Thursday, June 9, 2011

Junk Mail, Chickens, Compost

So here's the deal...
I take all of our junk mail and shed it in a paper shredder. Then I use it as chicken bedding in the coop. Then I take the paper (+ manure) and throw it in the compost bin. This goes from mailbox to finished compost in about 8 to 12 weeks.


There are MANY people who find tons of flaws with my system including: junk mail has stuff you might not want in finished compost, shredded paper is not ideal chicken bedding and chicken manure has more nitrogen than is ideal for fruiting plants.

To those people I say, "I do not care." 
then I dance around laughing like a maniac

I use the junk mail that I had been throwing away. I no longer have to purchase chicken bedding for the coop. I have a plentiful carbon source for the compost year round. I am using the chicken manure to help my plants grow. (yeah eggs and compost I love those hens) AND, I get lots of compost pretty fast (LOTS)

Some of the finer points:

1. I really try to exclude obviously "bad" stuff like plastic, chunks of glue or perfume samples.

2. I sprinkle diatomacious earth on the paper before I put it in the coop to help to control mites/insects. (only use "Food/Feed" grade DE. The other type, used mainly for pool filters, is heat/chemically treated which makes it very dangerous if inhaled)

3. When using paper as bedding one should make every effort to keep the paper "dry" in the coop. This is because if rain gets in and makes a damp environment then some nasty pathogens could grow in the bedding (just like in most conventional bedding). It's also nice to do this just to keep your chickens comfortable. 

Some people are more concerned about this this, I am not. 
This may be because my coop is elevated and dry or because I have a healthy immune system 
(ie. I'm not under 5 years old, immune-compromised or elderly). 
I do not let my 3 year old son play with the soiled bedding. 

Maybe that's because I'm:
a. really smart about zoonotic diseases
b. a superior mother, or 
c. not a complete moron... 
(partial maybe, but whatever)

4. This is working really well for me and all of my plants (fruiting & non) are responding in a very positive way everytime I apply the compost to them (or tea made from this compost).

So, here is the inside of the coop...
 Here are the hens (or 3.6 of them)..

Here is MBC! (love it!)

And the finished compost.


  1. The thinking (wo)man's garden. I love it! If I lived closer, I'd borrow some of the compost for some of my stuff.

    I love your blogs... I can't wait to see how things go throughout the summer! Then, harvest season! Woo hoo!

  2. Looks like a great system!

  3. love your blog!
    have you noticed a difference in odor with the paper bedding, as opposed to pine shavings? we live in a tight knit residential neighborhood and want to keep things pleasant between us and the neighbors!
    Thx!!! Lisa (mom to the cutest four pullets in the world! and one adorable 11yo child)

  4. Thanks!
    I have not noticed a big difference. I can not smell the coop at all really, but I do change it out about every other week.