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Chickens on the humanure pile?

 
Lucian Holland
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Hi All,

We recently moved to an off-grid finca in Spain and have started composting all our humanure. We're doing it more or less according to the handbook - a bucket-and-chuck-it system with two big compost enclosures (~2.5m3). We're putting our kitchen scraps and our humanure into the middle of the pile, and covering with dry strimmings from our land. We throw on whatever water we use to clean the buckets each time, and at the moment we're keeping the whole lot covered with black plastic to prevent it drying out in the heat here. We've filled about 1/3rd of the first pile so far. The core of it is getting to just over 50C in the middle of the day (slightly cooler at night) at the moment. It also has quite a thriving community of wriggling larvae when we peel back the top layer. I'm not sure if they're BSFL (hoping they are!).

We're now just finishing off building a chicken house + run nearby, and I was wondering about whether we can connect these two things up in some way. The chickens would obviously love to get at the larvae, and it would hopefully reduce the amount we needed to feed them, but I don't really like the idea of letting them at the pile itself - partly because, by the book, we're not supposed to be turning it, and partly because it sounds like a recipe for spreading undesirable microbes all over the place (including our eggs!). On the other hand, I know that there are people who swear by letting their chickens at their regular compost piles - turning and shredding and adding lots of chicken poop - so I thought I'd ask if anyone has any thoughts on the matter. I guess at worst we could fish out some of the larvae as a treat for the chooks occasionally...

Cheers,
 
Nancy Troutman
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My chickens are free range chickens and had access to the humanure pile.   The only problem I had with them having access to it was that they kept laying eggs on it.   I suppose to take advantage of the natural warmth coming from the pile.   I have since abandoned the humanure pile and use a non-Jenkins system.

Since I sold my eggs, I do not myself eat them, having eggs laid on the humanure pile did not increase their value.  
 
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