Win a copy of 5 Acres & a Dream this week in the Homestead forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
  • James Freyr
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Kate Downham
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino

Small critter carcasses... optimal use?

 
pollinator
Posts: 2408
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
224
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the past few days we have caught half a dozen mice indoors and two grey squirrels outdoors.

The squirrels are in plague numbers at the moment and our single trap caught two in less than 24 hours. I anticipate catching 20 or more in the next month or so. If not controlled they steal all our berries, nuts and seeds. The carry off under ripe strawberries at the first blush of pink.

So my question:

What are the best possible uses for small animal carcasses?

Compost?

Bury directly in beds?

Feed to other animals (chickens if we get those? If so, how?)?

Feed to the dog? He is unused to fresh kills, only eating dry at the moment.

Eat it ourselves is not an option at the moment.

Thoughts?
 
pollinator
Posts: 239
Location: istanbul - turkey
78
hugelkultur dog books urban greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can see two practical solutions other than composting.

Burry them under fruit trees, similar to putting fish under corn.
Justin Rhodes made a video couple of years back. Maggot dispenser. It turns them into maggots for chickens to eat. On the downside it is very smelly. Nasty.
Here is the link,


Hope it helps!

edited to embed video
 
pollinator
Posts: 758
Location: Denmark 57N
167
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well mice.. the cat's dinner or if your cat is a fussy spoilt thing, then I would probably bury them near a largish plant like a marrow. Squirrels do taste lovely by the way but if you don't want to eat them then bury them near a larger plant, only give them to the dog if it's going to be a regular thing, mine both eat raw and it's not good to swap them about too much.
 
Michael Cox
pollinator
Posts: 2408
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
224
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think the mouse problem might be in part due to a cat deficit :p
 
Posts: 44
8
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If it's fresh i feed all mouse sized critters to my ducks and chipmunk to rabbit sized to my dogs. If it's old it goes in the compost.  My cat will only eat something if he kills it himself and then only his favorite parts.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1734
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
633
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The simplest thing would be to bury them near a plant. Before I had livestock to feed, I buried carcasses in the garden walkways between the plant rows.

On my farm I usually toss small critters into the Mom's Famous Slop n Glop cook pot. That's the pot I cook the livestock feed for the chicken and pigs. Carcasses go into the pot whole. Mice. Rats. Mongooses. Birds. Dead chickens. Feral cats (a farm up the street traps and kills feral cats.)
 
Michael Cox
pollinator
Posts: 2408
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
224
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Trials:

2 squirrels went into the garden compost heap. A week later there is a noticeable odour of decay. I think the make up of the heap was not ideal - it wasn’t dense enough to give full cover. Too much twiggy stuff so there is air flow despite covering them a good foot deep. They would probably do better in wood chips but our current heap is not ideal.

2 squirrels have been buried in the soil beside berry bushes, about 1ft deep. Soil is not likely to be disturbed there for at least a year. Too early to tell if there will be a smell.
 
Michael Cox
pollinator
Posts: 2408
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
224
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thinking of setting up a dedicated critter compost bin. We have plenty of wood chips to make a nice dense cover. Can layer them up - woochips, squirrel, then top with wood chips to cover then another squirrel etc...
 
gardener
Posts: 6581
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1218
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Squirrels go into stew, or are floured and fried, they are a good source of protein for humans and they taste pretty dang good too.

When you are going to compost animals you have to set up for hot composting or you will have far to many pathogenic microbes in your fresh compost. (I cover this in one of my soil threads)

Mice are easy but you still have to hot compost them (think of where the bubonic plague came from along with several other nasty diseases mice and rats can carry).

Simply burying works and your idea of a foot deep is good, plant roots, fungi, beetle larvae, worms will come and do the processing and in a year the fertilizer will be mostly decomposed, including the bones.

You can also use lime and desiccate the critters then grind them up and use to make a liquid, fish emulsion like fertilizer.

Redhawk
 
Michael Cox
pollinator
Posts: 2408
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
224
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Bryant,

At the moment I think we can't consistently guarantee hot compost, so I'm inclined to rule that out. I have no philosophical objection to eating squirrel, but the constraints of life and time mean I can't be butchering them as they are trapped. I'm just not around enough - perhaps when the kids are a bit older, and I've got time to set up for it.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6581
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1218
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you can get them, coffee grounds work well as a substitute for green materials, works a treat with a woodchip based compost and with enough grounds in the center the heap will heat up enough to serve your purposes. (the more grounds the hotter the heap can get)
for animals it is actually better to lay several in the same layer since a hot spot is what you want to achieve.

I totally understand the time thing. I am fortunate enough to have cleaned enough squirrels and rabbits that it only takes me two minutes start to finish on either one.
Hogs are an entirely different story, but I will get better the more of them I process. (my first one took two of us 7 hours from kill to packaged)
 
You had your fun. Now it's time to go to jail. Thanks for your help tiny ad.
A rocket mass heater heats your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!