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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Feed the Birds..How to Feed the Birds!

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Part 2 of the Zero-waste Cat Poop Composting series

(See Part 1 for How to start a Bokashi bucket for precomposting cat poop)

I have found a way to supplement our chickens diet and make their feed go further, compost our cat poop quickly so it can age sooner, reuse some stuff we have just sitting in our garage, all for minimum maintentence, and it is ridiculously cheap! Are you not entertained?!


Early each day to open the coop,
this little bird woman comes.
Later in the evening, 

to the chickens she calls,
"Come, eat the larvae;
Of the black soldier fly.
Show them you care
And you'll be glad if you do
I know you are hungry
Your nests are so bare.

All it takes is laziness from you."



Yep, black soldier fly composting. Sounds gross I know, but they don't carry disease, they don't bite, and they create compost quickly, while their larvae are popular feedstock for exotic pets, chickens, aquaponics fish, etc. The plans I'm showing today are very simple and are set up next to the chicken coop so I don't have to collect the larvae. It should work to fall right near and/or in the chickens coop. Sounds good?


Let's dive in! First we'll need some basic supplies that you could find for free or cheap:

  • A storage tote with a lid or wooden box (I'm using this wooden plywood box I wouldn't bring indoors to reuse what I already had, save me the trouble of borrowing a saw and more likely injuring myself.) 
  • A wooden board
  • Dried used coffee grounds
  • Drill
  • Saw


Assemble:

  1. Drill or cut some drainage holes in the bottom of the tote/box.
  2. Cut a slit or hole big enough for the wooden board to stick out and adult soldier flies to get in to lay eggs. (Predrilled!) 
  3. Sprinkle bottom of the tote/crate liberally with a thick layer of coffee grounds, 1-2 inches thick. This is to help absorb the larvae's sludge.
  4. Place your board through the slit and leaned at a 45° angle or so for the larvae to crawl out of the tote. 
  5. Carry your composter next to your chicken coop with the board hole side leaning against the wire side of the coop. 
  6. Add any kind of kitchen scraps, including meat, dairy, oils, manure, etc. In our case, we add the "pickled" cat poop from the bokashi bucket with some browns.
  7. Wait for black soldier flies to take over or add a purchased colony. 
  8. Enjoy your chickens automatic feeding and compost ready in as little as 1-2 days!

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Until next time, here's to feeding the birds cheaper and cheaper,
Little Urban Greenie

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