Turning compost pile a bit difficult

I have a compost pile, which is comprised of chicken manure, old leaves (which I use as litter in the chicken coop, so they are well mixed with manure), and some grass clippings. All good so far. My problem is that most compost pile information websites recommend turning over compost, and it is quite difficult as it is heavy and stuck together. Is turning over really essential?
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Ignoramus27199 wrote:

There are two kinds of decomposition that take place in compost: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic decomposition is quicker and results in compost that smells like good soil. Anaerobic decomposition may take a couple of years and in the meantime may release disagreeable odors (but probably won't unless you disturb it). (The disagreeable odors are more common to compost piles heavy in nitrogen, e.g. from grass clippings and chicken manure).
Aerobic decomposition requires air, which is what the compost gets when you turn the compost pile. If you don't turn it you get anaerobic decomposition. Also, if you have a lot of leaves in the pile, not turning the pile may result in a lot of leaves at the bottom not getting the air and moisture they need to decompose, so after a couple of years you still have leaves at the bottom of the pile instead of compost.
Turning the pile is not absolutely necessary, but it makes the process much more effective and so you get more useable (better quality) compost.
Labor saving tip:
You don't have to turn it all at once. Since you have chickens, you have an ongoing source of compostable material. Make yourself three compost piles, a new one and an old one and a finished one. Whenever you deposit a load of material onto the new pile, take an equal amount from the top of the old pile and add it. When you get toward the bottom of the old pile you will probably have pretty good compost. That then becomes your finished pile. Your old compost then gets turned at least once, which is better than not at all. When you declare your old pile finished, start the third pile, which is then the new pile, and the old new pile becomes the old pile. You can then rotate the 3 piles and they get turned and the workload isn't excessive. The 3 piles will probably take up less space than one pile that never gets turned. (The good stuff on that kind of pile will be on the bottom, so you have to move the whole pile to get at it.) PS: use up the finished pile so that you have a place to start a new pile when your old pile is a finished pile.
(Well, OK, you haven't really saved any labor since you moved the whole pile either way, but spreading it out this way it doesn't seem so bad).
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thanks for your thoughtful post. I think that I will try to buy a garden fork (?), it could become easier with it as opposed to a shovel. Yes, I would like this to turn into complete compost by next spring, as well as stay warm over the winter.
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Ignoramus27199 wrote:

You can't count on it staying warm over the winter. Once the composting process is done, there is no more heat generated. However, winter won't hurt it.
Since you have chickens that presumably supply material over the winter as well as the summer, the new pile will probably stay warm, but the old pile may cool off. A small pile could even freeze, but if the dimensions are more than a couple of feet, the inside will probably stay unfrozen.
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well, if composting is done, then I do not care if the pile is cool.

Makes sense, thanks.-- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- @ @ @ Please forgive my typos as my right hand is injured. @ @ @ char*p="char*p=%c%s%c;main()";main()         "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."
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On 11 May 2004 13:50:39 GMT, Ignoramus27199

No. But, turning does help speed the process and makes your compost more uniform. You are very fortunate to have a supply of chicken manure.
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thanks
See my chicken at
http://igor.chudov.com/tmp/son /
They live in a 34 or so cubic feet area in my shed, at shoulder level.
We feed them boiled and mashed kitchen leftovers, mostly. Also, one Russian deli gives us various unused meat cuts for free, which I grind in a meat grinder and add to the mashed chicken food.
They produce probably about 1.5-2 lbs of manure per day. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- @ @ @ Please forgive my typos as my right hand is injured. @ @ @ char*p="char*p=%c%s%c;main()";main()         "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."
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On 11 May 2004 13:50:39 GMT, Ignoramus27199

The heat of composting materials is generated in the center of the pile. Composting of the center will take place if the pile isn't turned, but the outside edges will contain uncomposted materials and one thing you don't want is live weed seeds that find their way to the edges of the pile.
One method of turning is to have side by side bins so the compost can be shoveled from one bin to another. My personal favorite is a barrel composter, but I'm reduced to buying mine from the city's recycle center. I wish you the best of luck with your efforts.
Regards,
Hal
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