Thursday, August 15, 2019

Tons of manure

By happy coincidence, one of the things we need to clean up on our farm is something in high demand: Manure. You might say we're spreading a lot of it around.

For years, we took the science of composting fairly casually. Don would scoop out the underside of the awning each year (sometimes more often, depending on how much it needed it) in late summer or early fall. He piled the manure just outside the feedlot, where over the course of a couple of years it broke down into beautiful compost, which we then heaped on the garden tires when needed.

And since we have tons -- literally -- of this black gold, we're able to spread it around among neighbor who needed it for their gardens.

We have no problem leaving these fertile mounds for whomever buys our place (and hopefully they'll recognize the value of a good pile of poop), but nor do we have any problem handing out compost to anyone who wants some.

So when a neighbor fired up his ancient 1950s dump truck and brought it over for a load, Don happily filled it up. Twice.

He started by scooping out under the awning until he couldn't scoop anymore (the rest will have to be hand-raked out).

Then he turned his attention to the compost pile that is the favorite hangout for the chickens.

God bless tractors. Can you imagine moving this much stuff with a shovel or pitchfork?

The only problem is every time Don scooped up some compost, the chickens would descend en masse to gobble up worms.

They're fearless in the face of a tractor and refuse to move. No one ever said chickens were bright. (On the other hand, I'm convinced the compost pile and its inhabitants is what helps keep our birds as healthy as they are.)

This neighbor was able to help us clean out probably an entire ton of compost. Benefits for both sides!


  1. "God bless tractors. Can you imagine moving this much stuff with a shovel or pitchfork?" Yep, makes me admire great-grandpa and his farming peers all the more!

  2. Compost worms. Yum! Now all we need is some half spoiled fruit and vegetable peelings and we'll be happy chickens. Did anybody say bruised spinach?

  3. Totally off subject but just read an article. Not sure whether to die laughing or be really worried about the intelligence of people. Too bad this wasn't a joke...

    1. Yeah, I saw that too. Far too good not to poke fun at, so stand by for both a blog post and probably a WND column on the subject.

      - Patrice

  4. Our chickens actually hop on the bucket of our JCB and are still eating the worms as you dump it into the trailer. Whether it's because they are confident that they can move out of danger quickly or if they're just too stupid and greedy I'm not sure. I suspect it's the latter!

  5. I was reading about a fellow on the east coast in the compost business and his chickens do not get anything but compost

  6. I was reading about a man on the east coast who runs a composting business and his chickens only get the compost pile for meals and apparently that is all they need.