He dont like leaves, wood chips, sawdust for compost

ceresone(missouri ozarks)February 27, 2008

and He's not especially fond of animal manures.

To quote "We dont use them in our compost heaps" Leaves not used because they matt, make leaf mold instead. poultry manure causes more problems than it solves.

Page 23 of "Four SEason Harvest by Elliot Coleman.

Dont know as I'm a believer, I thought compost was to be made of all the good things otherwise wasted, to make good soil

Care to kick this around a bit--or perhaps you read the book different than I do??

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Coleman's compost piles consist of 10% animal manure. It's just poultry manure that he feels "cause more problems than they solve."
He doesn't put wood products in his compost piles. I don't either. Coleman says they take too long to decompose. I'm ready to use my compost before the wood has broken down, so then I've got to add nitrogen to offset the robbing.

I keep what I call wild piles. They consist of problem ingredients such as brambles, woody stuff and take longer to break down than my usual piles.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 12:19PM
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All I can say is the he is leaving out a lot of good material that will be of tremendous value in improving any soil.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 1:01PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

Why not poultry manure, does he say?
I don't normally add wood chips/shavings/sawdust either for the same reasons ann gives. Now that we have chickens, though, we've been using wood shavings for their bedding, and tossing the resulting high-N high-C mix on one compost pile (which is often; Kathleen, Cecilia, Gladys and Trex are amazing poop-machines). We'll see if the manure speeds the decomposition of the shavings but I'm prepared to wait a year or so before using that particular pile.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 1:17PM
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madmagic(dtown Toronto)

For several years now, I've been piling up twigs and sticks and other wood pieces which seem too thick to add to the compost or lasagna compost. Because eventually kind Annpat will bring me a truckload of fresh poultry manure, which will compost them all beautifully.

All the best,
one must have great faith to garden

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 1:59PM
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Compost it all and let the microbes sort it out! (That's what I think, do, say.) ialbtc

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 5:39PM
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Paul, I don't know what his objections to chicken manure are, although I'm guessing it's the same old bad press that chicken manure always gets. Weedy, hot, yada, yada.

I use poultry manure any time I can get my hands on it. When I was a newish gardener in the early 70s, I took an organic gardening class (along with the rest of my generation) and that teacher said that you could use fresh chicken manure in a garden if you applied it three weeks before planting. So I did. And I was thrilled with the results. The only time I ever had a problem was the year that my husband brought home dumptruckloads of the stuff and it took me weeks to spread it. We couldn't grow anything in the circle where he dumped the pile for at least a year, but the rest of that vegetable garden was the envy of our neighborhood. I don't remember ever having a garden with excess leafy growth due to too much nitrogen. Of course, it was chancy. If you have too much nitrogen in your soil, you have too much nitrogen.

I had six chickens in an 8x8 building last year and used the deep litter method of house management. My litter consisted of straw, pine shavings, fall leaves, and the manure, of course. The house got cleaned once of its 15 inch deep litter---in April---and I spread the manure straight onto my vegetable garden last spring---probably three inches deep. Baby. Baby.

I had peas the third week of June. My spinach and chard were the largest plants I've ever had. My beets were beautiful.

I've got sixteen chickens now, and I'm pretty darned excited about cleaning out the coop a month or two from now. I'll spread it on the same bed. Because of biohazards, I won't dare bring in foreign chicken manure now, unfortunately.

(I'm excited that you have chickens! I don't think I knew that. I love mine: Colleen, Katia, Carrieb, Alfie, Star (the former Mayapple), Patrick (named after you know who), Minet, Jetski, Espresso, Dr. Black, Elaine, and Joan. I'm forgetting some.) (Paul, 22 of us got together in a state park in Maryland last Oct. for three or four days. Madmagic and Hay were outnumbered: 20 to 2.)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 9:05AM
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madmagic(dtown Toronto)

Madmagic and Hay were outnumbered: 20 to 2.

Think Hay and I were smiling in every photo taken of us that weekend. :) It was a wonderful gathering.

All the best,
(who is still waiting patiently for Annpat to deliver the truckload of chicken poop)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 12:34PM
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Oh, yes, Patrick, that precious chicken manure I was just talking about---I am just dying to split it with you. (The nice thing about Patrick is that he doesn't know chicken manure from horse manure, so I figure I can pick something up just south of Toronto and he'll never know the difference.)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 6:59PM
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mxbarbie(pnw BC 5)

I think the nicest soil I have ever seen resulted from the local pulp mill on strike and the local egg farm moving to a bigger property (100 tractor trailer loads of woodchips + 80 dump truck loads of chicken manure)... mixed with very large machine (d8 cat)... presto. we like to compost on a grand scale!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 2:08AM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

And you have that long mild season for composting too, mxbarbie.

Our chicken coop is an improvised thing - a doghouse attached to and connecting to a shed, with a long built-on run. I like to think this set-up is as interesting to the chickens as the mansion in a game of Clue. The nesting boxes lined with wood shavings are what they like to poop in the most, unfortunately. The shed floor, which is wood covered with a tarp, gets a thick layer of straw and/or hay, and needs to be refreshed every month or so, because of the tarp. We can't do the deep litter thing in winter, but do, in the summer, in the run. Which is all to say that from now on I'll dump the straw business on a separate compost pile, put it on the garden as soon as the snow is gone and hope for annp-size plants. With our very sandy soil nitrogen is our limiting factor, nutrient-wise, so we have high hopes for the chicken manure.

16 chickens! Some are broilers, I take it, or what do you do with all those eggs?

It's hard to express the depth of my jealousy, Patrick - that ann named one of her chickens after you. Ann, try saying aloud 'And this chicken is Paul' and see what a resonant sound it makes. (As for the trip to Maryland I don't believe it. ann and all those other women, some of whom have had chickens named after them, are legends, constellations, phantasms, myths...)

You've probably been waiting impatiently to hear how our chickens got their names.

Kathleen and Cecelia were two memorable sisters my wife babysat years ago.

Trex is so called because of the beady tyrannosaurical eye she liked to cock at us when she was a mere chick in a cardboard box.

Gladys is named after a caller on a talk show out of Moncton, which I heard through headphones as our Via Rail train passed through New Brunswick last year. The featured guest was the director of a funny documentary on why Canadians love to hate Toronto. First caller was Gladys. "What I'd like to know," Gladys piped in a frail, trembly voice, "is what the police were doing hiding behind trees-" "GLADYS," barked the show's host. "You're talking about the Virginia shootings. We're talking about Toronto.." I wanted to honour that Gladys somehow. Our Gladys lays the most beautiful hardshelled brown eggs.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 12:19PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

And Patrick, keep an eye out for a truckload of horse apples (you can probably tell the difference). (annp I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to part with the chicken manure).

Could you keep your own chickens in Toronto? The subject is in the news in Halifax because of a woman who's been keeping 3 in a backyard coop downtown.

Not only did our 4 Girls make it through last night's -21C but each laid an egg as usual. Valiant birds - Golden Comets.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 4:55PM
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OH! Gladys sounds wonderful! What a gal! (Paul, I've taken up exclamation points since I last saw you!)
Golden Comets. Good for you. Endangered, aren't they?
I'll bring this back on topic in a minute by talking chicken manure...
I'm only getting 12 eggs most days. I've got five 2 year-olds and I suspect that they, former laying machines, have quit laying daily, and instead have moved into the far more valuable business of making manure.

Are Kathleen and Cecelia well behaved or bi-polar?

Paul? I like it! I may have to rename Patrick Jr.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 9:10PM
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mxbarbie(pnw BC 5)

oh no paul I'm not far enough south to have a mild anything! I'm only 2 hours drive south of alaska!
We have 9 chickens in our backyard, they are sketchy things!(brown leghorns) the last batch were much nicer. (RIReds)
We were down to -20 (windchill -32) for much of January but the girls just kept laying everyday... I have a heat lamp in the well insulated coop, and I serve them warm mash (cooked hen scratch) drizzled with molasses on really cold days. I'm such a sucker.
Now back to the compost questions, is it really ok to put the manure straight onto the garden a few weeks before planting? I have a garden that nothing will grow in (not even weeds!) I'm on the fence about should I try to build the soil or just dig it out with the bob cat and truck in above mentioned soil from the in-laws.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 11:26PM
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madmagic(dtown Toronto)

Paul, unfortunately this city has laws against raising chickens, indoors or out. Otherwise I'd be seriously looking into getting a few here.

As you can see, Annpat is remarkably fickle about the names of her chickens. Despite many long weary court battles over the custody of Patrick Jr., she has repeatedly refused to send the young Patrick north for summer vacations & holidays.

All the best,
(trying not to be bitter, despite)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:27AM
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There I was, half awake, sipping a hot cup of coffee, reading the news online, flipping through GW, reading the latest on chickens and then BAM, the adrenaline courses through my body....mxbarbie has a BOBCAT!

I am green with envy! Oooohhhh, I so want one too!

Lloyd (HRC)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:40AM
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mxbarbie(pnw BC 5)

Oh yes DH does love his toys!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:43AM
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Excuse me? Toys? I think fair maiden doth attempt to mock us men for clearly these are TOOLS!



    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:54AM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

mxbarbie, if you have three weeks of spring weather before planting, that should be long enough for the soil organisms to incorporate the chicken manure, I would think. But maybe you don't, in PNW BC? Here it sometimes goes from winter straight into summer; planting early greens like spinach into chicken-manured soil might not be a good thing then, we'll see...

It's nice to see somebody else admit to spoiling their hens. Every week or so when it's been very cold I've put a pot of quick oats on the wood stove, added a handful of flax seed (=> omega 3 eggs!) and a bit of bacon fat maybe, and given them that. It is amusing to see them wipe their beaks afterwards. I attribute the hens' productivity through darkest winter to this diet, but their age and the amount of light in the coop are other factors.

(Look at the rash of question marks and exclamation points on this forum lately! Punctuation: use it or lose it, I always say.)

Patrick, about the lady in Halifax, she just went ahead and kept chickens. The controversy flared up when a neighbour found out and complained to the authorities - he was afraid the chicken feed would attract rats. That lady effectively started a very necessary public debate about urban gardening, food security, etc. Smart chick! The city stuck to its guns re: livestock, ordering her to get rid of them - they've gone to an urban farm/museum - but delayed the actual date by two months to allow for debate. Research is being carried out, a decision will be made next summer.

Are Kathleen and Cecelia bi-polar is a very interesting question ann, or annp or annpat (not sure what to call you any more). I don't think so. They're a year older than Gladys and Trex. Kathleen was mean and dominant toward them until Cecelia put her in her place. Typical behaviour. When we go into the coop, though, something inside Gladys winds up - she struggles to resist it - then gives in, comes flying at us and gives us a sharp peck on the sleeve, hard enough to pull a thread from a wool winter jacket. Maybe she thinks we're food? Maybe we are? But we can also pick her up and hold her for minutes on end. Does this sound bi-polar? And is grabbing somebody by the feet and carrying them around upside down a recommended treatment for bi-polarism, as I've seen suggested for chickens who behave like Gladys? I don't expect answers to all these questions.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 1:30PM
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madmagic(dtown Toronto)

Paul, that's amazing. Will have to do some careful thinking about whether I should try the same kind of test case. In a few ways, I'm in a very good position to do so. Hmmmm...

Will keep an eye to the news and Google for 'Halifax chickens law' occasionally. Thank you!

All the best,

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 2:07PM
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I just wondered about your wife naming them after (clearly memorable) children she babysat for. Oh? Am I the only person who only got asked to babysat for behaviorally-challenged children? (Eric---if you're out there?)

I was told to dip my bossy rooster upside down in a bucket of icewater---water boarding for chickens---but I'm not a creepy sadist, so I didn't.

Paul, I spent $200 last spring in vet bills and medicine for a degloved 5 week old chick. An older hen removed her entire cape. (She holds her own now, but she's permanently bald-necked.)

And listen to Patrick Sr. now. He has repeatedly refused any responsibility.

And to get back on topic---I hate to brag (you may remember), but my chickens sure can poop!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 2:14PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

Ann, you ought to have said something like, "And speaking of chicken manure, has your wife ever babysat bi-polar children?" I don't want you getting in trouble like you do, getting off topic and all.

My wife is fearless with the chickens so will see about talking her into carrying Gladys upside down for a while - that doesn't seem cruel.

Introducing younger chickens to older ones can make one hate a chicken one was fond of.

You're brave, Patrick, I can see you testing the system with three or so hens. Well-fed chickens kept in a clean, secure coop are quiet, don't smell,and ought not to create a rodent problem.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 3:29PM
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