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Discussion Starter #1
I have to admit I was skeptical of this method. Not cleaning out the coop regularly and replacing the bedding went against my inner clean freak.
However, after 7 months of just stirring and topping off the bedding , here is the results. I'm very pleased. With only my 6 hens I could of probably went a whole year. But I wanted this to kickstart my compost for spring.

You can actually see where it looks like there is dirt mixed in the bedding but Ive only been using pine shavings.
IMG_20180917_171433.jpg
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IMG_20180917_171842.jpg


I'm replacing about 1/2 the bedding, leaving some of the old that has the good bacteria as farmer Google suggests.

Also there is zero smell. It just smells like sawdust.
 

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Nice.... do you think it saved any on the overall work ?
 

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Chicken manure has lots of nitrogen. Wood chips consumes lots of nitrogen. I would be sure to fully compost wood chips, so they wouldn't continue to pull nitrogen from the garden.
Be sure there is ventilation and wear a face mask, especially if the manure is greater than the litter. It can cake up and shoveling it out releases the trapped ammonia. The dust is e coli and you can get a nasty lung infection from breathing the dust.
 

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That 'dirt' is mostly pulverized poops and maybe spilled feed.
Did you add any 'composting' organisms to the litter to get things started?
Ditto the nitrogen/wood aspect that haypoint stated.
You'll have to add a lot of water and probably more 'greens', keep it turned and 'hot', to get that wood to break down in a reasonable amount of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I've never tried that. I usually shovel it out before it's too heavy for me to lift.

Looks good. How deep do you think it is in your pic @dmm1976 ?
It was probably 8 inches. It compacted down pretty good. Fluffed up it was much more. I think I used a bail of pine straw once a month?


Eta: pine shavings not straw.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That 'dirt' is mostly pulverized poops and maybe spilled feed.
Did you add any 'composting' organisms to the litter to get things started?
Ditto the nitrogen/wood aspect that haypoint stated.
You'll have to add a lot of water and probably more 'greens', keep it turned and 'hot', to get that wood to break down in a reasonable amount of time.
Yes we have a pile already started that is mostly green grass clippings and food waste. which is why I wanted this to out in there. I moved the pile then layered the existing pile with the coop bedding. I watered it down and put a tarp over it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Chicken manure has lots of nitrogen. Wood chips consumes lots of nitrogen. I would be sure to fully compost wood chips, so they wouldn't continue to pull nitrogen from the garden.
Be sure there is ventilation and wear a face mask, especially if the manure is greater than the litter. It can cake up and shoveling it out releases the trapped ammonia. The dust is e coli and you can get a nasty lung infection from breathing the dust.
Goo call about the mask. I ntice that when im laying new bedding alot of pine dust. There wasn't more poop then bedding. Which is why I feel like I could have left it longer. Once it gets stirred up there is basically no poop. Just under the roosts.
 

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I normally use sawdust for my bedding, but I recently started using straw.

When I used sawdust I would add on layers and clean it out once every 4 months. When I went to clean it out it would be extremely dusty and unhealthy so I would soak it with a hose and scoop all the wet sawdust out so there would be no dust.

I like to deep clean my coop just to be safe and keep it looking pristine. I would take all of the feeders and waters out along with the chickens then use a hose with a screw on nozzle and clean all of the walls and concrete good.

Before



After

 

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Discussion Starter #12
The feeders and watered are put outside during the day and put back in when I lock up the coop at night ( my locks are more to keep 2 legged predators out since I had some chickens stolen a few years ago)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My chickens spend all their time outside except when laying or roosting. I suspect that's the same for most I just wanted to clarify. I let them out around 6-7 am and lock them up after they all go in at night.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh and the coop is 6x12 ppen air design, loosely based on prince woods. ( I say loosely because we ain't no Carpenters lol) The ventilation is amazing. I suspect that's why I don't get an ammonia smell.
 

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I normally use sawdust for my bedding, but I recently started using straw.

When I used sawdust I would add on layers and clean it out once every 4 months. When I went to clean it out it would be extremely dusty and unhealthy so I would soak it with a hose and scoop all the wet sawdust out so there would be no dust.

I like to deep clean my coop just to be safe and keep it looking pristine. I would take all of the feeders and waters out along with the chickens then use a hose with a screw on nozzle and clean all of the walls and concrete good.

Before



After

now that is a clean coop!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Now I know.some of you will day they will fly over that fence, and occasionally one will. But it goes and waits by the gate for me to let it back in lol.

We will eventually remove the fence and have our chickens free range the backyard which has 6 ft privacy fence ecept where the cow pasture is. But that will be when we've built our flock to about 18.
 

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My homestead came with a 70 year old chicken coop. It had concrete floor, lath and plaster walls and ceiling. It was two rooms with an adjoining door. Total size of 12 by 30 feet, lower (6 feet) ceiling height. It had four south facing windows that I added clear plastic sheets on the outside. I raised 200 chickens, kept inside through the long winter, November through April. I bedded with lots of clean Spelt straw. Because there was no way to provide heat and temperatures dropped to minus 30 for a few weeks, I needed the straw and manure to insulate the floor. I piled straw and manure around the 55 gallon water barrel, to keep it from freezing. Zero deaths or frost-bite.
I cleaned out the coop and had a great quantity of organic, weed-free fertilizer. The ammonia would take your breath away, it was so strong.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
That 'dirt' is mostly pulverized poops and maybe spilled feed.
Did you add any 'composting' organisms to the litter to get things started?
Ditto the nitrogen/wood aspect that haypoint stated.
You'll have to add a lot of water and probably more 'greens', keep it turned and 'hot', to get that wood to break down in a reasonable amount of time.
What orgamisms would you suggest? I didnt add anything and that "dirt" which I knew wasn't actually dirt...it was at the bottom of the litter.

Do you think from now till March is enough time for my compost pile if I take care of it properly?
 

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I spread barn lime lightly before cleaning out my coop to take away the ammonia odor. I spread lime heavily when I'm completely cleaning out my coop and barn stalls once/twice a year. The lime can kick up a cloud so a face mask would be beneficial.

The lime must do something chemically to the ammonia, to break it up, otherwise you could throw shredded paper on ammonia and the smell would go away but it doesn't.

Not sure if the chicken waste would still be organic, or naturally organic. The lime (calcium carbonate) would have to affect something chemically because the ammonia smell goes away. But, I don't know that affect.

I cleaned out the coop and had a great quantity of organic, weed-free fertilizer. The ammonia would take your breath away, it was so strong.
 
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