Compost Chicken System

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Building on the work of compost connoisseur Karl Hammer and permaculture educator Geoff Lawton, we’ll be testing whether a small farm can run a profitable egg enterprise by feeding chickens on local food wastes, producing compost as a by-product. Details of the system are published here on this page.

Chickens can be fed on worms, bugs, food waste and forage alone. This can eliminate the need for grain purchases entirely. Please have a look at the approach that Karl Hammer of Vermont Compost has taken.

Typical Economics

  • A buck per chicken, indicating that the industry standard is a loss leader - [1]
  • Dressing percentage for heritage chicken is 68-70% - [2]


Interview with Karl Hammer:

Video from Vermont Compost:

Also from Vermont Compost - grain-free chickens:

Internal Links

More information: grain-free eggs