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I am a farmer, have a question to ask - how to deal with chicken manure smell  RSS feed

 
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I like this forum and I can find a lot of interesting things here!
I have raised more than 100,000 broilers, laying hens. How to deal with the problem of manure has been bothering me, the smell of the farm is very big, and the neighbors are very angry about it.
I have thought of a lot of ways, including buying a manure separator, but the effect is not good.
I have consulted a lot of people and have not found a good idea.
Is there any good way?

 
pollinator
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I would bring a dump trailer over to get a load. Is that a possibility? Offer it for free to local people?
 
gardener
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Unfortunately I don't think chicken manure is much good for biogas, which could be a solution for manure of animals such as cows.

To compost chicken manure well and make good compost normally requires addition of large amounts of carbonaceous materials to mix with the highly nitrogenous chicken manure. That would mean materials like straw, dry brown autumn leaves, or sawdust, in much larger volumes than the chicken manure. Then, well mixed, made damp, and then turned and mixed at intervals, it could become excellent compost. If you don't have access to that much material or that much space, then this wouldn't work for you.

However I don't know if there will be any kind of organic or permaculture solution for keeping 100,000 chickens. It is difficult or impossible to find organic solutions to a concentrated animal operation like that. If you had a much smaller number of birds, as well as some diverse types of trees and crops, then it might be possible to have the products and waste from the green things feed and serve the chickens, while the chicken's manure and activities feed and serve the green things.
 
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To value add to the 'waste' problem in an environmentally effective way, consider a manure pelletizer machine.

The pellets can be bagged and sold, importantly, they can be stored long term - in a dry area, protected from weather.
 
pollinator
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You can burn it to generate power and create a charcoal that can be made into biochar. Depending on how much poop you have at a time you could conceivably generate a substantial amount of energy and the biochar could either be fed to your birds, amended into your pasture, sold to the public, or some combination of those.
 
pollinator
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Chicken tractors can help spread the manure,    deep wood mulch wood chips also helps.        
 
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I'd make an effort to call some local tree cutters and mowing companies and ask for their wood chip and grass clippings. I'd then start a nice composting area.  

I approached a tree trimming service at our local gas station while they were there filling up their vehicles. The owner just happened to be there. He told me that he has spots to dump wood chips all over the area but based on my address he'd start dumping on me anytime he's within 5 miles (out of his convenience) .  It's been 3 years now that he has been bringing me chips and if I were to guess he brings me between 100-130 yards of chips each year...and they are free!

You could probably use 500 yards of chips a year to compost all the chicken manure. That would make some awfully good compost though!

Good luck, if you were close to me I'd let you dump some chicken manure on my property.
 
pollinator
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The good news is that there is a solution. The bad news their is no 'cost-free solution.
The neighbors have a right to be angry. You are 'polluting' the air/water/soil, that they have to share with you.

The most turn-key solution is to create a small aerobic septic system
1) Aeration
2) Settling (bottom sludge pumped back to 1st aeration tank)
3) Aeration
4) Clarification (bottom sludge pumped back to 2nd aeration tank)
5) Sand Filter (possible green filter would be after this sand filter)
6) Phosphorous Removal
7) Nitrogen Removal
8) Sterilization (UV or Ozone)
I am sure you could also incorporate a duckweed/algae bioreactor (green filter) too.
Now for sizing with 100,000 chicken, they are eating 25,000lbs of feed per day.
Producing about 33,000lbs of poop per day aka 3,300gal (6,000gal after it is washed down into the tank)
Now that we have tank size, next is aeration pump sizing.
Most brands max out at 1500gal/day so you are going to need 4 for both tanks.
https://www.septicsolutions.com/septic-parts/septic-air-pumps/hiblow-air-pumps/hp200_hiblow-hp-200-linear-septic-air-pump
Another big question is how are we really going to get the 33,000lbs/day chicken poop into our septic tank.
Also instead of 1 big septic system we can have 4+ smaller ones, for redundancy/fail-over purposes.  

The next solution is liquid fertilizer (sold or use to grow hay/flowers/etc)

Make compost by adding sawdust/woodchip/hay/straw. (could be sold too)
1) You could incorporate Black Solider Flies, which can be sold
2) Compost Worms could be added, which can also be sold
3) Mushrooms could be added too.

Similar to composting carbon(sawdust/woodchip/etc) can be added to make biogas.

It is possible to make the chicken coop more airtight and install a HVAC system that send all air thru a air filter (charcoal/biochar filter/etc)

 
master pollinator
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I wonder if the chickens on compost idea can be scaled up to the size of 100,000 chickens?  

"Composting Chickens: How to design and manage a composting chicken house (FUN)" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHc1sADcXtg

"How Karl Hammer Feeds 600 Chickens (Without Grains)" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWChH9MHkHg

There are many more videos on Youtube about using chickens to compost their manure as well as other organic materials such as restaurant scraps.  Compost is a valuable product, so I wonder if it would be possible to reduce the number of chickens and still be profitable if one could also sell the compost.

 
S Bengi
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I like that deep litter/composting system.

With 33,000 lbs of poop (25,000lbs of feed) being added to the compost pile everyday.
You are going to have to have to add 2X that amount of carbon everyday too.
Well there could be some batching where it is done once a week or something.

Buying/Sourcing that much carbon(sawdust/woodchip/straw/hay) and then spreading it can be a challenge.

It is also possible for us to bring the manure/sewer to the woodchip pile outside vs bringing in the woodvhip/straw into the chicken coop.
 
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First I have to know where you are from to understand just what kind of issue is afoot here. I say that because in the United States this is not so much of an issue at all, especially high-nitrogen chicken manure. But from my work in Moldova, it was completely different. In fact to get at the heart of the problem, we had to get right down to preconceived notions on just what manure was. It is not that the Moldovian's were being silly, they just do not have the experience that we have here, and their observations caused them to have poor disposal choices.

I am sensitive to that, but need to know where you are from. I suspect, outside of the USA???
 
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I'm guessing here but I don't think the OP is taking about raising 100,000 chickens at once. I think he means he has raised that many over some longer period of time.
 
S Bengi
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Trace Oswald wrote: I'm guessing here but I don't think the OP is taking about raising 100,000 chickens at once. I think he means he has raised that many over some longer period of time.



Most chickens are ready in 5 weeks, so 10 batches could be done in a year.
So 100,000/10 = 10,000 chicken concurrently
2,500lbs of feed per day
3,300lbs of poop per day
600 gallon of poop to the septic tank (330gal undiluted)
The problem seems so much easier to fix now, lol.
 
pollinator
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The ideal permaculture solution would be to build chicken tractors or an egg mobile and move those birds daily to fresh grass, allowing all that wonderful manure to fertilize the land.  But that requires a completely new system.

Another solution would be to find a way to process that poop and turn it into a product that people will pay you for.  

Have you seen this video?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-O4ONVI4LE

Salatin composts all the blood and guts from his butchered chickens and rabbits, as well as any other manure and animal byproduct (feathers, dead cattle, etc.) that accumulates.  No sell and minimal rodents or other vermin.  The key is having access to the heavy carbon base (wood chips).  All that nitrogen needs a lot of carbon to absorb it.

You would need:

1.  Some pace to pile up and store the wood chips, having them on-hand for when you need them.  

2.  A regular source for wood chips.  Is there a country tree-trimming crew that would be willing to dump the chips on your place?

3.  Some means of mixing the chicken manure with the wood chips.  A front-end loader would be sufficient, I would imagine.  You've probably already got one.

4.  Once you mix the chips and manure, you'll need a place to let them sit and compost.  Salatan leaves them for 6 months or so, and then re-uses the same chips a second time.  As you can see in the video, he's got a massive shed with open sides where the chips are piled up and the composting takes place.

5.  A manure spreader to spread the composted chips and manure a year later.

With minimal investment, you might be able to turn a problem (complaining neighbors and stinky piles of chicken poop) into a money making solution (a garden byproduct that people will pay money for).  Thus, the problem becomes the solution.  Sell it by the yard as a garden amendment.  I'd buy it if I lived anywhere near you.

Best of luck.
m
 
Travis Johnson
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I took it as 100,000 birds at once.

We raised 50,000 birds (broilers) as PART of our farm because commercially speaking, that is not many birds at all. Chicken barns around here anyway can reach 200,000 birds, and their might be 4-5 separate barns.


The problem we ran into in Moldova was that they did not feel the manure had value. it "burned the seed", so they dumped manure into landfills. This kept some sheep farmers from cleaning out their barns for over 3 years! I understand deep bedding, but this was not that, this was just not cleaning out the barn! For those that do not have sheep, this is bad as they are prone to respiratory problems due to their high ammonia.

So we had to figure out why they did not spread the manure around.

Well what happened is, being a social country, the person who spread the manure got the same pay no matter if he spread the manure around then he did if he dumped it in one pile. Since that guy could spend less time dumping in one pile then evenly spreading it, that is what he did.  Then the person that planted the corn would just come through, and being one to just plant the seed, and not really caring what the crop did, just punched through the pile of manure. So when the seed hit that pure manure, and literally tons of it, the seed would die. From what the Moldovian's observed the manure "burned the seed", and hence the view that manure was no good and sent to a landfill.

Now we have to realize that a lot of Moldovian's are from other areas, many can only trace their ancestry back to their Grandparent's, so they do NOT have farmer backgrounds. They are just trying to survive! So to really get down to the heart of the problem, we had to change how a lot of things were done, get a few harvests in where the way we did things actually proved to be better.

I need to ascertain some of the issues before I give advice.

For instance, 100,000 birds would constitute a CFL or Concentrated Feed Lot here in the USA, and the farm could not even achieve 100,000 birds without having a written plan in place to disperse the manure generated (a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan). This leads me to believe that the OP is not from the USA.
 
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I don't know how large the demand is or what you'd need to charge to be profitable at it, but people sell all kinds of manures on eBay to gardeners willing to pay to ship it in small quantities. Here's an example:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1313.TR12.TRC2.A0.H0.Xchicken+manure.TRS0&_nkw=chicken+manure&_sacat=0

Where are you located? There are counties in the U.S. that turn the leaves and chips they collect into compost. You could possibly work out something with a local entity that creates large scale compost to have them haul it off.

Companies that trim the trees near power and telephone poles usually chip them into a truck or trailer and haul them off. They often have to pay to dump them in landfills, so if you offer to take those free chips they will deliver them. Use those to mix with the manure to turn it into compost and reduce the smell. (Some are now mulching the chips in place, but you can probably still find many that haul them somewhere.)

Horse racetracks have deals with mushroom growers to take all the soiled bedding (straw and hay mixed with manure) to grow mushrooms in.

When I lived in Texas, local gardeners including Mennonite families would come and haul off all the horse manure. They offered to pay for it, but I gave it to them. It got my pens cleaned for free and benefited them in growing food for their families.

Alfalfa growers sometimes use chicken manure on their fields. My hay grower in California had a deal with a local chicken farm to take their chicken manure. I don't know whether their arrangement involved the exchange of money or it was considered mutually beneficial to them both.

Contact local agriculture advisors to find out what is grown in your area (both crops and pasture land). You may be able to find someone willing to haul it off for free if it is valuable enough to them. Or you may have to pay part of the cost.

Advertise wherever it is popular where you live to see if you can find someone interested in chicken manure. In the U.S. that would be Craigslist, the Facebook Marketplace, the free classifieds given away at many stores, and in agricultural or horse magazines.  There are also bulletin boards at feed stores, Tractor Supply and other Farm & Ranch stores here where you can post a free ad. Look for similar opportunities in your location.

 
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snow xu wrote:I like this forum and I can find a lot of interesting things here!
I have raised more than 100,000 broilers, laying hens. How to deal with the problem of manure has been bothering me, the smell of the farm is very big, and the neighbors are very angry about it.
I have thought of a lot of ways, including buying a manure separator, but the effect is not good.
I have consulted a lot of people and have not found a good idea.
Is there any good way?


This spring I accompanied my brother to the city composting facility. At this place city residents could drop off compostables, for free. There was a line up of trucks coming in dropping  off mostly tree trimmings. There were people directing where to drop stuff off. There were many massive piles of partially composted material with large equipment being used to turn the piles. There were a few smaller piles of finished compost that were free to take by the truckload for city residents to use in their gardens. The space, people, and equipment used here are all paid for by the city in an effort to reduce land fill needs.

My first thought on seeing this place was that it would be a real chicken paradise. My second thought was that if there were chickens here the droppings would make for higher quality compost. My third thought was that the composting of mostly wood, carbon, would go faster with a source of nitrogen, such as chicken poop. My thoughts were that this place is doing good things, but chickens would make it better.

Is there a town or city that you could partner with to keep compostables out of a landfill? Could you provide space for compost piles to be made. Equipment to turn piles. Possibly more workers to manage a composting facility. A town or city might be able to pay you to take this material. Properly managed compost piles do not smell and could quickly break down poultry droppings.

If you can form this sort of partnership you would be paid to take carbon material, then sell, chicken, eggs and compost. This would be a real win-win if you can find a partner.

If you don't think you can be paid to take compostables you can probably get stuff for free by contacting landscaping companies and advertising at home and gardens stores.
 
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Fermenting their feed drastically reduces the smell of manure.  Fermenting feed at that scale would be a real chore I think but might be less infrastructure than composting it after.  There's a video on youtube of a guy mixing it in a clean cement mixer for a large flock.
 
snow xu
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F Agricola wrote:To value add to the 'waste' problem in an environmentally effective way, consider a manure pelletizer machine.

The pellets can be bagged and sold, importantly, they can be stored long term - in a dry area, protected from weather.


I think this is a good idea!
 
snow xu
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Travis Johnson wrote:First I have to know where you are from to understand just what kind of issue is afoot here. I say that because in the United States this is not so much of an issue at all, especially high-nitrogen chicken manure. But from my work in Moldova, it was completely different. In fact to get at the heart of the problem, we had to get right down to preconceived notions on just what manure was. It is not that the Moldovian's were being silly, they just do not have the experience that we have here, and their observations caused them to have poor disposal choices.

I am sensitive to that, but need to know where you are from. I suspect, outside of the USA???


Johnson, thank you very much for your two replies. I can feel that you are a warmhearted person.
am from China. We have very little experience here(in china). So I want to get the most professional advice on the Internet.
In addition, the scale of my farm will double next year, so in addition to dealing with these headache chicken manure, I also want to know if there are any good ways to create economic value.

 
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Snow Xu, I’m just really sorry that our factory farming model has come to you in China. Not everything from the USA is good. Many things are good, but factory farming is not among them. I’m sorry you are saddled with this dysfunctional paradigm and very difficult problem. Any solution will require massive amounts of absorbent carbon materials: straw, spoiled hay, spoiled food, wood chips, sawdust... any plant materials which would absorb and neutralize the animal waste. Maybe your factory could partner with (or create) a composting operation. The compost could be sold for fertilization of ornamental plants. It may not be suitable for food crops though, because of the medications you must use to keep chickens alive and growing in a factory setting.
 
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