Composting Chicken Bedding

Noris asked 4 years ago

I’ve got a large coop with 12 chicken. I use a bale of pine shavings as bedding and every two weeks I replace it. This makes a 45 gallon bag worth of manure feather pine shaving mix that I’ve put in a 55 gallon drum filled with water and bokashi to ferment. Questions: how long would it take to ferment before I could use it in the garden without causing ammonia issues or burning plants. Two, how long would you ferment before adding air stones and compost/worm casting to brew into compost tea. Third, would this mixture get hot if removed from being submerged and piled on the ground like a regular compost mound.

3 Answers
nick kiss answered 4 years ago

We dont have direct experience with this.  However, you are creating a unique composting method, which we encourage you to try!  Learning by doing should teach you quickly what works best.
Our initial thoughts on your method:  1) Be careful adding too much water to the drum.  Bokashi microbes will die off if sitting in submerged water. 2) You will have to determine yourself how long it should ferment before being safe to use in the garden.  Your nose to test for ammonia, and a ph test for acidity will help. 3) If you make a big pile on the ground, then yes it should get hot.  This is the nitrogen at work.  The bigger the pile, the more the heat.  Caution with too much heat with any composting.  A compost thermometer will help.
Sorry we cant be of more help than that.

Noris answered 4 years ago

Thanks for the reply Nick! Fyi I tried it out in a smaller scale combining a 5 gallon bucket worth of spent chicken bedding, and 5 gallon bucket of fresh grass clippings, added air stones, about 1 cup of bokashi that I prefed molasses and added oatmeal after 2 days. Plus a cup of prefed mycrohizae. After 48 hours it smelled like just plain water. After day three, smelled like compost tea; earthy sweet with a twinge of vinegar.  Question 1. You mentioned taking Ph readings, what am I looking for?  Question 2. If bokashi prefers an anaerobic environment, why can’t it survive submerged?

Andrew K answered 3 years ago

Hi Noris Now that two years has passed, How do you do with the system? I am in the same situation and I need your advice. I collected lots of pine shavings mixed with poo which I cannot put directly into my subpod (in-ground worm composting). I am keen to know the result of your experiment perhaps I might be able to do bokashi composting first then feed it to the worm? Or straight to my garden etc… Could you Update please.