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Soil and Composting: Feathers decomposed completely in a year

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 15, Views: 151
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patti47
Lynnwood, WA
(Zone 7a)

December 12, 2010
11:09 AM

Post #8256158

I picked up some huge bags of feathers for nitrogen in my garden bed from a down factory. The bags were 6ft long. I emptied them into my garden beds and covered them with soil and by the next year there was no sign of them. They are not the easiest thing to contain and get covered up but I intend to do it again. They have a very high nitrogen content. I think they will be the perfect addition to the leaves I'm sheet composting. Anyone else try feathers?

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

December 12, 2010
2:56 PM

Post #8256453

I purchase a 50lb bag of this fertilizer each year. It contains feather meal

http://www.territorialseed.com/product/1639/22
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

December 12, 2010
3:21 PM

Post #8256503

I had two old worn-out goosedown pillows that I tried to empty into my compost pile, but the effort was disappointing. When I cut each one open, the down was clumped tightly & clung to the inside of the pillow. I emptied what I could, but ~1/3 of the down refused to come out.

My solution was to cut the pillows wide open in a + shape, dump out what I could, wet the insides, re-stuff them with half-finished compost, and bury them deep in the pile. That was in September. I'll unearth them in the spring and see what's left of the loose feathers around them & the clumpy feather wads inside them.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

December 14, 2010
2:50 PM

Post #8260198

i had a couple of old down pillows i did same with.. dont try on a windy day..LOL
i added mine to my compost pile..they were gone in 6 months.. i couldnt find anything in the compost that
looked like a feather..
meisgreen
Phoenix, AZ

December 23, 2010
10:37 AM

Post #8273850

Although I've never tried to compost feathers, I can say that my compost in general breaks down very quickly. With the exception of one Sunchip bag which is suppose to break down very quickly but still seems to be hanging around. You know, its very upsetting to see this metal-like (or maybe it is metal) in my compost pile. Like its totally unnatural.
kmom246
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)

January 1, 2011
12:10 PM

Post #8286808

I compost the moulted feathers from my hens each fall in a cold pile, and by spring, you'd never know there were feathers in the pile at all. Throughout the rest of the year, whatever feathers are in the chicken litter go into the hot pile and they are gone in 3 months or so. Compost eventually gives life to the soil that grows the greens for my chickie-girls to eat. Love it when a plan comes together.
ZZsBabiez
Lodi, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 8, 2011
8:09 AM

Post #8298875

I never really noticed.. but I "turn" the earth in my chicken pens to get rid of the feathers, and now that you mention it, I have never dug up a feather! I need to put more in the compost then!
patti47
Lynnwood, WA
(Zone 7a)

January 8, 2011
9:37 AM

Post #8298982

Yes ZZ I had probably 8 inches deep of feathers that disappeared in one year. It was pretty amazing. They are one of the highest nitrogen sources around.
Soferdig
Kalispell, MT
(Zone 4b)

January 19, 2011
1:34 PM

Post #8319251

My chickens are one of my best sources of nitrogen and I use paper shredded, straw, and sawdust for their bedding and when cleaned I compost it and those layers are gone from over-wintering there when I turn the pile in the spring there is nothing but straw that is recognizable all of the millions of feathers are gone.
Kylaluaz
Clinton, WA
(Zone 7b)

January 20, 2011
9:47 PM

Post #8321668

Sorry to go off topic for a moment, but hey, Soferdig, I am remembering it was in this Compost forum I met you, posting Poetry on the Compost Pile! LOL! That was fun.
Kylaluaz
Clinton, WA
(Zone 7b)

January 20, 2011
9:49 PM

Post #8321672

...and back to the feathers topic, this is just one more reason I regret living in a place where the covenant states No Farm Animals. Hearing about people's chicken compost... *sigh*
patti47
Lynnwood, WA
(Zone 7a)

January 21, 2011
10:32 AM

Post #8322467

For those of you in the area, the feather place is in Marysville. The stuff I picked was their "garbage". They make down items and the feathers are unwanted.
Soferdig
Kalispell, MT
(Zone 4b)

January 21, 2011
10:44 PM

Post #8323575

I too, loved to ryme in the poo
For all our place, is garden space
And with manure we can all concur
Our plants shine because of the slime.

patti47
Lynnwood, WA
(Zone 7a)

January 22, 2011
4:37 AM

Post #8323692

I like to think of it this way Sofer-gold in, gold out.
kmom246
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)

January 22, 2011
1:07 PM

Post #8324427

I'm actually running a "warm" pile this winter. It's hovering just around 100-110 *F. Probably temps in the 20*F range are cooling it down at night, and temps in the 50's during the day are helping it warm up. The feathers from a month ago are gone. The litter is still burning off amonia, but it's a deep brown and I'd be hard pressed to identify chickie poo or home vegitation in it at this point (although the wood shavings are still well identifiable).
Soferdig
Kalispell, MT
(Zone 4b)

January 23, 2011
10:25 AM

Post #8325927

My pile freezes in the minus' so despite molasses and perfect n:c ratio I have to be patient during winter. Though this end of feb I will use hot water to jump start.

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