Compost Bin in the Chicken Coop or Run? Yes!

We decided to move our compost bin from our garden to our chicken area recently.

Before everyone starts giving me all the reasons why it’s not a good idea, let me tell you why we did it.

chicken and compost horiztonal

Our chickens are free range…

That means they have full control of a fenced in area. Sometimes that meant they figured out how to fly over the fence and get into our garden and compost bin.

Clipping wings helped some, but it wasn’t always enough. Now, the compost is where they can scratch around at will and the issue of flying over the fence is nearly non existent.

We give our chickens all the kitchen scraps.

As a matter of fact, if someone goes outside carrying the compost bucket or a pot, they all come running for their latest “treat”. We used to dump it into their area, but if they got bored of it before it was gone, we got a LOT more flies.

Now, it’s in the compost bin already, and the chickens scratch for what they want, and the rest is where it already belongs.

Compost draws a lot of flies, who lay their eggs, who turn into maggots, which turn into more flies.

During the hot summer, it was a rough cycle we couldn’t seem to break no matter how many times we turned the compost, or added grass or leaves. The chickens now eat all the maggots (fine dining y’all!) and the fly population has greatly decreased. Yes, we still have them, but it’s not nearly as horrible as it used to be.

Chickens eat worms.

Lots of worms. And compost bins draw worms. And I DO understand that worms are necessary for the compost cycle and all, but even with 40 chickens, they are not able to eat all the worms that are in there. There are still tons of worms everywhere. Really.

We used to have to spend about 1 hour each week on the bin,

turning and adding the ratios of brown and green to keep it cycling down and the smell down. Now, the chickens do the work for us. They jump in, scratch it all up, and turn it for us. In turn, they get the yummy bugs and maggots, egg shells, and other treats they so love.

Those are the reasons we decided to put the compost bins in our chicken area. It makes our lives a lot easier, to be honest, and we still have great quality compost to add to our garden. What are your thoughts on this? Would you ever put the chickens near the compost on purpose?

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16 thoughts on “Compost Bin in the Chicken Coop or Run? Yes!”

  1. Ours are not in the chicken area per se because we are in between ideal coops etc. but they have free access to the compost most of the time. It is next to the garden which they also get some access to depending on what is happening in the garden. we currently have the 2nd and 3rd cycle heaps blocked so they don’t spread it all over since our compost ‘bins’ are still pretty ‘this will do in the meantime’ but they can still get into the 1st cycle pile where all the scraps and stuff go. We only got started 2 years ago and we are slowly making progress with getting everything set up the way we want so that we can make some permanent choices in placement and building. I have fantasies of a chicken garden all perfectly working together, wish me luck!

  2. That’s a great idea! I don’t have chickens yet, but in my mom’s coop the whole thing kind of was the compost pile. It got pretty nasty sometimes. I like this idea better šŸ™‚

  3. Hello, and thanks for sharing this on HomeAcre Harvest Hop. We, too, have our compost bins in the chicken yard, and find it to be an excellent system. The chickens absolutely love it, and like you, we have no problems with flies. Chickens are happy and healthy. And also safe, because our compost bins are nestled between the garage and some apple trees, so the chickens have plenty of shade and cover.

  4. I moved my compost bins from way across the garden to right behind the chicken coop. Much easier in the winter for all of us to access it now. The chickens are the best rototillers of it. I don’t do the perfect mix, I just keep adding layers of hay or straw every so often after I dump lots of peelings from pumpkins, apples or kitchen disasters. By April its all turned into beautiful compost for the garden.

  5. Hi! This is great article. I’m moving my compost bin to the chicken coop right away! Thanks for the advice! šŸ˜€

  6. I also have my compost in with my chickens. It saves time and once in a while I’ll have my son go out there and mound it back up. Doesn’t take long for the girls to scratch it all down again.

  7. Hi! I tried this because of all the reasons you stated, but before reading about it here. Unfortunately, when my husband cut our grass, he put the clippings in… Wet thought it would be fine because they always pick at the grass anyway. Wet learned the hard way that cut grass can cause impacted crop. Hopefully you haven’t experienced that.

  8. I love this idea! I actually was introduced to this concept by a presentation I saw this past weekend from a couple who have backyard chickens. They gave grass clippings in the summer and a bale of straw in the winter as bedding for their chickens (not free-range) and it not only helped keep the coop cleaner but the chickens did a great job of mixing everything up. It just makes sense to have your chickens do their part of the decomposition process.

  9. TheFrugalChicken.Com

    I think after reading your article, I’ll move my compost bin too. It’s a great idea – thanks for sharing!

  10. Betsy @ BPhotoArt.com

    I love that your chickens are maintaining your compost pile for you. What a great idea. Solving two problems (if not more) at once… great thinking outside the box.

    Thanks for sharing at #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup …I’ve pinned this post and hope you stop by again to link up again for this upcoming week!

  11. Could I see a picture of how u have ur set up cause we wanna compost and get chickens so this is awesome info Iā€™m so glad I found u!!!!

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