Churning compost for two goals

I churn my compost for two goals.

I get 10 to 15 yards of wood chips, leaves, and stumps dumped on my yard when I see an arborist in the neighborhood. I then move that pile into the composting area where the chickens and goats have access to it. The chickens scratch, dig, and eat bugs and creatures from the pile along with some vegetation. The goats eat the leaves and fibers. Both, poop on the pile.

If I did not have goats and chickens, I would do more of the heap method of letting the pile remained untouched and just watering it as needed. This would create a bioreactor that would cook the materials and create a heated area for the bio-diverse animals to leave and break down the wood chips into compost.

But, with the goats and chickens, I want their poop dispersed throughout the compost. The goats have cool poop that allows the feces to be immediately usable by plants (Plants in, plants out). The chicken poop is hot, but ful of nitrogen and needs to aged to be usable without burning the vegetables. So, giving some time to the compost is good.

Yet, another aspect is that the chickens can be fed by animals that come to live in the compost. Chickens love to eat ants that set up colonies in the chips. I have found earthworms and other organisms living there. This provides another source of protein for the chickens.

Written on November 2, 2020