Chicken, Compost, and Green House Responsibilities at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley

Published July 18, 2016 | Updated August 4, 2016
Subject: Professional Development
Place of Learning: Garden
Resource Type: Program Management
Uploaded by:
Kyle Cornforth
Program Affiliations:

This resource describes proceedures for maintaining chickens, a compost system, and a green house at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley.

Chicken Responsibilities

Daily Chicken Responsibilities

In the morning open coop and add 1 scoop (if needed) of feed pellets to the dispenser (breakfast).

At the end of the day, clean and refill the duck water bin with fresh water. Clean out
automatic watering station located in the far left hand corner of the coop.

Have student(s) collect fresh eggs. Have the student(s) take the eggs back to the kitchen. Eggs should be gently washed, dried, and stored appropriately. The date should be written on each egg collected, before storing, using only a pencil. No marker or pen. Garden staff can delegate this task to a student, or do it themselves.

Weekly Chicken Responsibilities

Using appropriate tools (leaf rake, large scoop shovel, hoe, wheel barrel and gloves), scrape and remove chicken manure. These areas include concrete slabs, the top of the feed bins, on the top of any surface where the chickens sit and from inside the roosting house. Scrape out the inside of the roosting house with the hoe. The roosting house has a wooden latch at the bottom that allows the floor to drop out for cleaning purposes. Use the shovel as a dustpan to scoop up the manure piles. Discard the manure into the wheel barrel.

Rake all loose straw from the ground and discard consolidated piles into the wheel
barrel. Take the contents of the wheel barrel and add it to the newest compost pile.
Replace the sandy floor area with fresh straw as needed.

Check the status of the laying boxes. Check for any broken eggs or manure. If any laying boxes are dirty, remove the straw bedding and replace with fresh straw. This task should be ongoing and checked regularly and addressed when needed.

Monthly Chicken Responsibilities

Check the status of the feed bins (corn and pellets). If bins are ¾ or more empty,
remove the remaining feed into a clean bucket or wheel barrel. Bring up a new bag(s) of feed from the lower shed and empty contents into designated bins. Top off with older feed. Using a hose, with a high-pressure nozzle. Blast these areas with water to remove any unwanted dirt or crusted over manure.

• Both concrete slabs.
• The wall between the duck watering station and roosting house
• The roof and side of the roosting house.
• The small space on the floor between the feed bins and the fencing.
• Sprinkle some water on the ground where the straw sits.
• The cob webs

Check the coop for any holes in the fencing. If any holes or rips are noticed, new wire mesh (found in the lower shed) can be cut to shape and attached with baling wire for strong repair. This helps keep out unwanted rodents.

Compost Responsibilities


We use three methods of composting in the Edible Schoolyard garden: hot piles,
vermiculture, and leaf mold.

Hot Piles

• Minimum pile size is 3’x3’x3’
• Pound in 4 stakes to be outline of pile, build cake
• Layers: coarse, woody material on the bottom, then add alternating layers of
greens (food scraps, and/or green leafy material from the garden) and browns
(straw and/or various dry materials).
• A 30:1 carbon to nitrogen works best when building a compost pile. With this
ratio the pile reaches it’s peak temperature the fastest and cooks the longest.
With a 30:1 ratio the pile should heat up inside of 3 day with an ideal
temperature window between 130-160 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be
challenging sometimes to find the right ratio; typically there’s too much
carbon and not enough nitrogen. If this is the case extra nitrogen can be
added in several ways;
   o add a direct source of nitrogen in the form of blood meal or feather
meal, ect.
   o students can also gather leafy green materials from the garden in the
form of grass clippings and/or plants that need pulling out.
• As the temperature of the pile dips below 100 degrees turn the pile, in the
process adding air and water. Decomposition happens at it’s fastest when
things are moist. The pile should again heat up above 100 degrees.
• The oldest pile is sifted through a screen to remove any sticks, rocks or uncomposted materials before it is ready to be added to garden beds (either
directly or it can be stored in a storage bin until it’s needed in the garden).
What’s left behind from the sifting process gets added back to the first pile to
continue breaking down.
• General cleanup of area. Raking up all loose materials around the piles and
add to the newest pile is a great way to keep the area looking tidy.
• We tend to be lenient about what goes into our compost—if there is a whole
wheel barrow full of noxious crabgrass or invasive seed heads, put it in the
green bins, but if there is a mixture, it can be added to compost pile


• Monitor worm bins to ensure things are moist and that they have food scraps
to eat.

Leaf mold

• This is also referred to as the ‘no fuss’ pile. Simply top off wire basket with
leaves from the surrounding area and keep it moist. Add to the top and pull
finished compost from the bottom.

Green House Responsibilities

Water Management
• Adjust automatic timer to desired moisture being careful to adjust for the
changing of the seasons (more water in the summer/ less water in the winter)

Monitor stages of plant growth
• Sow seeds; make cuttings and divisions; according to the needs of the garden,
kitchen and plant sale. Use the scope of sequence of both garden and kitchen,
as well as the Plant Sale sowing dates document to guide when to propagate.
• Determine when plants need to be upsized, transplanted into the garden,
given away, or composted. With excess plants to be given away, email fellow
garden programs and create a give away table where people can help

Maintenance of Green House
• Weeding, both seedling trays and underneath greenhouse benches
• Maintain a supply of both ‘seedling mix’ and ‘up size mix’ for general
propagation needs
• Keeping cob webs to a minimum
• Overall Pest Mitigation and Snail Hunting

Exterior of Green House
• Adjust automatic timer to desired moisture being careful to adjust for the
changing of the seasons (more water in the summer/ less water in the winter).
• Water all gallons and 4” pots that are not under automatic water with
emphasis on Fridays (for the weekend)
• Determine when plants need to be upsized, transplanted into the garden,
given away, or composted. With excess plants to be given away, email fellow
garden programs and create a give away table where people can help
• Weeding both gallons and 4” pots on a regular basis
• Organization of plants, grouping by species and/or container size
• Keep all containers organized, throwing out damaged containers when
• Keep all stakes organized, both wooden and bamboo

Pest Management
• Observe and take notes on any pest infestations
• Research and trial new pest management techniques

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