Here’s a simple device to make your life less smelly – it’s our Chook Poo Percolator. We also use it for Pigeon Poo.
How to build one
All it is is two plastic spring water bottles. One stays complete and sits on the ground as the receptacle.
The other has the bottom cut off of it and is flipped over. This is where the poo and water go. This is the percolator part. The cut off piece from the bottom of the container then becomes the cover for the poo.
In the neck of this one, I jam some mesh or cloth – any kind of filter material to stop the bigger items from dropping through.
You will need to rig up some kind of adaptor to allow the liquid from the top container to flow into the bottom. They can't just sit mouth to mouth because the openings are the same size and random drops will escape. You can tape them together to make a seal but then you have to remove it and retape it every time…that’s too much work for me!
I found a 32mm to 20mm reducer for PVC pipes hanging around in my junk box and it fitted beautifully.
How to use your percolator
To use the contraption, just join the two containers together.
Put the poo in until the top container. Then add water slowly until it is thoroughly soaked but not dripping much yet. If you skip this step, the water misses the edges and generally runs straight through the middle, leaving a lot of goodness unextracted. Rainwater is best, of course as the added chemicals in tap water will kill off some of the bacteria that make this brew awesome.
Then add more water and it will percolate evenly through the dampened poo fairly evenly. You can add as much water as you want but do it slowly and in stages. Letting the water percolate slowly through allows nitrifying bacteria time to begin breaking the leachate down into more usable forms and prepares it for better use on the garden. To concentrate the liquid, take the bottom container and pour the contents back into the top container (put the now empty one back, of course). You can do this a couple of times. You can also filter it further through a cloth filter such as an old t-shirt.
You will need to water it down too before using it on your garden, about 10 : 1 if you’ve only made one pass through the percolator to concentrate it. Just use it as you would any liquid fertilizer. The chook poo and straw that has been percolated has been well leached and is safe to put straight onto the garden.
Pigeon poo is quite variable. I get ours from under local bridges and from a demolished pigeon loft on a local farm. Your final results may be different from mine in constitution.
If you want to take things a step further and add some extra zing to your chook or pigeon poo, try out activating it with a DIY compost tea aerator (I'll do a post about that soon!).