Bin Composting of Daily Broiler Mortality

 
 
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 Composting poultry mortalities has been proven to be a viable disposal option. Most of these composting system designs are based on daily flock mortalities and usually involve covered bin facilities. The following is the current recommended procedure for bin composting daily broiler mortalities.
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1.Choose a building site with good drainage. A concrete or asphalt floor is recommended. An existing shed may be adequate (see the Livestock Diseases Act, Destruction and Disposal of Dead Animal Regulation for location requirements).

No. of bins =
.
weekly mortality (kg) x flock size x weeks composting x
0.0125 m3/kg
________________________
size of bin (m3)

- Broilers:
weekly mortality approximately .007 kg (avg. wt.)
- Roasters:
weekly mortality approximately .013 kg (avg. wt.)
- Typical bin size:
30 to 60 cm wider than front-end loader; 1.2 to 1.5 m front to back; 1.2 to 1.5 m high.
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2.

Spread a 25 to 30 cm deep base of shavings, sawdust, or straw in the bottom of the bin.

3.

Place a single layer of dead birds on the base of shavings, making sure they are at least 23 cm from the outside edges, and that they are about 4 to 5 cm from each other.

4.

Cover this layer of birds with 10 to 15 cm of a substrate of about 1.5 parts (by volume) of poultry manure and 1 part shavings or sawdust (1:1 if using straw). The substrate moisture should be about 50 per cent (free moisture on a glove after squeezing a sample of the substrate, or use a commercial hay moisture probe).

5.

Repeat Step 3 and Step 4 until the bin is full or until 1 to 2 weeks have passed since the first bird was placed.

6.

Cover the last layer of birds with at least 25 cm of substrate to minimize odour and flies.

7.

Leave the bin untouched for the primary composting stage (4 to 6 weeks). Bin temperatures should be monitored and they should reach over 50°C (preferably 55°C for 15 days). If compost temperature falls below 35°C, the bin should be turned.

8.

Empty the primary bin into a secondary bin with a front-end loader. Add water if the moisture content is below 50 per cent. Re-cover the pile with a layer of substrate, especially if body parts are visible. Leave the bin for another 4 to 6 weeks for the secondary composting stage and monitor temperatures.

9.

The bin should be ready to land apply after these primary and secondary treatments. If land application cannot occur immediately, or if body parts are evident, turn the bin contents and allow to cure another 3 to 4 weeks.

Typical bin facilityTypical bin filling technique
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Troubleshooting guide - composting poultry
ProblemCausePossible solution
Temperature too cold
.1. Too wet1a. Mix in substrate.
1b. Protect bin from weather or shape surface to shed water.
2. Low C:N ratio2. Mix in carbon source, e.g., straw, shavings, etc.
3. Too porous3. Mix in sawdust or another small-particle substrate.
4. Insufficient substrate cover4. Add substrate ensuring 30 cm (1 ft) of cover.
5. Too dry5. Add water to bin.
Failure to decompose
.1. Low carbon1. Mix in carbon source, e.g., straw, shavings, etc.
2. Mortalities layered too closely2. Adjust bin ensuring 10 to 15 cm (4 - 6 in) of substrate between layers.
3. Mortalities placed too close together3. Adjust mortalities ensuring they do not touch each other.
4. Mortalities placed too close to the side of the bin4. Adjust bin, ensuring mortalities are placed at least 23 cm (9 in) from the edge of the bin.
5. Lack of oxygen5. Turn bin to add oxygen.
Odour
A.1. Too wet1a. Mix in substrate.
1b. Protect bin from weather or shape surface to shed water.
2. Not enough cover substrate2. Add substrate ensuring 30 cm (1 ft) of cover.
3. Air flow restricted3a. Mix in a larger-particle substrate.
3b. Adjust bin ensuring mortalities are placed at least 29 cm (9 in) from the edge of the bin.
4. Excessive crusting on surface4. Break up crusting on the surface and avoid using substrate that is frozen or too wet.
B.1. Not enough cover substrate1. Add substrate ensuring 30 cm (1 ft) of cover.
2. Too cold2. Follow steps outlines above under "temperature too cold."
C.1. Low carbon1. Mix in carbon source, e.g., straw, shavings, etc.
Flies
.1. Not enough cover substrate1. Add substrate ensuring 30 cm (1 ft) of cover.
2. Poor sanitary conditions2a. Remove leachate from around bin.
2b. Maintain a clean, debris-free area around
compost site.
3. Too cold3. Follow steps outlines above under "temperature too cold."
Animals/Vermin
.1. Inadequate protection1a. Add substrate ensuring 30 cm (1 ft) of cover.
1b. Construct a fence around the site.
1c. Enclose bin structure.

For additional information, see Poultry Mortality Composting, Agdex 450/29-1. Available from Alberta Agriculture Publications Office (Phone 1-800-292-5697) or from Ag-Info Centre (Phone 1-866-882-7677)

Source: Agdex 452/29-1. April 2004.

 
 
 
 
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This information published to the web on April 1, 2004.