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Eagle Lake Permie Homestead
Eagle Lake Permie Homestead
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Olympia, Washington, US
Climate zone:
Cool Temperate

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Poultry Powered Compost Conveyor

Project: Eagle Lake Permie Homestead

Posted by Kyle Williams almost 9 years ago

This is my adaptation of Geoff Lawton's "Chicken Tractor on Steroids" from geofflawton.com

I'm using the P2C2 to feed my chickens while creating compost for the hugelkultur beds I'll be installing in the same area.  So far, the compost is looking fantastic, and I've noticed a 40% reduction in the amount of purchased feed my birds are eating.  I think I can improve this by tailoring the compost towards invertebrate habitat so the chickens have more opportunity for worms and soil crustaceans. 

Here's a somewhat brief description of the work and effort required to reproduce this system:

Week 0 (day 1): Put straw, hay, or some other bedding in your mobile chicken coop.  The bedding and the bird droppings will serve as the initial compost ingredient.

Week 1: Move the coop forward a coop length, and put new bedding under it.  Use the week old bedding along with manures, kitchen scraps, yard waste, etc. to build roughly a 1 cubic meter compost pile.  I also go to a local fruit and veg stand to collect their scraps, which I offer to my birds in order to reduce their feed costs and thank them for their hard composting work.

Weeks 2-4: Move the coop forward 1 coop length again.  Assemble another new compost pile using the week old bedding, and put new bedding under the coop.  Reassemble (turn) the old compost piles with the least composted material going into the middle of the reassmbled piles.  Some of your older piles might have some very uncomposted materials that are too chunky to compost before the pile moves out of the fencing area.  Simply move this uncomposted chunky material to another newer compost pile.  This is the "conveyor" action that gives this system its name.

Weeks 5+: Once you build your 5th compost pile, each week will be exactly the same.  You'll move your coop, put new bedding under it, create a new pile, reassemble and turn 3 more piles, and finally move your electronet fencing forward so the oldest pile is outside the fence.  I recommend leaving that oldest compost pile assembled for at least another week or 2 for it to have some finishing off time.

If you are halfway decent at building compost piles, starting the 5th week and for every week after that, you'll have a new pile of finished compost that is ready to go on a garden or in a food forest.  Each week you'll turn 4 piles, assemble 1 new pile, and put new bedding under the coop.  I do this each Wednesday, and by myself it takes me about 2-2.5 hours (although that time is diminishing with practice).  With the help of my wife, it takes about 1.25-1.75 hours depending on how much sorting the pile materials need to be reassembled properly.  The chickens do a pretty outstanding job of shredding and sorting for you though.

I'm going to work hard at maintaining regular updates here now that I am making some progress on the homestead.  Please subscribe to my project so you can see all the awesome permaculture design I'm planning on implementing on my little 1.5 acre farm!  Please also check out my blog www.permiehomestead.com for irregular updates and permaculture thoughts and teachings.

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Robert Hones
Robert Hones : You should have a fresh pile of finished compost that is prepared for use in a food forest or garden by the fifth week, if you are even remotely skilled at creating compost piles. | Bellingham exterior house painting
Posted 5 months ago

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