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy, I used to raise chickens and I would recommend putting straw under their perches. It helps catch the droppings and is easier to remove, using a pitchfork and a wheelbarrow or bucket, depending on how much you have. It all breaks down in the compost pile, and makes great compost.