Is there anything I need to know about composting chicken poop? Is the poop mixed in with the pine shavings or sawdust pellets enough nitrogen or do I need to add some green? How long do I have to wait to use composted chicken poo?
Lots of links found in a Google search on key words "composting chicken manure".
Here is a link that might be useful: Composting chicken manure
Poultry manure, chicken poop, is quite a good source of Nitrogen and it does need a fair amount of Carbon to offset that. Pine shavings and sawdust pellets could be a good Carbon source as long as the ratio, very close to 30:1, of Carbon to Nitrogen is maintained. Of greater diffculty is the amount of moisture since neither of those absorb water very well and you could just as easily put in too much water as too little.
Annpat is a chicken poo composter... she keeps pet chickens just for the poo.
I clean the houses out just once a year*, so it is well on its way to compost when I use it. This year, with more birds, I had to clean it out twice. I will pile that stuff for six months because the wood shavings are no where near broken down.
When I was a kid, I used very fresh chicken manure which I tilled into my gardens in the spring, because I didn't know any better. It contained far more manure (and dead chickens yuk) than shavings. I got it from a friend's father whom I now realize must have been running a horrible chicken mill.
I never like to discuss chicken manure, because my results using fresh manure run counter to conventional wisdom. I had fabulous gardens. I never saw plants burnt except one time and I never sacrificed flowering for lush growth. I took an organic gardening class in 1973 and that instructor told us that we could use fresh manure without fear of "burn" if we waited three weeks before planting. So I did that and it always worked swell for me. Of course I was hauling the manure in a Volkswagon so it wasn't as much as ten years later when I married a man with a dump truck, a man who never did anything, as a neighbor once said, in half-measures. That first year of our marriage, our 50x100' garden got about four or five one-ton dumptruck loads of relatively fresh chicken manure. My new husband knew I liked chicken manure and he aimed to please. It took me forever to spread that manure around and one pile in my husband's half of the garden sat there until June before I got it dispersed. He planted his tomatoes. Within a week, they keeled over. He bought and planted more. Four days later, dead. He planted peppers. Two weeks later they were frazzled little plants and had to be pulled. Everything he planted in that circle died. My half was fine, my half was gorgeous, the neighbors praised mine and looked askance at Francis's, my half being where the manure got barrowed to, instead of dumped on.
That was the last year my ex-husband allowed chicken manure on our property. We used cow from that year on. I think chicken manure is the cat's meow, and every time I find myself sitting in the vet's office, red-faced, with a chicken on my lap, I think how much I'd have to pay for manure if I had to buy it. What I do not think about---ever---is the $56 dollars a dozen our eggs average us now that I own chickens.
* the deep litter method
I only have 4 chickens so they don't produce a lot of poop. Sounds like I just throw it in my compost pile with everything else. It looks like things are breaking down ok so I'm guessing my C/N ratio is ok.
I am a high school agriculture teacher. One of my students has 95 laying hens for his Supervised Agricultural Experience program. They generate quite a bit of manure in a short amount of time - free range, but they lived in the chicken house most of the winter. He needed a place to dispose of his manure. I had set up a pallet 2 bin system outside of my school shop and another by my garage - one for school use, one for personal composting. I told him to clean his chicken house and bring it on to the school and my bins.
He dumped about 200 pounds into my school bin of fall leaves. I was right there, so we were able to layer the leaves and the manure and 6 weeks later we have finished compost! However, at my house, he dumped about 600 pounds of wet, caked, chicken manure mixed with spilt grain right on top of my little pile of leaves. It was ripe.
I fought the pile for about a week trying to calm it down and searched out sources of brown to cool it off and dampen the smell. I finally found two small straw bales and was able to layer it out and get the manure cooled off. I lost a lot of nitrogen via ammonia in the first two weeks, but now, I am nearing almost finished compost.
It did get hot enough to turn orange peels into what looked like ash in less than 5 days!
So, mix in the browns and enjoy!
Oh, wow, countrydirt! That was some hot stuff! ;)