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Rabbit and chicken manuer mix, too hot?

Discussion in 'Composting & Soil Building' started by Jackrabbit55, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. Apr 21, 2019
    Jackrabbit55

    Jackrabbit55 Sprout

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    Hello everyone, I'm wondering what's the best way to use a mixture of rabbit and chicken manuer for fertilizer in my garden.

    My rabbit cages hang in my chicken coop above the chickens. I have seven rabbits and 13 chickens. I have free access to clean wood shavings. They are from a table plainner and are much finer then the shavings u can buy as bedding material. I put about a 2 inch layer in the coop every 5 to 8 weeks.

    What's the best way to use this in my garden. I have plants in the ground and in buckets
     
    Ridgerunner likes this.
  2. Apr 22, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    i would run a trench deep enough so that i could bury it well enough so that none of it can splash on plants. this would be off to the side of any plantings so that the plant roots would find it as they were growing. then it could finish composting over the next few weeks if it were still a bit too hot. this way it would be there the next few seasons as i rotated my plantings through that garden space.

    it depends upon a lot upon how much quantity of material you have. i never have enough worm compost or other materials to do every garden here so i have to pick which ones each year that need it the most and then work around the rest as best i can. it is not a bad thing from what i can see all the gardens here are gradually improving - it just takes time/patience. :)
     
  3. Apr 22, 2019
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

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    Pure rabbit poop can go directly in the garden or in your buckets, it's that mild. Have you considered putting trays (what they call droppings boards over on the chicken forum) under those hanging cages to get pure rabbit poop for immediate use? The chicken poop is too hot to go that near your plants and needs to break down first. Not sure how much chicken poop you are getting in the coop, do they spend most of their daytime outside the coop so it's mostly just what they drop from the roosts at night? Adding that much wood shavings might mean it's a carbon rich mixture though 13 chickens can drop a lot of poop at night. A 2" layer on a small coop means less shavings than a 2" layer in a large coop. Not sure what the green-brown ratio of your mix is.

    How often do you clean it out? When I had chickens I'd clean my coop out in the fall once every three or four years and put it directly on my garden and till it in. By the time planting time rolled around it had broken down. It would have been better to do that once a year but sometimes I can be lazy.

    Do you have a compost pile? Some people turn their coops or runs into a compost pile and let the chickens do the turning. I kept a separate compost pile and used droppings boards under the chicken roosts to collect poop. That pure chicken poop was added to the other stuff in the compost pile as a green, with the grass trimmings, garden wastes, and kitchen wastes the chickens did not get. When it was ready I'd sift it through a frame made of 1/2" hardware cloth into my wheel barrow. Anything that went through that wire mesh was considered compost. Any thing that did not go through was tossed back onto the next compost pile to keep working.

    I don't know what is best in your unique situation. You have different options. Personally I'd find a way to compost it.

    :frow Welcome to the forum, glad you joined. :frow
     
  4. Apr 24, 2019
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Garden Master

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    From now on, if you don't change your setup, you may want to put varied deep litter materials under those cages instead of just the shavings...wood shavings take a long time to compost. Try a mix of leaves, twigs, woodier stemmed plants or even corn shuckings to create air spaces in the mass and have compost materials of different particle sizes and compost times. Turn it every now and again through winter and add some water(you need a LOT of good ventilation if composting in your coop at all times).

    If not wanting to try that or change your current setup, your best bet is to move all that out to a compost bin and let it compost fully before use, as the uncomposted chicken litter will definitely be too hot for your garden unless you are using it on corn or other similar heavy feeders.

    Whatever you do, don't use it on stuff that aren't heavy feeders...I used wood shavings and chicken poop on my garden one year and had the tallest, most lush tomato plants you ever saw...gorgeous and deep green. Not a mater one on them all season. I think I may have gotten a few small ones towards fall, but I had planted 50 that year...a few small maters out of 50, usually very heavy producers, is not much return.

    Corn, sweet onions and green peppers did GREAT that year, so there's a few crops you can use that on without having to compost it fully first.
     
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  5. Apr 24, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    if you build your chicken space on a slope then you can put stuff in at the top and let them pick their way through it and they and gravity will move it downhill for you where you can then collect it and put it in the gardens.

    bunnies and wood shavings in the mix just adds more carbon to the system and that's a good thing since the chicken stuff is hot. as long as there is enough moisture it will eventually compost if it is piled up or not.

    only the possibility of diseases makes me want to put all chicken related droppings under some layer of topsoil to keep it from splashing on plants as they flower and give produce. the worms will love it all no matter what stage it is in as long as they are allowed to get to it as they can. you can't likely put worms directly in fresh chicken droppings, but if you bury the chicken stuff then the worms can crawl in or away from it as it changes - in a few days/weeks/months/years it'll be just fine and the worms will enjoy it and help breaking it down.
     
  6. Apr 24, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    my idea for a chicken coop with rabbits above it would be first a solid concrete slab sloped from the center in one or more directions (depending upon space available and your surrounding landscape). this would be set at the top of the slope so that anything that comes out of it would eventually be moved downhill.

    the rabbit droppings would be shuted to the center of the space so it would fall on the floor. the floor would be a metal grate that you can walk upon that is spaced 4-6" above the slab.

    around the edges of the slab would be metal grate to keep the predators out but it would also allow organic materials to fall out the sides as the worms and chickens worked at it. if needed you could also have some scrapers or prods to move things but i'd rather let the worms and chickens and gravity move it for you instead as it gets processed.

    once it falls out the chickens will move it around scratching through it. you can throw you veggie and weed scraps at the top there too and they'll work it even more.

    so by the time it gets to the bottom of the slope it could be scouped or even allowed to fall into a screw/mover/auger and then could be moved wherever.

    the layer under the wire mesh at the top under the chicken coop could be seeded with composting worms to make sure it gets started, but once it was up and going it would likely be a perpetual worm source as long as you kept applying rabbit droppings, carbon sources and chicken stuff on top and kept it moist enough (i'm not sure how much of a water mess chickens do if given water inside a coop).

    just my ideas so far... :) i've never kept chickens or rabbits, but i do keep worms. worms will survive a lot if they're not allowed to get too hot or too cold or too dry.
     
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  7. Apr 24, 2019
    ducks4you

    ducks4you Garden Master

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    That is a LOT of work to go through to use it this Spring, or even this summer bc chicken manure takes 9 months to break down, or else you can burn your plants out using it straight and fresh. If you can pile it up and use it all Next year, you won't have to go to all of this trouble.
     
  8. Apr 27, 2019
    Smart Red

    Smart Red Garden Master

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    i love the rabbits and chickens living together! i used sheet metal to funnel the rabbit manure into containers so i could use it whenever i wanted. the chicken bedding/manure i put into a fallow garden bed to compost, cool down, and be used - in spring ammended beds only - the next year.
     
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