I finally made an open compost bin. I've been threatening to do this for sometime, but the idea has met with some resistance from the aesthetics czar. So I put it in a part of the yard he seldom visits.
I've been using the black plastic Earth Machine composters with some success, but I wasn't able to turn the contents frequently or thoroughly enough. My neighbor, the Compost Chef, uses an open contraption and turns out the most delicious, black, crumbly, rich compost. So I decided to follow his lead, aka copycat.
I assumed this new situation would be of some interest to the chickens, and I was correct. Scarlet, the Rhode Island Red was the first one in and the first one to the top of the heap. But the others soon followed. And they got right to work. They just love spreading stuff out. Anything left in a pile or stack will be evenly distributed in no time.
I'm hoping the hens rearranging the pile constantly will serve to turn and aerate the pile. And the necessity of shoveling it back into the bin makes them my personal trainers.
At some point I may need to restrict their access to the pile, if I get tired of shoveling it back into the bin, or if they eat all the worms. But for now I love seeing them working away, kicking and scratching, digging for gold.