Easy DIY chicken manure collection

The one downside to my rotating chook house system is not being able to collect manure from under the roosts. Most chicken coop designs should have the possibility to go in and easily scrape up the manure to be used in compost or in other areas of the garden. In my design, the chook manure just drops straight into the garden bed and is quickly scratched in to the soil and disappears. Great for my raised bed crops, but not so great for the rest of the garden! Manure can be used fresh mixed into compost, or dried out, left to mature and used on the garden at a later time.

I have tried to think of clever ways to easily catch the manure but flaws in the roost design were stopping me.

The old roosts

I wanted to be able to put a tarp underneath the roost so to collect the manure at night time (chickens do the majority of their pooping at night). This seemed impossible with the current roost set-up. I opted to change the roost, not only to aid manure collection but also to make it much easier to move the entire structure from one bed to another after vegetable crop harvests.

Roosts with wire for suspension

To build this coop I used wire mesh which is sold under the name of “rabbit wire” it is much stronger (and double the price) of the usual “chicken wire”. Normal chicken wire is so soft that foxes have been known to stretch the holes to gain access to coops so, despite the name, it’s not ideal material for building chicken housing.

The new roosts are suspended off the floor by hanging them from the sides of the coop. I doubt suspending the roosts would have worked using normal chicken wire, but rabbit wire is strong enough for the job.

I have tested the strength to see if they can hold the weight of 5 or 6 chickens and it seems to be pretty strong. We will see over the next couple of days.

I then placed a tarp on the ground and could lay it flat without roost posts getting in the way.

New roosts in situ

I went back to collect eggs and found that the girls have been kicking soil all over the tarp so I have now tied off the tarp to the walls above the ground making a low hammock. The girls can still easily access the roosts (they’ve already tried them out). Hopefully this will now stop too much soil getting in the tarp and the soil that does go in is welcome….it’s chicken powered awesome soil! I’ll be harvesting their manure every couple of days, so I can use it regularly around the garden and so their coop stays clean.

Poo-collecting tarp hammock!

I paid them a late night visit to check the roost was holding up. No problems: 8 girls on the top roost and it was staying strong.

This morning I went down to the coop and harvested my first manure crop. Super easy, super quick, super poo!

One night's harvest

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About Healthy Harvest Kitchen Gardens

Healthy Harvest provides a permaculture-based kitchen garden service for existing food growers and people who are inspired to grow food. We sell fresh chemical-free seedlings, seeds and seasonal produce. We also provide educational workshops, courses, gardening consultations and services. We can help with new vegetable garden designs, maintenance of established gardens, or converting and improving existing gardens ready for growing food. Please see our website for more information: www.healthyharvest.com.au Check out our blog at https://healthyharvestnsw.wordpress.com/ for news and interesting bits and pieces.

Posted on January 29, 2012, in Chickens, Soil and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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