Mass Mortality Composting: Turning a Compost Pile


The highly pathogenic avian influenza
outbreak has become the largest animal health emergency in US history. Mass
mortality composting was implemented on the majority of infected poultry
operations during the recent avian influenza outbreaks. Composting is the
controlled biological decomposition process that converts organic matter
into a stable houmous like product and generates temperatures adequate to
destroy most pathogens including the avian influenza virus. Essentially large
windrows are formed by surrounding poultry carcasses and manure with carbon
materials such as wood chips, wood shavings corn stover
or other available carbon. Following windrow construction temperatures are
monitored daily using a long stem thermometer. After windrow evaluation and
approval of the temperature data collected during the initial 14-day
compost cycle the compost is ready for turning The purpose of turning the windrow is to
provide homogenization of the core base and cat materials while exposing the
microorganisms to additional oxygen through pile aeration during. Windrow
turning other factors such as compost moisture
content can be observed and corrected if needed. The turning process results in
increased microbial activity a rise in pile temperature and accelerated carcass
degradation There are several different options
available depending on the location of the windrow. A space of at least 25 feet
in length should be left open at the end of the poultry house. Using skid loaders
with high-capacity buckets work in tandem from each side of the windrow
moving material to the open area at the end of the house when turning compost
cascade material from the loader to provide for proper mixing and aeration.
Windrows must maintain adequate porosity and structure after turning. A space of
at least 25 feet in length should be left open at the end of the poultry
house. Starting at the end of the windrow scoop up all compost turn the Machine
around and drop the mixture forming a new wind row again the material needs to
be turned in a manner that provides maximum aeration. We have to remember
that in the process where you get air through the bottom so it’s important
when you’re turning whatever you’re using not to actually run along the edge
of the pile so you’re compressing the edge of the policy you can still
continue to get the airflow into the pile use a small dozer to push or roll over
Windrose this method requires building the original windrow off-center to allow
space to turn the pile. A skilled operator is necessary to avoid damaging
the equipment and building this procedure is only feasible in larger
houses with open space and high ceilings larger equipment can be utilized
outdoors due to increased space articulated loaders or dozers move
larger amounts of compost material more efficiently than skid loaders as with
in-house windrow turning the newly-formed windrow must maintain
adequate structure for proper air flow materials should be turned in a manner
to allow for proper mixing and aeration mechanical compost Turner’s can be used
to thoroughly mix compost windrows these may include tractor attached Turner’s or
straddle type Turner’s in either case windrows should be spaced far enough
apart to allow the tractor and Turner to operate large units are required when
turning 12 to 15 foot wide windrows if you’re gonna use a mechanical Turner’s
such as a TMR wagon or a mechanical pull behind or a straddle turner there’s some
mechanical advantages to that one is that you will get some particle
reduction and breaking up clumps within the pile so that you get again a more
homogenized material into the pile and that you get air
I threw out the pile and you get less anaerobic pockets in those piles so it’s
the the TMR wagon has is usually some type of auger system that’s breaking up
and a tag-along or a straddle you have teeth and the nice thing about the
Tagalongs is that they also form a nice parabolic windrow system so that you get
the formation of windrow that you want for good airflow
and good decomposition process turning wind rose allows for thorough mixing of
the carbon material carcasses and manure and promotes a more ideal blend of
carbon and nitrogen for optimum composting turning should occur after
the initial 14-day compost cycle in which soft tissue decomposition has
taken place wind Rose should only be turned after proper evaluation of
temperature data by a subject matter expert
if soft tissue is observed on the windrow surface after turning additional
carbon material should be applied as a cap following established protocols for
turning compost Windrose results in increased microbial activity
temperatures and carcass degradation during the second 14-day compost cycle

1 thought on “Mass Mortality Composting: Turning a Compost Pile

  1. Hi where could I get a recipe for composting chickens with cow manure, straw, wood chips, and chicken litter? How many pounds of each? Thanks

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