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Roadkill and Hugelkultur

 
Sean Banks
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Just curious if it would be a good idea to place roadkill (dead deer, coons, rabbits, etc.) on the bottom of my hugelkutur bed? I am thinking of laying down rotting wood and then stacking dead animals on top of that then adding compost/manure on top of that.....I have read articles where people have composted roadkill in mulch piles. I am sure that when they decompose it would give my plants a big boot in nitrogen and other nutrients.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I'd like to see it hot composted as a means of keeping vermin out of it. It's something I am definitely going to do despite opposition that led to deletion before.

Disease, fleas, ticks ... are a constant threat with wild animals. I'll wear my asbestos mask and shower well.
 
Matu Collins
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I'd be concerned about vermin too. If I were to use this idea I would put the carcass down under the wood. It would be less likely to be dug up that way. I'd put small bodies in, but nothing big.
 
Leila Rich
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We don't have much in the way of digging critters here, so that's not much of an issue for me
but from what I've seen composting animals, they basically 'vanish' quite quickly.
I imagine wherever bodies were put, the decomposition process could destabilise the hugelkultur bed quite a bit.
People here will probably have personal experiences, but I think this is a good job for hot compost.
I have unpleasant visions of the potential for anaerobic, stinking things...
 
Michael Cox
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I read an article a few years ago about using hot composting in large piles of wood chip to dispose of large animal carcasses that were unfit for human consumption (this was back in the UK foot and mouth outbreak - 2002?). Whole cows would be buried a meter or so deep in woodchip. The carcass would hot compost really rapidly and given the depth of chips would get hot enough to sterilise. This was being advocated as a better way to dispose of carcasses than by burning!

I would think they the resulting compost would be great, but you probably don't want that all going on in your hugelbed which typically breaks down fungally.

Our own compost heap swallowed the carcass left over from a hogroast last year - very little has been identifiable 12 months later as I have dug out the bin - a couple of ribs and a jaw bone, any thing smaller seems to have gone.
 
Kate Potter
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Two large-ish hogs died of heat stroke last year on our farm. We buried them well in a woodchip pile. There was never ANY smell or grossness or even signs of disturbance by wild animals. It was pretty phenomenal, and I think the decomposition went quite fast.
 
Sean Banks
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yeah I don't see why it wouldn't work.....I mean unless you have a serious problem with large predators that could dig up your stash...

I came up with this idea after a possum got hit in front of my house....
It was just laying there on the side of the road...it seemed like such a waste...I viewed it as a big bag of free fertilizer...
I took it home and buried it in my veggie garden and then planted a tomato on top...the tomato grew 10 feet tall! Months later I tilled the spot where I buried the possum and only found 1 femur. I guess the rest was broken down by bacteria or fungi. I have done similar things with scraps of fish...burying the heads/fins/guts in the garden then planting things on top....always had success with this.
 
Su Ba
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Kate is right. I've buried dead sheep, goats, and pigs into active compost piles and they quickly decompose with no odor, no flies, no pests. Since I maintain numerous large active compost piles, neighbors often bring dead animals to my farm in order to dispose of the carcass (because digging a hole here is quite difficult, you're not allowed to dispose of them in the trash, nor burn them in open fires). But placing them into a cold pile might be a problem. I've never tried it. if you try it, let us know how it went.

...Su Ba
www.kaufarmer.blogspot
 
Leila Rich
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We need a hugelkulturalist who's tried this to show up!
I'm thinking that because it works in hot compost, doesn't mean it will work in hugelkultur...
 
Sherakee O'Riley
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Leila Rich wrote:We need a hugelkulturalist who's tried this to show up!


I had a horse hit while being babysat by a good friend, she didn't make it a week. I put her in "the back 40" (which is 1/2 an acre of garden area) and covered her in several feet of wood, wood chips and yard debris. I had a newish nosy neighbor on my backside who called the local animal control and complained about the 'smell', which she had only assumed would be a result. The animal control Boss Guy, a friend of mine now because of this one incident, lol, inspected the area which was almost two weeks into the process, and even laid down on the ground trying to smell something. Anything. Well, anything but rich soil, that is.
 
Sean Banks
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^ just curious how your neighbor found out about your dead horse?
 
Sherakee O'Riley
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Sean Banks wrote:^ just curious how your neighbor found out about your dead horse?


They're like... (omg) always watching me! Jes Joking. There aren't miles between us, here, a couple of acres, maybe.

Hi Sean, All of my neighbors are my friends, yes, even the newish nosy one's. That was a about 5 or 6 years ago or so, now we're much closer.

In addition, my property, the multitude of interesting animals, and the incredible change that came over the property once having been purchased by myself, was quite an attention magnet and I was always ready to share my knowledge and experience with everyone including tours.
 
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