Want to know a secret? It will improve the quality of your compost, speed up composting time, and aerate your compost bin. Plus it will provide fresh supplements to your chickens diet without causing any additional work from you! Set up your compost bin in the chicken run
Absolutely put your compost bin in the chicken run!
My chickens LOVE to raid my compost. Before I put the bin into their run they would escape just to go look for snacks. Not only do they love eating kitchen scraps out of the compost, they love digging around for red wrigglers. First, this reduces the amount of “greens” and helps balance my pile. It also increases their protein and all the scratching helps the compost break down more.
There are a couple ways to do this. One way is to pile everything in a big heap in a corner of the run. This will probably break down the quickest. Unfortunately, it will mostly likely be the messiest as the chickens will spread everything around. If you don’t have a lot of space, or if you like things spic and span use an enclosed bin that the chickens can hop into. Dump all your scraps directly onto the top bin, or set them aside in a bowl or bucket to go out to the chickens. If you have problems with rodents opt for the bowl method. This way you can set it out for a short period of time, and then bury any remnants deep into the middle of the pile.
If you don’t have your compost bin in your chicken run you can still feed them kitchen scraps, but it’s extra work for you. I can just dump any leftovers from the bowl into the top of the compost. When they hear the metal clang, the chickens come running to re-investigate. Then all that enthusiasm turns the pile and aerates it for me.
You can also use your chickens to spread your compost.
Another work saving way is to put your compost bin over the area of your garden that you want to improve. Pull the bin away and let the chickens spread it out over the garden bed and do the work for you. Composting in place means you don’t have to haul it all over the place. Unless you like hauling, but I know I don’t.
You can feed your kitchen scraps to your goats too.
My goats and chickens share a run so any treats I give the chickens the goats come to investigate too. If there is something my goats can’t have that I want to feed the chickens [such as egg shells or cat food for extra protein] I put it separate in the chicken house. That doesn’t happen very often. Usually the goats are more than happy to leave meat scraps for the birds and just pick out things like banana peels and the occasional bread crust.
Fiasco Farms has a long list of plants that are toxic for goats. Both goats and chickens should not eat nightshades. This includes potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. Also avoid avocados, apple seeds, rhubarb, pits from fruits like peaches and nectarines, chocolate, onions, or any garden weeds sprayed in pesticides.
You really should separate these out, and bury them into the compost bin out of reach. I’ve noticed for MY birds (not that yours will be the same) they have enough variety in their diet that they will leave the stray onion skins and potato peels in the bottom of the bowl if I forget about those.
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