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Hi All,

I have a couple of feather pillows that are coming to the end of their useful life. If I don't do it all at once, can I add the feathers slowly to the compost heap?

Calendula

You could, but I would imagine they would take a very long time to decompose

Yes feathers are fine to use in the compost head so long as they are well mixed in with other organic matter.  

Thanks guys. I'll compost them very slowly then.

figrat
I've done this, and yes, does take some time to break down. Bloke persuaded me to cut his hair at the weekend, I put that in the compost bin, much to his horror. There's a big clump of it right on the top, looks like I've buried him alive in there...

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Haha. I'm told that urine helps break down compost more quickly. Anyone want to admit to tryint that? Does it work?

figrat
Well I've tried it. I think it did make a wee bit of difference.

Ouch. I guess it is sterile when it first comes out - it's only after it's hit the air that it starts being icky. Not sure I'm going to be caught lugging old milk bottles of wee up to the allotment though...

Green Magpie

'Course not, Sandra, no need to lug bottles. All you have to do is climb up on top of the heap and allow it to benefit from your nitrogenous waste. We'll all look the other way!

Haha - I could put a seat up there and everything. Maybe an old Punch and Judy Booth around it for privacy...

diggingdoris

I add some to my bin about once a month. I use a bucket so that the neighbours don't know what I'm doing. It seems to help make some good compost, I'm sure it's better stuff since I started doing it 2 years ago. I also put in  hair clippings when I cut hubbies hair and when I brush the dog. The smelly water from vases is full of good bacteria , and I read that the water veg has been cooked in helps break down as well. So I do all these.

That sounds really good, especially for home heaps. Thing is, mine's on my allotment, a good, stout walk up a very highly populated hill. Might try anyway...

backyardee

If you soak a cushion's worth of feathers in a bucket of water for a couple of months, the resultant liquid is a good form of nitrogen, strain off and feed to whatever at the same rate to water as comfrey tea. the resultant mush can be either used as a mulch around border plants, or added to the compost. They break down easier.   Empty contents of cushion into a bucket or bag it in net, and hold down with a piece of net and a brick. or if in a net bag then obviously just a brick. DO ON A STILL DAY.

I have always found that feathers compost very quickly and I have persuaded my husband to visit the compost bin once a week to "water" it and i do think it makes a difference.

P.S.  sorry I forgot to add that I soak the feathers in rain water for an hour or 2 before I add them to the heap.  It stops them from blowing about and starts the rotting process more quickly.

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Mish2

We make our compost in a similar way to most of you - we also add our shredded paper and loo roll holders - trying to ensure that the ratio is even with the "green".  We've also "made" the liquid plant food from nettles - but not too sure how to deliver the feed - at the roots or over the leaves,!!

backyardee

mish2, Nettle tea can be used as a foliar feed, but as some plants prefer not to get too wet, like toms grown under cover, I would just water the roots.

I make a sort of (rather smelly) tea from nettles , i spray it on everything as a preventative for insects and fungi and pour it on the roots as a  fertiliser.  I get good crops of fruit and veg.  but I still get black spot on roses and some years whitefly is a dreadful problem.

20 years ago I lived in a household where there was a bucket of sawdust kept in the bathroom for blokes to pee in. This added to the nutrient content of the compost heap and also conserved a good deal of water. No problem with smells as long as someone kept up the supply of sawdust.

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