Decomposing wood chips using poultry litter

Asked February 15, 2017, 4:48 PM EST

We are getting wood chips delivered to our farm by a local tree service company. Since the C:N ratio of wood chips is high, I would like to decompose some of these chips using dried poultry litter (from our chickens) as a nitrogen source but I'm not sure how to go about it.

How would I go about figuring out how much poultry litter to use per yard of wood chips? Then, how would I go about applying the manure to the pile to incorporate it? Would it be as simple as spreading it on top and allowing water to spread it into the pile?

Finally, the pile would need to be moistened to facilitate composting. Are there any guidelines on how much water to apply?

Any resources you can point me to would be helpful!

Cumberland County Pennsylvania poultry composting

1 Response

You should work to a 30 to 1 ratio of carbon material to nitrogen. This means you would have more chips than litter. The manure adds the microbes and a portion of the fuel for composting, the chips helps air move through and gives some structure. Water should be added to help dampen but not to the point of making the pile sopping wet. A squeeze test in hand should be damp to the touch without free water coming out to be adequate moisture. Most references look for a 40-70% moisture target. There are a host of composting info materials online

See:
https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/1159e/#Compost%20Materials

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/landscape/dont-bag-it/chapter-2-composting-fundamentals...

http://compost.css.cornell.edu/Factsheets/FactsheetTOC.html