Tuesday, June 9, 2015


I've never had such a great supply of compost in my life, as we do now. One of the problems with having livestock, is that you end up with dead stock (a saying of my fathers). Our main problem we have is with piglets - mostly being rolled on by the mother. This is one of the reasons that the sheds use sow stalls - they prevent the sow from lying down, let alone rolling on the piglets. On our farm, we don't use any sort of farrowing set up, the sows make a grassy nest and have the babies in this. The babies can then climb under the grass mound for sun and preditor protection and warmth. So when they get rolled on, which would average out as one per litter or maybe less.

Other things we put in the compost are: afterbirth, dead chooks (ones that die of old age), feathers etc from our poultry processing. We layer these with wheel barrow loads of cow manure.
A lovely fresh cow pat - it's best to be really fresh when covering dead animals or feathers etc.

We use pallets as the framework for our bin and once it's full, we put a cover over it and leave it for twelve months. By this time the pile is about half the size and turned into a lovely compost.
Feathers don't really break down completely and you do sometimes find some bones, but that's all good!

Of course, this would be a bit tricky for most people to do. I've never been terribly successful before this in making good quality compost and found that the best way for me to do it was to use worms. I used a compost bin and would through the scraps each day in and some manure and weeds every now and again. The worms would do the work for me and I would just collect it from the bottom of the bin. ANYONE could do this - even in the city (well maybe with out the manure!) Worms will eat just about anything that was once living and there's lots of good stuff you can find on the internet to help you if you need it.

I'd love to hear what other people do to make compost. It's a great way to get rid of scraps if you don't have chooks to eat them, although if you had chooks, the chooks make the compost for you - the ground in their pen is lovely for the garden.


  1. Interesting..... I find that the worm farm is the best way to make compost because my proper compost bins keep drying out and I just doing have the water to keep them moist enough. I have put dead chickens in the compost before, and it works, but stinks for a few days especially if its hot. We bury the remains of our butchered steers and any dead cattle. I think I need to set up a better compost and make use of the nutrients in "dead stock" instead of putting them in the wheelie bin.

  2. Liz, the best way to stop the smell when you put a dead animal in, is to cover it completely in fresh manure. If it still smells, put more on! With cattle, when you butcher the steer, you can put the guts in the compost, but don't put the bones etc in, it's just too big and the bones won't break down in time. The guts are really good! Good luck!