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Chicken composting: what they can have that your compost pile can't

Rachel Mays July 18, 2009
This is one of my just-hatched ideas that will either change a generation of backyard chickens or wither like the snap-peas in the summer sun (sorry!). It has occurred to me that chickens can play a much larger role in sustainability than simply being cute, feathery and producing eggs.

Some ideas so far:
- worms from a worm bin are high-protein delicacies to our feathery friends. Could this solve the "what to do with your worms" problem in the vermiculture discussion?

- websites such as sustainablechicken.com are looking at (and reviewing) ways to raise chickens in cheaper and more sustainable ways, such as supplementing or replacing store-bought feed with a balanced mixture of kitchen scraps

- the BioPod (http://www.sustainablechicken.com/2009/05/04/grow-sustainable-chicken-protein-from-table-scraps/) is a system that 'converts' table scraps into high-protein Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae for your chickens. Downside: it costs $220.

- additionally, a great article about maggot composting can be found here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/26/HOEIV3JNR.DTL&hw;=soldier+fly+larvae&sn; =001≻=1000

- chickens can eat the occasional dairy from kitchen scraps, plus pasta, bread, and small bits of meat. This, when added to a mix of compost-ready kitchen scraps, can supplement their diet and, according to some, make eggs even tastier!

(I have been warned against adding onions and garlic to chicken scraps, for obvious reasons.)

- Chicken manure can be used for composting, with excellent results. While it cannot be applied directly to plants, when used as a part of a compost system it will break down easily into "black gold": http://www.seattletilth.org/learn/resources-1/city-chickens/compostingchickenmanure


Now, happy chicken-ing for those of you with them! For everyone else, I would suggest going to The City Chicken for more information on raising poultry inside or outside of city limits: http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/
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Steven Skoczen July 18, 2009
Wow. This is really, really cool stuff! Reply to comment
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