More manure than you bargained for

We have all had a cold this week so I am delayed in cleaning the brooder. Today I hauled out three wheelbarrows full of chicken manure/sawdust from the broilers.  This is a normal amount but the bedding is more soiled than normal.

I returned with two wheelbarrows of composted sawdust.  Under the watering nipples the bedding was completely soaked.  Any feed that falls there ferments and whole kernels sprout.  As I scrape and shovel I have many little helpers looking for something tasty to eat.

I have shoveled out the bedding on the left, you can see a dense layer of manure on the right.  I work to be as honest as possible on this blog.  I want you to really see how it is.  Birds poop.  A lot.  If you are not able to stay ahead of it (like, when you get a massive head cold) the poop gets ahead of you.  Adding bedding is a daily chore, leaning toward twice daily as the chicks grow.  I can’t wait to move them to pasture next week.

When we went to the Missouri Organics Conference we met with Jay Maddick of Campo Lindo Farm.  He raises broilers start to finish in hoop houses with access to the outdoors.  I can’t imagine where he sources fresh chips, how he handles soiled bedding and how he manages to compost it all.  I am anxious to visit his farm and find out.  Oh, the compost!

Believe it or not, chicken manure is a topic of much discussion online.  This is what I believe your broiler poop should look like (Please note the lack of blood in their stool):

I have only gotten bird poop that looks like bird poop, as opposed to runny yellow fluid, by feeding Fertrell suppliments.  Purina Sunfresh goes in yellow and crumbly and comes out yellow and runny.  Same for Dumore.  When we started grinding and adding Poultry Nutri-Balancer we saw a huge change in consistency and in animal health.  We also saw the end of curly toe in our chicks as that is indicative of a riboflavin deficiency and Nutri-Balancer has kelp.

You can see in the picture, our broilers get more than just feed.  Today they got turnip greens fresh from the garden.  Dad always plants too many turnips so we end up carrying them through till spring.  Also, I gather hay chaff in the late fall.  I dump in several handfuls of alfalfa chaff each day.  I can’t promise you’ll taste the difference by adding greens.  I can only tell you my chickens are healthy, happy, have interesting things to peck at and play with, a varied diet and healthy-looking manure.  When a customer stops by to see how their chickens are doing, I hope they are pleased with our efforts.

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