Chook Assisted Compost Heap




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Chooks (chickens) can be very destructive in the garden, but if you have room for a chook-yard they can also be very enthusiastic helpers.

If you have a compost heap and a little extra space you could consider fencing off the compost and putting in some chooks. That's what I have done. The chooks love to turn the compost heap over for me while they look for tasty little creatures to eat. They also generously donate manure as they scratch about. I have given them a perch so if they feel like a rest they can generate manure in comfort.

But chooks offer more than just a compost service... 
  • The chooks consume all my food scraps and prevent me from  feeling guilty about wasting food.
  • They convert the food scraps into eggs for the family, and manure for the garden.
  • Chooks feed on any wild insects that they come across - there's a resource that we usually can't use.
  • Because they have such a rich and varied diet, my chooks lay eggs that are about a thousand times better than any store-bought egg.
  • I'm able to use the usually wasted space between my shed and the neighbours' fence as extra chook yard. It's less than a metre wide but quite long so the chooks get plenty of space to run around in.
  • Having chooks around is a great practical way for little kids to learn about life, death, reproduction, and where our food comes from.
I hope you enjoyed this. I'm no authority on the raising of poultry, but if you have any questions please post them and I'll do my best to answer.



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    2 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea for the initial stage of composting and as long as you're using just food scraps and herbaceous matter and not manure and other nasties too.

    I assume also that you get the chooks out of there when the compost pile gets too hot. They can get up to 60-70C degrees (~160F+).

    1 reply

    I'm not sure, but I think there isn't a lid on the composter. Done right, the compost should actually keep the surrounding area warmer in the winter. Depending on the climate that could be enough that all the "chooks" would need is a place to go when it rains.
    Also, what's wrong with roasted chicken?