How Some Animals Can Help Compost

Some scavengers can speed up the composting process by converting organic matter (food) into manure.  Manure tends to have a high nitrogen content, moisture, smaller fragments that break down quickly and microorganisms. Good scavengers for the backyard composting include pigeons, rabbits and chickens.  Pigeons eat seeds and produce manure with a very high nitrogen content.  Rabbits chew on sticks to sharpen their teeth and eat plant material.  They can process both kitchen scraps and most yard wastes. Their dung can be used directly in the garden, but their urine needs to be processed in the compost pile to avoid burning plants.  When I have rabbits, I train them to use litter boxes filled with organic litter. The used litter makes an excellent addition to my compost piles.

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Chipper, the rabbit, was “employed” for his ability to convert yard wastes and kitchen scraps into dung and urine for my compost pile.  He also provided good companionship.  Here he is entertaining my late grandmother, Juanita Dellavalle.

Chickens are omnivores.  They eat insects, mice, arachnids, kitchen scraps, greens, fruits, seeds, etc.  They produce manure that increases the nitrogen content of compost.  Chickens also do a good job of digging through the compost and turning it for you.


Leaf and Apricot convert kitchen scraps to manure and check for pests that need to be eaten.  By digging through the compost, they increase the oxygen content that microorganisms need.

Hens provide a bonus of eggs for breakfast.



About Caliche Chick

I retired from a career as an Environmental Scientist and Botanist. My first career was teaching science and English as a Second Language (ESL), and content classes for ESL students at the middle school level. I also taught introductory biology at the community college level. I have an avid interest in plants that grow with little to no irrigation. I also keep a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and back yard chickens. When I am not in my yard, I am taking Construction Technology Classes at Victor Valley College and working on my "fixer upper" home.
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