Composting Poultry

Prof.Dr. S.T.Moubarak

How do we get from HERE


Photo by WSU


Introduction • An acceptable system of disposal for dead birds is essential to any well run poultry farm operation. Moreover. but fluctuations up to 0. . There are generally two categories of disposal problems: • (1) Normal mortality.25 percent per day are not uncommon. which is typically about 0. law requires that poultry producers have an approved means for disposing of dead birds.1 percent per day. and • (2) Whole flock disposal.

.• Composting is a natural process in which beneficial organisms--bacteria and fungi-reduce and transform organic wastes into a useful end product--compost--which can be used as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Such cases require special permission and supervision. • Composting is not recommended for whole flock disposal cases.

Composting Composting is a biological process that utilizes thermophilic microorganisms to degrade organic matter into humus-like material called: compost. .

• Similar to natural decay but faster due to better control of conditions.Composting Facts • Compost: stable organic material with earthy smell. • Microorganisms convert less stable organic material into compost. .

• Safer & easier to handle vs. • Can kill fly eggs and weed seeds. • Good soil amendment.Composting Benefits • Can generate revenues. raw waste. .

Composting Benefits • Amount reduced by 25 to 50%. • Less nitrate concern in forage. . • Greater forage palatability. • Apply more per acre due to lower N content.

3. Aeration Moisture content Carbon/Nitrogen ratio Temperature Time Porosity.Factors Affecting Composting Process 1. pH or acidity level . structure. 6. texture & particle size 7. 2. 5. 4.

The process depends upon microorganisms which utilize decomposable organic waste both as an energy and food source.Principles of Composting • Composting is a controlled biological decomposition process that converts organic matter to a stable. humuslike product. .

• In addition. and which is a poor breeding substrate for flies and other insects. . the volume and weight of the composted product is less than that of the original raw waste (25 – 50 % Less) because composting converts much of the carbonaceous material to gaseous carbon dioxide.Principles of Composting • The composting process converts a material with potential odor and other nuisance problems into a stabilized product that is reasonably odor and pathogen free.

• The "controlled" nature of composting distinguishes it from other natural processes such as rotting and putrefaction. because of the reduced volume and weight.Principles of Composting • Heat generated during the process destroys pathogenic organisms and weed seeds that might be present in the raw waste. and helps to drive off moisture. hauling and spreading costs are less than that required for the raw wastes. • In turn. .

Poor aeration causes anaerobic activity (smell) • Too much aeration cools compost (bad) .Principles of Composting Aeration • • • • • Supplies oxygen Removes excessive heat & moisture Reduces packing Turn. force air. or chimney effect.

Anaerobic • 50 % or below ----------.60% • At 70 % -------------.slow down . • Ideal -----------. aerobic systems are preferred because they are faster and produce fewer odors and other objectionable features.Principles of Composting Moisture content • will largely determine whether the process will be "anaerobic" (without oxygen) or "aerobic" (with oxygen) • For dead bird disposal.

more water: MC too high . of water MC (%)   100 Total wet water: MC too low .Moisture content Wt. • Crude method: Squeeze compost ball in hand .only 1-2 drops: MC is just right .

Just Right MC .

Too High MC .

or other bulking agent. litter.Principles of Composting Moisture content • High moisture level can be controlled when working with a wet waste by using a little extra straw. . • Low moisture contents are increased by sprinkling the pile with a measured amount of water.

$100 Reotemp ‘moisture meter’.com) Moisture meter from Grainger.Moisture content (cont.) Reotemp ‘backyard moisture meter’.reotem p. $40 (www. $150 for 4-ft stem .

• If the C:N ratio is less than 25:1. and nitrogen is then lost as ammonia.Principles of Composting The carbon:nitrogen ratio (C:N) Microbes require different proportions of C & N • Carbon:nitrogen ratios of 15:1 to 35:1 are acceptable. • When the C:N ratio exceeds 30:1. organisms cannot utilize all of the nitrogen available. the rate of composting decreases. .

Some C/N Ratios Source Averag Range e Horse manure (& bedding) Broiler litter Swine waste Saw dust Grain straw Grass clippings Non-legume Hay 30 22-50 14 14 442 80 17 32 12-15 9-19 200-750 48-150 9-25 Source: NRAES 54 .

.Principles of Composting Temperature • Temperature is a good indicator of biological activity in the compost pile.

and microbial activity all influence temperature. .Temperature • MC.7 – 65. oxygen. thermophilic microbes should begin to dominate. and then begins to decrease. These organisms prefer a temperature of 100 degrees F to 150 degrees F. (37. the pile should be turned to incorporate oxygen into the compost. Two or three days after wastes are mixed and placed in piles.5 C) • As the temperature peaks.

Temperature Previous research suggests that Avian Influenza virus can be inactivated at 140oF (60oC) in 10 minutes or 133oF (56oC) in 15 to 20 minutes (Senne et al. 1994). • Regulations: Need 131 F (55 C) for 15 days (windrow) or 3 days (static pile or in-vessel) for pathogen reduction in Type 3 (manure) facilities .

Temperature Source: National Engineering Handbook .

Temperature Source: National Engineering Handbook .

and infrequent aeration. management.Time • Depends on many factors. including method. source material. . high C/N. • Composting delayed by dry material. cold weather. • Composting faster with proper moisture content and C/N and frequent aeration. and weather.

Impact of source and method on composting time Source: NRAES-54 .

in size compost faster . grinding or mixing • Amendments (e.g. lime) or bulking agents can improve properties • Particles 1/8 to 1/2 in..Porosity. structure. texture & particle size • All influence aeration • Adjust by selection of raw materials.

Neutral (7).5-8 pH • pH changes due to chemical changes • Properly done compost close to neutral • Take care while adding lime to increase pH .pH or acidity • pH (0-14): Acidic (less than 7). Basic or alkaline (more than 7) • Composting good near 6.

or if they are not provided in the proper proportion to one another. nitrogen (N).Principles of Composting Summary • The essential elements for the microorganisms involved in composting are carbon (C). the microorganisms will not flourish and generate adequate heat for decomposition. and wood shavings are 300-700:1. peanut hulls 50:1. • These nutrients are best supplied from an ingredient profile that has a carbon to nitrogen ratio of approximately 30:1. Birds have a C:N ratio of 5:1. straw 80:1. oxygen (O2) and moisture (H2O). • If any of these elements are lacking. . litter ranges from 7:1 to 25:1.

prevents vermin and pests from burrowing under the compost. . • The roof helps maintain appropriate moisture levels within the compost. and makes cleanup of the facility easier. • The concrete slab helps prevent leaching of nutrients into the soil.Composter Construction and Layout • A typical poultry mortality composter consists of various sized bins constructed of treated lumber set on a concrete slab with a roof overhead.

For every 1 pound of dead bird.• The size of a composter is typically based on the size of the poultry operation. . An equal amount of space is required for the secondary stage. 1 cubic foot of primary compost space is needed.

• Normally these small bin composters will be 6-8 feet wide by 5 feet high and 5 feet deep. • Moving the material from the primary bin to the secondary bin after 10 to 21 days is common for small bin type composters to mix in oxygen in the mass to promote additional heating. .

Composting Bin .








Troubleshooting .

Improper Temperature Probable Cause Suggestions 1.1. 2. Improper C:N ratio. Evaluate bulking material and adjust as necessary. . Add bulking material and turn the pile. Add water. 3. 4. 4. 1. Layer ingredients appropriately. Too dry. 2. Improper mixing of ingredients. Too wet. 3.

3. Maintain 6 to 10 inches between carcasses and the edges of the pile.2. Evaluate bulking materials and adjust as necessary. 1. 2. 3. Carcasses layered too thickly. Single layer the carcasses. 2. . Carcasses on outside edges of the pile. Failure to Decompose Probable Cause Suggestions 1. Improper C:N ratio.

2. Evaluate bulking materials and adjust as necessary. Cover (cap off) with 8 to 10 inches of bulking material. Odor Probable Cause Suggestions 1. 1. Add bulking material and turn.3. 2. Too wet. Improper C:N ratio. Inadequate cover over carcasses. . 3. 3.

Flies Probable Cause Suggestions 1.4. 3. 2. Inadequate cover over carcasses. Turn pile and add bulking material. . 1. Cover (cap off) with 10 to 12 inches of bulking material. 3. Failure to reach proper temperature. 2. Assess C:N ratio and layering. Too wet (leaching).

1.5. Scavenging Animals Probable Cause Suggestions 1. Avoid initial entry with a fence or barrier. . Cover (cap off) with 8 to 10 inches of bulking material. Inadequate cover over carcasses.

Some Common Management Errors Observed in Compost Piles A Too much moisture will lead to flies. D Leaching from the pile can cause odors and flies. . B Low temperatures result in failure to decompose. C Carcasses on the outside edges will result in failure to decompose.

Conclusions • Composting a feasible waste management strategy • Can help generate farm revenues • Provides environmental benefits • Requires management .

Ritz and J. Poultry Mortality Composting Management Guide. – USDA – United States Department of Agriculture – WSU – Washington State University * Unmarked photographs provided by author. Georgia 1997. Kansas State University. 2004. – National Resources Conservation Service: Technical Guide Section IV. Composting Poultry Carcasses. – S. University of Georgia Extension Bulletin 1266. 2005. Carcass Disposal: A comprehensive review. Ahmed. Kalbasi. NCR-530. C. Noll. Chapter 3: Composting. Purdue University. National Agricultural Biosecurity Center. . A. Mukhtar. and A. Flegal and S.W. Adams.References – D. – C. Worley.W.