On our self ssuatainble 13 acre mountain retreat it is a priority to maintain a self contained , resourceful, and organic homestead. When we incorporated chickens into the mix we were pleased not just with the daily egg production and Mr Rooster waking us up every morning, but we discovered the usefulness of them as our composters!
We placed our chicken coop in a very strategic location fencing in the area we wanted them to work on. During this winter we brought in bags of leaves, and some wheelbarrows full of course sawdust. We also mixed in left over hay, food scraps from the kitchen and several pails of fish scraps from ice fishing and deer bones from hunting.
Winter was a perfect time to compost all of these ingredients. The chickens wasted no time fighting over the pail of fish my husband would set out for them! Even the deer bones which surprised me was a gourmet treat as they picked them clean. As the chickens shredded the pile they had no clue they were assisting in promoting microbial decomposition and helping me work less!
The benefits of using your chickens to compost is bounteous .
Save money on chicken feed! Free food for the hens daily! High protein bugs, microbes, fresh sprouts. This also will increase the quality of your egg production
Your compost will break down quicker! Their constant scratching and digging adds in the break down of your raw materials. We noticed this pile decomposing much faster then our human made pile which needed a little more care and effort! So less work for us if we use our chickens!
Daily as the chickens work the pile they are also adding their valuable droppings!.
We also cleaned the coop and worked the manure into the pile thus eliminating the need to find a place over the winter to put it!
Winter heat and lots to do! We had some pretty cold days but with the composting pile our chickens stayed active and warm!
Backyard chickens offer so much even to people who live in the urban environment. Many cities now are adding ordinances that allow small flocks to be raised. So dont overlook this great homesteading benefit that almost EVERYONE of you out there now can take advantage of!!