A Composting Disaster

Not everything about this happy hippy lifestyle that I like to think I live, is a walk in the park. It’s not all smiles and kumbaya’s.  Our plants get eaten, our chickens don’t lay and sometimes, rarely, the bread doesn’t rise.

Our most recent bad experience was the worst yet.  It had me dry retching in the chook pen. Even now, to type, I have to take a deep breath to get those horrible memories of that day out of my head.

The smell was all consuming, I could taste it, I could feel it in the back of my throat.  The chook poo tea was a disaster.

We got this bright idea after buying horse poo liquid fertilizer from a girl up the road, where we buy the manure to dig into our garden beds.  She had it for sale for $2.50, presented in nice plastic bottles on her roadside stall.  There was no bad smell surrounding her poo tea.

So we cleaned out the chicken coop, put all the poo into a big bucket and filled it up with water.  We left it for weeks, stirring only occasionally, avoiding the inevitable.

The inevitable being, straining, collecting and using the foul smelling potion.

It wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined… IT WAS WORSE!

Armed with gardening gloves, a hose and each other, J and I got to it.  Pouring the rank liquid and it’s sunken solids through some shade cloth to retain the liquid gold was and a smelly, hair raising nightmare. After filling up the two containers that we had saved from the horse poo tea, we were stumped as to what to do next with the rotten water.

The only solution was to use it on everything that we had just planted. We used (wasted) two buckets of this liquid fertiliser watering again and again what we had just planted (it had better do the trick).

When I was just about ready to wash the stink from everything, I felt some drops land on my face.  I HAD POO WATER ON MY FACE!  To which J happily responded, “Now I can call you poo-face”.

I quickly finished rinsing everything, all the while wishing that it would rain, so that the stink could be washed from our garden, and then went to wash myself off.

It was an experiment we will not be trying again. Instead we have covered the chook pen, about 10cm deep with pea-straw.  This way, the chickens will work for us, not only giving us eggs but also making our compost.


34 thoughts on “A Composting Disaster

  1. Oh that does sound horrific. Many years ago we bought horse poo for a new garden we were planting. A 5-acre property near us used to put bags of horse manure at their front gate and you could buy them for $2.00. I bought about six bags and brought them home in the car with the windows down all the way. When I planted the garden I tied a t-towel over my face because of the smell. My husband was furious thinking I should have just bought ordinary fertiliser from the gardening shop that wouldn’t have the smell. But when it was all finished, you have never seen plants take off like it. They grew so quickly everyone kept asking us for the secret. xx

    1. We’ve always put manure on our garden beds. It’s amazing isn’t it! The plants love you for it, your soil turns into this amazing rich fertile soil and the vegetables just take off! I’m looking forward to see if our plants reap the benefits of our hard work.

  2. I am proper LOL’ing!



    Oh dear lord, i woulda laughed SO hard!!!!!

    So back to just buying peoples horse poo for fertiliser then and leaving the tea for someone else !?

  3. im sorry Clare, but bahahahahahah! Thanks for the laugh, chook poo tea!
    “Now i can call you poo face” !!! 😀

    I actually use pellets, as even the thought of the smell of poo through the garden makes me gag.

  4. Hilarious… Got the giggles up reading this! My other half looking at me oddly as I chuckling at the screen. I had a similar (but no where near as bad as yours) experience making a garlic spray to deter caterpillars etc. I certainly did not want to see anymore garlic. my hands stunk and not a caterpillar was seen on my hands for a week at least! Still had grubs on the plants though 🙁

    1. Oh need to get on to making some garlic spray too. The poo tea was a nightmare but I’ve got some great tips and may give it another go yet!

  5. Icccky. Chook poo really does smell quite unpleasant, I think composting is definitely the way forward….

  6. Gosh youve got some lovely readers Clare. Laughing at you. How Rude but inevitable because i am cacking myself. Love the discription and i have a sneaking suspicion i would like J.

    1. Lynda, even now, after getting over the smell, I can’t help but laugh. It was so stinky!

    1. Yeah Jas, and I hope I’m never in a situation to be able to be called it literally again!

    1. I really hope it does go crazy! I can’t wait to come home and see all of our seeds flourishing!

  7. The best way to do the pooh-thing, is to use a big bucket with a tap at the bottom. Then you use as much as you want, well diluted with more water (chicken poo is extremely strong) and use that on your plants. I would say once a week will be enough. Then just keep on filling up the bucket to draw more tea. Best manure ever! And will not make you gag. If you really want to get sick, try tea made with crushed eggshells. Man, that’s smelly!!

  8. “Armed with gardening gloves, a hose and each other, J and I got to it” I was almost too scared to know what happened next!!!

  9. Aaaahhh that sounds horrendous!! But at least you gave it a go!!! Was the chook poo tea okay for your plants? I would have thought it might be a bit too acidic or something.
    I make worm tea from my worm farm- there’s no smell or anything and it gets rid of all my houses’ food waste. The best bit is that there is a tap on the farm so it just flows out into a bucket- no waste.

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