I've gotten a lot of interest lately in my chicken coop and more precisely about the location of it and what I do with the manure. Being the visual sort that I am, I've been trying to take advantage of Bloggers video feature more lately. I was pretty happy with the way that the chicken coop design video came out, so I thought I'd expound on that and just give ya'll a personal tour of the back yard gardens. (edit: Blogger video feature was not working tonight so the video I planned on posting will have to be posted at a later date. Sorry for confusion.) I do need to preface this, however, with an apology for the mess that is our back yard. Spring and Fall are our busy seasons for yard projects. Expanding beds, building new structures, moving things around to get ready for next year. The garden may be sleeping in, but I haven't been. Most stuff has been sorted out, but it's still kind of a mess. Oh well, it's my mess!
So, Whatcha think? It's nothing grand, but we've tried to find a balance between maximizing space for the gardens, with still being able to give my kids a safe place to play. As they play less and less in the yard, we'll no doubt expand more and more into the yard. For now, it's all about maximizing the growth potential per square inch.
To answer the questions directly about the chicken manure. Yes, Renee, I do put the chicken poo in the compost bins. I also have put in the garden directly, but don't recommend it unless it is in the fall, or in the early spring for a summer garden bed. Chicken manure is a very "hot" manure when it's fresh and can easily burn your plants, particularly young ones. I did add a large amount of the chicken manure to the compost bins though when I first set them up. I do sometimes add it directly to the garden beds, but I sprinkle a little agricultural lime in with it. This neutralizes the PH of the manure, and "sweetens" the soil. My basic philosophy with the manure is this; All kitchen scraps go to the birds, (moderate strong veggies like onions, garlic and peppers.) all bird droppings are composted, all compost goes to the gardens, garden waste go to birds...etc, etc. I have also used the "aged, and not actually composted manure directly on some of my lawn areas that were having a hard time. It worked very well!
To answer another question, left by Amber, regarding the use of old newsprint in lasagna beds. It is the rare exception that does not use a soy based ink in the newspaper industry anymore. Nearly all newsprint can be successfully composted or used to smother. I personally had access to a lot of heavy cardboard so I used that instead. You'll have to check in next spring to find out how the lasagna beds develop over the winter.
That's all for now folks. Sorry for the video not working. I'll try tomorrow.