the Best litter for Making Compost

digitS'

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Every year the Master Composters set up a demo in a large park not far away. I've been down to take a look a number of times. The compost always has the same tag, "made from pine needles," always!!

Nice, clean pine needles make a fine litter in the hen house. I can even pile them fairly deep in there without turning the floor into a matted mess - the birds like to move them around.

Pine needles contain about .5% nitrogen - about the same as cow manure. The addition of a little poultry poo boosts a pile to optimum levels for rapid composting. You're already half way to homebase before the chicken even steps up to the plate. (So to speak ;)

The problem with wood shavings or corn cobs as a litter is that they take so long to break down or require so much added nitrogen to speed things up :/. I once lived beside thousands of forested acres. On a walk one day, I happened across an old millsite. This apparently was just a simple little thing. There was an old building that had nearly completely collapsed - brush was growing up everywhere and it would have impossible to know what it had been used for if it wasn't for all the sawdust under foot. I doubt if it had been less than 30 or 40 years since a saw had turned at that mill but the sawdust was still there!

Steve
 

MeanQueenNadine

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Good to know on the pine needles & chicken litter. Makes sense, I was buying from the local nursery "chicken" compost so that must be the "extra" ingredient...When I first bought my house I immediately started planting fruit trees, shrubs and any perennial that had some use (habitat for wildlife, food for me & wildlife) so I was big on "amendments".....anyhow it got me to thinking about......chickens....and the rest is history....so you are telling me I do not need to go buy hay for awhile? GREAT!.

My worms (I vermicompost) make short work out of corn cobs. I like leaf litter, my entire community gifts me with a large supply every year (read I go out & steal their garbage). I used to do that with grass clippings & then I clued in to all the extra "sides" I was also getting....herbicide, insecticide, pesticides....Figure with the leaves its still has the sides but hopefully with large trees I will also benefit from the deep roots and get some nice trace elements....

Anyhow back on point I have never cleaned up under my 2 blue spruces, (did not see the need or the value)....So thanks Steve adding to my to do list..... no.....really.... thanks.... :thun :smack oh, so you think I need to get off the net & actually work :weight ooooooh you are so RIGHT! :tools
 

justinszoo

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And to think.....I wanted to cut down all the pine trees around my house cause they are so messy. Now I have free chicken litter :woot :woot Still dont know that i care for them, but at least now they will serve a good purpose.
 

whatnow?

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MeanQueenNadine said:
clip...
I like leaf litter, my entire community gifts me with a large supply every year (read I go out & steal their garbage). I used to do that with grass clippings & then I clued in to all the extra "sides" I was also getting....herbicide, insecticide, pesticides....
clip
Thank you for putting that in there... I'm a leaf stealer and never gave that a thought. So far, my stealings have been put into perennial beds, but that definitely gave me pause...
 

pjkobulnicky

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We use Good Mews (recycled newspaper) for kitty litter and we put it into the compost pile (sans fecal matter of course). It works great and gets so hot that any stray bacteria are efficiently dealt with. If this worries you, don't do it unless you are an experienced composter. This is an exceptional partner for my own (untreated) lawn clippings ... good nitrogen/cellulose balance.
 

poppycat

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I was under the impression that pine needles made the compost too acidic. That could be completely wrong though. What do you thing about other evergreen needles? I don't have any pine needles, but I've got enough Douglas Fir needles to provide litter for a bazillion chickens. I actually use them as a mulch around the outside of the coop and run to keep the mud down. There's about a foot of them, about three quarters composted. I was goung to spread some of it on my strawberries this weekend.

Thanks for ALL the great info.
 

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