Posted: 08/05/2014 at 13:33
Harriet 3, the real secret of good compost is pile it high and make it hot, bins will do the job over a period of time but one or two large bins will be better. I have two one to load one to use, they are made of wood and tall, side by side one will help heat the other though turning aerating and damping the compost once a month is the key.
Brought up on a small holding with animals everything went into a huge brick midden and my job was get in there and turn it, when you could take a handful and it was dark crumbly and smelt nice then it was ready to use.
A hot box is a different matter, My Father used them and would prepare in early January to bring on soft fruits and salad stuff also to start his seeds in boxes. I do not think chicken poo will work, we built the box put bales of straw in the base piled it high with raw horse manure, hot and steaming, more straw bales then a covering of well riddled garden soil, no compost in sacks back then. He had glass frames for covering part or all of the hot box and it worked. If you have the room think big for compost, Monty on GW has four in a row he shreds all the material then as it rots he throws it from box one into two then on until he has that lovely compost he uses from the last box although sometimes some of the rough stuff can be used as mulch.
Hope this helps, Frank.