So, with spring finally reaching us here in the northeast and the ground not being frozen, it's time to start playing!
I have maybe a 10' x 15' area of the larger run that is just soggy. I deep litter in the run, and for some reason in this spot instead of getting a nice rich compost covered with leaves, straw, and wood chips, I get a soggy, anaerobic, foot-deep layer of compress organic material.
I plan to move this material into a proper compost pile once I have my setup built later this season, but chomping at the bit a little with spring finally sprung, I figured I'd break up the mucky area a bit with a pick ax.
When I started turning over the muck, which definitely has a sour smell, I was amazed by two things:
Just how good a workout swinging a pick ax is...talk about feeling the burn in a hurry!
The sheer number of worms and other creepy-crawly critters in the mix is really staggering.
So, from now until I get the big compost area built, I plan to turn over a half dozen or so pick ax swings worth a day to expose the muck to oxygen (to hopefully get it moving from anaerobic to aerobic), expose the worms to the chickens (and provide them a lot of free protein and entertainment), and maybe burn a few calories myself!
Once the compost area is built, I'll get one more round of exercise carting what's left of the muck to become a great base for the compost heap. Between mixing in some extra carbon and getting it piled up high enough to heat up, I expect this muck will make great compost.
In the picture above you can see the chickens picking and scratching through the muck I pulled away from the shed door and back of the coop.
The picture below is a bit closer look at a few chickens going at some freshly turned muck.
Talk about turning muck into good luck!