Monday, April 26, 2010

Green Poop and Other Compost Thoughts...

Now that there are just two of us to cook for we don't generate the amount of kitchen waste we did when all 3 girls (not chickens!) were at home. Sadly that makes for slim pickings for the hens. When there isn't much to offer them I cook up a batch of oatmeal and raisins with a little cat food thrown in or a pot of rice and it gets scarfed down by appreciative chickens.

I've always been a recycler with a compost bin and in recent years have kept worms, with only mixed success at not murdering them. I'm on my umpteenth batch of red worms and they are happily chomping away in the can-o-worms in the basement, so far alive for 2 months.

Lately it's been harder for me to watch food being wasted both at restaurants and in the supermarket. This drives Naomi crazy. It's bad enough I bring home the restaurant scraps from everyone's plate at the table, but now I want to go into the kitchen with a big bucket and scrape plates for an hour to give my hens the scraps. Of course I can't do that (though I'm not sure why - social isolation, divorce, etc?). I fantasize about a retirement business where I gather all this waste and generate wonderful compost, with or without the worms' help.

To solve this problem and give my girls a more balanced diet after laying pellets and yard treats I contacted the owner of a local restaurant in town, The Organic Cafe, and asked if I might get some scraps periodically. They could not have been nicer and I was give permission to go through their compost bin (yes, they separate out all compost!) and take what I want. So now, a couple of times a week, I trudge the few blocks from my house with my 5 gallon bucket and rubber gloves or barbecue tongs and go through the wonderfully fresh pickings.

It's been a field day lately - sprouts, avocados, lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, some kind of grain and more. And the girls are thrilled. But there's just one problem....green poop... When I saw it yesterday in the yard all flattened out I had no idea what I was looking at. But as I walked around the yard there they were...dark green blobs. Not to be too graphic but I do pay attention to chicken poop as it's a good way to monitor the girls' health. So what's with all the green stuff? I looked back in my compost bucket and yes, there's a fair amount of guacamole, but enough to cause this? I eat avocado but I never had a color problem!

Everyone seems fine so I'm not going to worry....the eggs looked normal yesterday though Hazel had some trauma when she was forced out of the nesting box by Gertrude, but that's another story... more later.