Monday, November 9, 2009

Composting fun!

by June

Without our compost pile to tend, autumn would be no fun at all for Fern and Blossom.

First there was the day I mentioned how discouraging it was that the free-ranging chickens were scattering their precious poop around the place (on the back porch, for instance) instead of putting it where it was the compost bins.

Next thing I knew, my girls presented me with two bowls of...chicken poop. Chopsticks in hand, they'd gone on a treasure hunt around the four green acres. They had especially sought the special pink variety: ah, beet trimmings!

I'll spare you the visuals for the chicken-poop treasure hunt, but here's how to have fun while collecting leaves for future leaf mold...

Bury a surprise in the leaves.

Pop up and yell, "Woohoo!"

And here's a compost question for my gardening buddies just over the bloggy garden gate...Do you use chicken poop in your compost? I used it this past year and had a healthy garden. I've heard everything from how wonderful it is to how it causes more trouble than it's worth. And since Eliot Coleman, whose work I idolize, comes down against it, well... I'm wondering how I can use it wisely -- since I don't want to not use it; after all, it's here. Thanks to my pal, Tom, at Tall Clover Farm, I will never use horse manure. But, then, I don't have a horse living in my chicken coop.

So, how does chicken manure work for you? How do you use it?


Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

What a fun thing to do on a crisp fall day! They look like they're having a blast! " Don't know nuthin' bout no chicken-poop, Mizz Scarlet.."

Quinn Lavigne said...

i love the pictures of the girls in the leaves!!! looks like fun!!! wow....i hope you enjoyed your present of chicken poop!!! how sweet!!

tom tall clover farm said...

June, thanks for the kind mention. Yep I say keep Mr. Ed out of my garden and compost, but as far as little red hens go, I used to toss their droppings in the compost pile or bury it around the drip line of my young fruit trees in small spadefuls. Not sure if it helped the trees, but the orchard grass and clover was emerald green and super healthy in those spots. PS--I love to see what joy a pile of leaves can bring to the young and young at heart!

Magnolia Handspun said...

Oh goodness June, those images are priceless. I love it...looks like they had So much fun.

...and the "ladies" up top, beautiful so enchanting.

I also commend you for bringing up the "poop" subject very can be rather messy, no?
Chopsticks...I never knew.
Wonderful post, always love visiting Four Acres.

Unknown said...

I love it! Your girls are fearless! Collecting chicken poop with chopsticks takes real commitment and tenacity. They are serious farmers!

Seems like I read that same thing Eliot Coleman mentioned, I can't remember the details. I just remember thinking it didn't apply to my situation and I planned to use it anyway. But I wouldn't trust my memory on this - it's very fuzzy!

JGH said...

Not using it yet, June, but I'm hoping to buy a coop sometime in 2010. Since I'm considering a "tractor" coop, I thought about moving it over my beds...but I really should do more research of the Eliot Coleman variety, I guess.

Have fun jumping in those leaves!!

Conny said...

Chicken manure/compost is a precious commodity. Home Depot and most gardening centers sell the stuff in huge bags - so it must be good for the plants. Now, wouldn't it be great if the chickens could be "paper-trained" to deliver it exactly where you want it??

Happy autumn, leaf pile jumping, golden days to you all - Conny

a tasteful garden said...

what great shots full of complete joy! my boys are doing the same exact thing. i was just telling a friend how raking leaves is a lesson in futility when you have kids :)

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

I'd love to have chickens. Someday. Do you think I could ask my egg man to save the chicken poop for me?

Leaf jumpin - doesn't get much better than that. Love it!

farmama sara said...

Hello June!
Your girls are so beautiful! And such good farm girls to be gathering the goods with chop sticks! When we clean out our chicken barn, we put all of the straw and manure into the compost heap. Also in the heap is all the goat and rabbit manure from our farm, and horse manure from neighbors farms. Other stuff leaves that we gather and grass clippings. It is a huge pile that has to be turned with our tractor (about 10 feet tall). It takes about a year to finish cooking!
I hope your girls keep having lots of fun playing in the leaf piles and gathering manure.....(my kinda girls!)

Hullabaloo Homestead said...

We either just throw the hay from the coop into our compost pile along with all the yard scraps (we have a tumbler that we use for food and kitchen stuff.) This year, in our large garden, we also spread cooked compost from the tumbler and then emptied the chicken coop stuff on top of it with a bunch more hay. After letting it sit for the winter, we will till it all under in the spring. We'll see how it works out. We also have chicken poop on the steps to our deck and all over. I think the rain washes it away eventually. Thanks for visiting my blog!


Linda said...

That's dedication - a chicken poop hunt with chopsticks!

We don't have chickens, but I buy pelleted chicken manure and add it to the compost bins as an activator. Don't know what the results are yet because we haven't emptied the bins yet. But I'm looking forward to good results.

Country Girl said...

Hey June, My e-mail address is If you are interested in the poultry let me know asap because we'd like to see them gone by the weekend or they are headed to freezer camp. We have enough poultry though. We use cow, pig and/or horse poo. We use the bedding from the chickens (when they are in over winter) in the gardens. More poo the better according to E.Coleman. I have his 4 seasons book for a guide seeing how we are desperately trying to get our greenhouse up. Always seems to be something else though. John (MM) slaughtered one of the sows today so lots of meat processing to follow. Looking forward to hearing from you, Kim

Hip Mountain Mama said...

Such beautiful photos of the kids playing in leaves. One of our favorite Autumn activities!
Good luck with the chicken poop :)

Girl Tornado said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! :) I love these action pic of your girls in the leaves, how adorable. And I really appreciated the tip about adding horse manure to the compost pile. We just started a compost pile a few weeks ago, and since we have 3 horses, we were adding their poo to the pile. Based on the info at Tall Clover Farm blog, we may want to reconsider...

Anonymous said...

leaves, leaves, leaves, the ultimate fall plaything. i cannot believe some people bag them up and get rid of them.

don't know about chickens, but having acquired a rabbit this year, we are adding her stuff to the compost, 10% veg for sure though.

Joanna said...

We also toss our chicken poop hay into the compost pile. It has really warmed the whole thing up. Now I feel the need to go look up people's reasoning against it.

love the photos of the kids in the leaves!

gardenmama said...

I love the joyful photos of your girls playing in the leaves!! My father has chickens and composts the manure and has great luck with his gardens!

TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Hi June and thank you for your visit and comment on my blog

It is so very nice to meet new faces, I popped right oven to your blog and I like it, I like it a lot! Funny thing is that I have been looking for pizza ovens on the web and here I found it, it looks really great.Looking forward to see the yummie pizzas!


beyond said...

i love these photos. jumping in a pile of fallen leaves makes for great childhood memories.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by June:)

I throw my chook (chicken) manure straight onto the garden and break all the rules. It has never done any damage and it's been over 30 years lol.

My gardens are lush and healthy, use that chook manure in your compost too, it makes for wonderful black, fresh compost, I've never had a problem using it this way either.

Wren said...

Beautiful photos! Nothing better than jumping in the leaves! Love the shot of the chickens against the fall colors. We use sand in the chicken run and have been adding the sand with manure to the garden. So far so good. We also use manure from our farmer friend (horse manure) I think and have excellent results. We get out soil tested every year from our local extension office - which helps tons. As for the weeds... We have them too.. BUT composting with recycled newspaper and grass clipping worked wonderfully this year!

Carolyn Evans-Dean said...

I am throwing some chicken and quail manure right into one of my gardens this fall and plan to till it into the ground in the Spring. The rest will be in the compost pile to try to heat things up. I'm a lazy composter so I rarely take the time to turn it!

sarah said...

Good Morning June,
We just throw everything in a big compost pile and let it cook and turn it and it seems to work out.
Your chickens are so pretty!

Live Simply- Live Well said...

I love your photos!!!
I found your blog through Red Gate Gardens, and love it!!

vuejardin said...

Your girls are so beautiful!

A Suburban Farmer said...

Your girls are darling - what wonderful pictures!

Chicken manure is terrific for the compost pile - I have chickens and wouldn't dream of not using it. Rabbit manure is fantabulous, as well.

Chris McLaughlin
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting (Alpha/Pengiun) April 2010.

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