Composting food waste

Much of our food waste I give to my chickens, but some (mostly vegetable scraps) I do not. Those, I would like to somehow compost. I already have a compost pile for chicken bedding (leaves and grass), more leaves and grass. I am reluctant to throw food stuff in that pile due to raccoons and other pests.
For now, I decided to simply dump these wastes into a garbage bin with a nice closeable lid that cannot be removed by raccoons, hopeing that it will rot in time, and that then I will add it to the compost pile when it finally rots. I read exciting things about worm composting, is it worth the trouble?
Or, maybe, I can store food scraps in the bin, and when I turn over the pile, I would dump them into the middle of the pile?
i
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Ignoramus15978 wrote:

Why not give the veggie scraps to the chickens?
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Travis in Shoreline Washington

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I don't think they eat them...
i
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They do.
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This is what I do, I store the kitchen scraps in a can until they rot, then add them to the compost pile. The rodent and raccoon situation has noticeably improved compared to when I added them directly to the compost. I also add some brown material (leaves or wood chips), it does three things: kitchen scraps compost is a bit too strong fir plants, and specially the leaves mellow it, the brown material absorbs the excess nitrogen, so the compost is more fertile, and it strongly reduces bad smell. The only con is that this way the trash can needs emptying thrice as often.
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Both answers are correct.
1. Toss the vegetable scraps in the chicken run. They will peck and scratch through the scraps they like. The scraps will dehydrate and mix with chicken litter, and when you scoop it up for the compost pile, the scraps will be integrated. We did this for years. It was a happy solution.
2. Scoop a hole in the compost pile, dump in the vegetable scraps, and cover with compost. The scraps will quickly begin breaking down. If everything is enclosed inside the bin, the racoon invasion should be minor, as long as the scraps are covered.
3. Letting the scraps accumulate in a closed container is the least desirable option. They will not have a chance to dehydrate, and you'll wind up with a sloppy rotten stinking mess.
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Reply to: allen-at-graybyrd.net

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On 2 Jun 2004 17:21:44 GMT, Ignoramus15978

why do you not give the vegetable scraps to the chickens? They LOVE greens and they are sort of piranha with feathers, they'll eat anything pretty much. Saw a silver lace wyandott hen chase down a mouse, nab the sucker and swallow it whole, head first! Just one step up from the reptiles they came from! ;-)
They'll eat and process anything you give them (short of avocado, fat, chocolate, and pineapple I'd skip those since those were no-nos for other birds). Then you wouldn't need to worry about it stinking in a can, or raccoons getting it, and the beta carotene in the veggies will make the yolks darker in the eggs! They love your garden weeds and thinnings too. Skip the nightshade and other poisonous weeds and tomatoes and potatoes and rhubarb leaves of course!
Janice

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Food waste :
I collect food scraps from my local organic shop and throw it all at the chickens as well as the household scraps, (saves me buying chicken food) like Graybyrd states, the chickens will either eat it or scratch it into the ground.
As I move my chickens around the garden beds in what is called a 'chook tractor' (permaculture design) this works very well and gives me a no dig garden. (even better) I also rake up the left over scraps when the pen is moved and throw them on the compost pile.
Alternatively, go for the worms, which I also keep. They will devour food scraps. You end up with worm liquid (amazing fertilizer) and worm castings, (amazing potting mix) I feed the worms the food I know the chickens wont eat unless they are cooked into a mash, (ie corn leaves, potatoes, carrots etc.)
I made my own worm box. Holes on the underside of the box, under which a tray sits to collect the worm liquid, and a flap at the bottom of the box to pull the casting out from. A lid at the top place the worm food in. Very easy.
I like this worm site its full of information about keeping worms. (not that it is that hard. You dont feed them citrus onion/garlic/chilli or meat otherwise pretty much anything goes) http://www.squirmy-worms.com/index.html
In autum I start cooking the food scraps up in an old pan, which I feed to the chickens. The warm food keeps them laying a little longer coming into the winter months. They will also eat scraps such as potato peels if they are boiled up and soft.
P.S Why wont chickens eat avocado ? I'm fairly certain mine do. I know I feed it too them on occassions from the collected organic matter form the shop. I haven't watched closely to see if they actually eat it, it may be part of the compost rot i rake up or gets scratched into the bed.
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Chickens do eat potatoes, peels or whole (especially if they're starting to go soft, ie rubbery). There is no need to boil them first. Same goes for carrots.
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They're toxic to hook bill birds, and I figure they aren't going to be good for other birds either. I didn't see any definitive reason other than they're toxic and they're not sure which part is the problem but since most of them that eat them die, why push it with others.
Janice

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