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Thursday, September 30, 2010

I been thinkin....

I been trying to figure out why my compost tumbler didn't do well composting. The one I have is like a 35 gallon round poly barrel style that is on rollers so you can just roll it in the cradle to turn the compost. This is what I did. When I got the tumbler I cleaned out the chicken house which I had used to raise meat birds in and put a lot of the manure along with the bedding, which is straw into the tumbler. I added a couple shovels full of dirt and compost from the woods to get it started. Then I waited. I went a couple days later to turn the barrel and could not move it. It had compost tea dripping from the drain holes in the ends. I opened the lid and the ammonia smell would burn your eyes. I put the lid back and thought, ah heck I will get Rodger to help me turn it later this evening. Anybody that knows me knows I am scatterbrained at time, so I forgot. For about a week. When we finally did go back to turn the barrel the "stuff" was a wet soggy solid mass in the bottom of the tumbler. No way could we turn it. So all to do is leave it sit till it rots down. A couple weeks ago I went out to see if I could get the mess loosened up to turn. I used a fork and got the mass broke up and the barrel turns now.  Now looking back I know what I should not have done. Don't put chicken manure in a compost tumbler. I am thinking the ammonia from too much manure was so concentrated it killed off all the good bacteria that should have turned the whole mess into compost. Now next time I clean chicken houses the manure is going straight to the garden and get scattered raw. The bedding and a small amount of the manure will go in the tumbler. The things that go in a compost tumbler should also be layered in there. We mixed the material the first time around. Yep the older I get the more I learn.
I went to feed my baby chicks this morning and found one that had a dirty butt. This usually means the bird is sick. I alas try to keep a bottle of Sulmet (antibacterial) solution to mix with their water. But heck no, I didn't have any. I try to keep this stuff on hand as it is great to give lil chicks that have been stressed from shipping. And the nearest store that would have it is about 30 mile away. So off I went to Jackson to get Sulmet. While I was at the farm store I picked up a couple packs of vitamins to mix in the chicks water. When I found that I didn't have Sulmet this morning I just mixed about a tablespoon of peroxide in the water tank. I have used this in a pinch in place of Sulmet before. Although it seems to work better for bigger birds than for lil ones. But now I have the Sulmet for the lil babies and this should keep em nice an healthy till butchering time.
OK off to finish baking peanut butter cookies and finish the laundry. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.



Deb said...

Remember, I had good luck with muh little dirty butt chicken by washing his hiney real good and using vaseline so that the poop wouldn't stick any more! That was before you told me about the Sulmet though.

stella said...

Hi Deb , the sulmet is working for them. They all seem more energetic this morning when I went out to feed em. It is just harder to raise em this late in fall here. They do not do well in cold weather.