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Thread: Using Chickens to quickly compost wood chips

  1. #1
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    Default Using Chickens to quickly compost wood chips

    Good afternoon composters and chicken gurus,

    I've always added chicken manure and their bedding to compost bin, it heats up really well when mixed in and speeds up composting immensely.
    I have a chicken run open to the elements which is around 10x10 feet which i add straw to prevent mud building up and becoming smelly, it works well but every month or so i have to replenish the straw, problem is straw is relatively expensive this year (7 a bale)
    However, i have a unlimited supply of wood chips, my friend is a tree surgeon and offered as much wood chip as I can utilise.
    My aim is to swap from straw to wood chip as a deep bed mulch and move the run around my allotment every year and allow the wood chips to compost to create a no dig system.
    Has anyone tried this?

    My main plan is convert as much wood chip as i can, as quickly as possible to a wonderful compost to grow in the following year

    I'm going to fill the wood chip deep bed litter system to about 18 inch to 2 feet deep and inoculate it with lignin decomposing mushroom mycelium such as oyster mushroom or wine cap, a very vigourous primary decomposer.
    The chickens mix this in, turn the chips adding droppings on the way. As the wood degrades, it adds a little warmth for winter and increases living vertibrates/invertibrates to assist decomposition and provide chicken food.

    I'm certain this will work but not sure if I've given a reasonable time frame of a year to compost all this wood chip to leave in-situ to create a no dig system.
    I believe there maybe a short lived nitrogen deficit at the soil to wood chip layer as the microorganisms are growing and breaking down the wood before its released again when they die.
    I've read that theres potentially a risk with the wood chips and chickens and certain fungal spores, I'm hoping that my inoculated mushroom mycelium will out compete any invading risky fungal attack

    Anybody any thoughts

    Thanks

    Darren

  2. #2
    veggiechicken's Avatar
    veggiechicken is offline Warning!! Contains Nuts
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    Default

    Hi Darren and welcome
    I use anything I can in the chicken run - anything that's free that is! Fallen leaves, shredded paper, grass cuttings, dead plants and the wood shavings from their chicken coop. If I can get woodchips I add some, but not 100%.
    If you can cover the run, it stops it getting so muddy.
    I have a stack of woodchips inside a trampoline frame enclosure. They've been there for at least a year and have shrunk down to half their original height. If you set pots of soil into the woodchip, you can use the heat to germinate seeds. https://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/gr...bed_95046.html


    Doesn't answer any of your questions - but that's what I do!
    Last edited by veggiechicken; 12-12-2018 at 01:34 PM.
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  3. #3
    Thelma Sanders is offline Gardening Guru
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    The Back to Eden Garden guy puts his woodchip in his chicken pen first, before they go on his garden as mulch. It works for him, look at the BtoE youtube videos.

  4. #4
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    Hi veggiechicken,

    Thank you very much for your reply, yes its helpful!
    I have cover to some of my chicken run to keep their house, dust bath, food etc dry.
    I've read that keeping the wood chip wet will speed up the composting process and would be prone to drying out if completely covered, the fungi mycelium and bacteria need this moisture. If i covered the run, i'm sure it would make a great long lasting run and i'm looking to create a quick "turn around" from chips to compost and still maintain a great nutritious run for the chickens
    I could periodically water it, but then i suppose it defeats the object of covering?
    Maybe theres enough moisture rising from below to wet the chips


    Thanks

    Darren

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thelma Sanders View Post
    The Back to Eden Garden guy puts his woodchip in his chicken pen first, before they go on his garden as mulch. It works for him, look at the BtoE youtube videos.
    Hi Thelma Sanders,

    I'll take a look at the back to eden guy thanks

    Darren

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyWifesBrassicas View Post
    Hi Thelma Sanders,

    I'll take a look at the back to eden guy thanks

    Darren
    Just had a look at some of the youtube videos of the back to eden chappie and a lot of people not liking it, I wonder if they're expecting it to decompose quicker than it does. Some attempting this ideal report little or no decomposition in years, bizarre.
    Clearly Paul Gautschi has a fantastic set up and allows the wood chip to decompose before adding to his growing area and doesn't add fresh chips where he is to grow, which is something i need to think about and there's no mention of timescale or microbial action.

    Nice one
    Thanks

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