29 January 2008

Chicken Composter Update


The leaves in our chicken powered composter are beyond ready to go into a more traditional compost bin. Using the chickens to compost our leaves has been a huge success. I suspect that as soon as the temperatures rises above 60° Fahrenheit , the final break down will be quick. The only snag to the experiment has been that the ground, and the leaves along with it, have kept us from being able to gather them up with any hopes of reasonable success. As I may have said in a previous post, at least one more round of leaves will go into rotation before spring. Afterwards we're thinking of planting rye in the pen. While the rye sets, the chickens will earn their keep in the garden scratching through the beds before we start planting.

10 comments:

kate said...

The chickens are good workers, aren't they? I will have to come back and read through older posts to find out more about this. It sounds as if your chicken-powered composter works efficiently.

Becca said...

We hope to have a chicken composter one day. Have you seen Mother Earth's plans for the three section chicken composter? So efficient...

Ali said...

Letting the chickens have at the garden prior to planting has worked great for us -- we notice a great reduction in overwintering bugs like the evil Japanese beetle, and the chooks love it.

Chicken-powered gardening rocks!

steven said...

Once it warms up and you get some green stuff mixed in with the leaves it's going to take off like a rocket.

My compost piles usually don't heat up in the Spring until I add the first clipping from the mower, but after that the temperature shoots up overnight.

onestraw said...

Fantastic guys! Once that high nitrogen chicken manure on those leaves gets above 50 degrees LOOK OUT! Very exciting!

Kelly said...

Hey Kate, I realized after I posted that I should have left some links to the prior stages of our experiment.

Chickens are remarkably handy animals to have around. I used to laugh at how incredibly simple minded they are and wondered how they ever survived in the wild. But after reading Pollan's The Botany of Desire, I realized the have been quite effective in propagating by tuning in to our desires for compost and omelets.


Hello Becca, Chicken Composters are easy to make, just throw a bunch of stuff into their pen and see what happens.

I have not read this article you mentioned. Do you have a link?


Hey there Ali, Yeah, we can't wait to get those girls to work. We're going to build a mobile pen sometime soon so they actually stay in the garden instead of tearing up the neighbor's yard.


Hey Steven, Hmm, I'm beginning to wonder if we should have saved some clippings from last year. Whatever we had left over went on the garlic beds. Hell I think we even got that idea from posts you and Mike(tfb) put up last year. Wait, did you? Shit, I'll look it up.


Hey Rob, We're hoping that it will be nothing short of explosive.

Katie said...

The cover crop is a great idea, and should grow like mad given the chicken poo compost conditions.

Kelly said...

Hey Katie, How's the school work coming along?

We agree with your "poo" theory. If we let the rye go long enough, perhaps the ladies will turn their coop into a Jewish deli.

Matt said...

What a great idea! I've been using a compost tumbler for a while and I think this way is more efficient.

Meg said...

Matt, those compost tumblers are pretty cool. They'd probably be a good idea for a city garden with limited space--plus they keep all the decomposing junk hidden.