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Chook poo hot compost

Project: PermEco Inc.

Posted by Zaia Kendall over 11 years ago

A happy accidental discovery of how to create a chook manure hot compost.

The Chook manure and sawdust pile

Some time ago Tom spend a considerable amount of time concreting the floors in our chook pens, where our chooks sleep at night. We cover the concreted floors with sawdust, which is emptied out regularly and replaced with fresh sawdust for our little egg producers.

Tom had a happy accident the other day. After removing the chook manure soaked sawdust mix from the concreted chook sheds he decided that, instead of leaving it to decompose slowly in a pile for maybe 6 months, he would add some more sawdust to it and wet it to see if it would hot compost. 

The chook manure compost pile, watered and covered with some old carpet.

He was very happy to see the temperature went up, topping 60 degrees C and that it had distinct fungal activity!


Temperature rising over 60 degrees C

Fungal Activity in the Chook Manure compost

There was great colour change and he used an 18 day time acceleration, turning the compost every couple of days. We had beautiful, usable compost in just 18 days!

Turning the Chook Manure Compost every couple of days

However, when Tom  tried to do it again some weeks later with another batch,  it didnt heat up. The temperature went only to 38 degrees C  and he thinks that there was maybe too much sawdust this time (too much carbon). Visual fungi was really low.  But we won’t give up, we will try to judge how many days or weeks is ideal to have the sawdust in the chook pen, so that it is still good for the chooks but will also make beautiful compost! Looking forward to the next sawdust changeover!

Look at this beautiful compost, ready to use after 18 days, made from just sawdust and chook (chicken) manure….


Comments (3)

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Alexandra Berendt
Alexandra Berendt : Wow that is great! How hard was it to turn everything over regularly? Did you only wet it down the once at the beginning or did you wet it down repeatedly? How long was that first lot of sawdust in the chicken coop before being changed?
Posted about 11 years ago

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Alexandra Berendt
Alexandra Berendt : Also, do you think this process would work similarly well with straw as bedding instead of saw dust?
Posted about 11 years ago

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Tom Kendall
Tom Kendall : hi alexandra, i only wet the material at the start. The wetness test is to squeeze a handful and it should just drip a drop or two. The time that it built up before changing was maybe two months.I need to change it sooner on young chicks to stop disease issues.It should work fine with straw as it is always a carbon/nitrogen ratio balance to get your hot compost result.With the sawdust it is quite easy to turn. With straw i would prefer shorter cut straw because its harder to turn when it is too long.When you turn a hot compost you need to try to get the outside to the inside and the inside to the outside to ensure the process treats all the materials,
Posted about 11 years ago

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