Why Compost With Chickens?
Updated: Dec 28, 2018
Our chickens have some very important responsibilities.
And as a responsible employer, we make sure our workers are well taken care of! After all, our hens are employed for a lifetime. After their egg producing years, chickens still have a lot to offer an earth-conscious farm. In fact, we ensure our girls live out their golden years in comfort; especially after everything they've contributed to our farm and composting operation!
They love food scraps
It's no myth, our landfills are reaching capacity. And more than half of our landfill content is food waste or other compostable items that can't break down in an anaerobic landfill environment.
Modern day factory farming has created an unsustainable need for grain feed. Growing grain for farm feed demands land, water and labor that's better used for growing 'people food'.
Chickens prefer real food, not processed grain. We've found a single chicken can easily (and eagerly) consume 4-8 lbs of food waste in a single day. In so doing, they're eliminating food waste, decreasing our dependence on grain feed, producing fertilizer, and laying eggs. How's that for impacting the food waste stream!
They turn compost piles
Chickens will eagerly tear through a compost pile in just days. We've found they sometimes need a little help turning it, which we step in to do from time to time.
They aerate and fertilize gardens in preparation for spring and fall planting
This is something we plan for carefully; a 1,000 sq ft area can be fully "tilled" and fertilized in just a few weeks by a dozen chickens. We give the area plenty of time to rest prior to planting, allowing the fertilizer time to compost for optimal results. And speaking of fertilizer...
They produce an outstanding organic fertilizer
We collect coop poop for a reason: it outperforms cow and horse manure in its fertilizing capabilities. Chickens can create between 1-2 lbs of manure each week in the coop while they sleep. We harvest and compost this pure organic fertilizer. It yields great results with vegetable and fruit plants as well as roses and perennials.
They provide high quality entertainment
Better than television, chickens are sometimes silly, sometimes dramatic, sometimes friendly, sometimes sullen. Throw in some external factors - food, compost, children - and it's a half hour event. Pull up a chair and enjoy the show.
They provide bug and weed control
We're lucky to be able to move our flocks every few weeks using mobile coops. They eat ticks, moths, even copperheads. They eat clover, dandelions, and other weeds before they have a chance to seed.
They keep grass areas trimmed and they clear underbrush in wooded areas
Our flocks typically have access to both wooded and grassy areas at any one time to most closely simulate a natural environment. Chickens are natural foragers, living off bugs, worms, vegetation and whatever else they happen to find while scratching their way through the terrain.
Oh yeah. They lay eggs.
By living a relatively stress-free life foraging for natural protein and vegetation while still being provided the comforts of a warm coop and protection from predators, we've found our hens lay a pretty good egg. Did you know we deliver farm fresh pastured eggs? You can pre-order them with your bucket delivery or redeem your bucket credits in our Farm Store.
Chickens are for life
There really are lifetime benefits to keeping chickens! If their talents are harnessed and not exploited, chickens can provide years of ethical assistance on a sustainable farm. Together with chickens, we'll continue to combat the devastating effects of climate change, landfill overflow, greenhouse gasses, inhumane factory farming, and grain feed dependence. All it takes is a little imagination and dedication to our tireless helpers.
Partner with us
...for food waste collection! It doesn't cost much and you get so much in return. Sign up and we'll deliver a 5 gallon bucket right to your door. Take a couple of weeks to fill it up with your table scraps, veggie & fruit peels, and that stuff you forgot in the bottom drawer of your fridge. We'll pick up your bucket and transport your food waste back to our RVA farm for composting. Compostables are allocated between chickens, worms, and hot compost bins, ensuring 100% of your food waste is repurposed into something much better than trash. You'll also earn credits for each bucket we collect - redeem them for compost, vermicompost, or many other earth-conscious items at our Farm Store!
Until next time...happy composting!