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Paper/Feather Proportions?

 
Posts: 65
Location: Central NJ, Zone 6b
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If I were to build a compost pile with nothing but goose down feathers and shredded office/newspaper, approximately what proportions by weight would I need to get a reasonably good C:N ratio?


Naturally, I will also be adding some active compost to get things going.  Note that I'm not in any particular hurry to get finished compost from this pile.

 
I've tried to work out the answer for myself, but there is so much contradictory information out there that I'm positively lost!


Thanks in advance for your help.  
 
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Hi Elizabeth,

You will need to search out online, the exact carbon to nitrogen ratios of each item your mixing into the compost. There are web sights that have extensive lists, that show average ratios of most composting materials. Once you have the rough ratios of N to C in each item by weight or volume, you can average that out to calculate the exact ratios in your mix, adding whats necessary to create the appropriate ballenced ratio of the completed compost mix. You can also do a search online, how to average ratios, and calculating percentage ratios by weight or volume. Simply apply those equations to calculate the average C to N ratios of your entire mix, once you find the C to N ratios of each material your looking to mix in.

Thats the most precise way to do it, though most people don't care enough to research these things...lol!

I would encourage you to scavenge a more diverse mix though. Free lawn trimmings, free coffe grounds, cardboard, kitchen vegetable scraps or even shead tree leaves. If you see people you know or neighbors struggling with raking leaves, or a lawn that needs mowed or raked. Offer to help and tell them you'll haul off that debris. It's doing good deeds, and carbon in the bank, or should I say compost bin.

Hope that helps!
 
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Location: NNSW Australia
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Feathers 3.4:1 C to N
Shredded newspaper 175:1

Thus, 7 parts feathers to one part newspaper by weight.

More diverse materials will improve the compost and act as a buffer if ratios aren't ideal.

Newspaper can have a Really wide range of C to N values (by a factor of 4) and office paper has more N than the figure quoted above for newspaper.
 
Elizabeth Geller
Posts: 65
Location: Central NJ, Zone 6b
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Thank you, Jondo!

Given that ratio and the amount of feathers I have, incorporating them into my regular pile seems  the better  strategy.  Much appreciated.
 
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