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HELP! Can I bury my duck by my fruit tree? How deep? Anything I should know?

 
Nicole Alderman
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One of our ducks JUST (5 minutes ago) choked and died.   We would like to bury her by a fruit tree. Is there anything I should know? How deep? How far from the center of our tree? Our fruit trees are all about 5-8 feet tall and just now started fruiting, so relatively young still.

Thank you!

I want to do this soon, because my toddler is really concerned about our duck, and we need closure. Thank you so much for your help!
 
Nicole Alderman
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I read on one site (http://sustainability.stackexchange.com/questions/972/is-it-sustainable-to-bury-dead-animals-next-to-plants) that burying it with wood chips would speed up the decomposition. Any thoughts?

Do I need to worry about botulism or other toxins? Should I treat the area around the duck the same as if it had septic or humanure under it (no edible root or herbacious veggies, just edible shrubs/trees)? How long will the area be "contaminated"?

Thank you!
 
John Polk
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I would suggest burying it about 1 foot beyond the current drip line.
Next spring/summer, the roots well venture out there and find nutrition.
A tree keeps expanding (growing) as long as it finds nutrition along the way.

I'd say about a foot of soil over it should be perfect.  The top soil critters in that region will make use of it, creating nutrition for your tree next year.  If you have neighbor's dogs, or other creatures that might dig it up, go deeper.


 
Nicole Alderman
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duck forest garden hugelkultur
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Thank you! That's good to know. We just finished burying our duck about an hour ago (we needed closure). We ended up burying it about 6-12 inches from the drip line (or, what I assume is the drip line, since that was how far the foliage went out) from our Persian mulberry. The mulberry is only two years old and hasn't started fruiting. We were only able to bury it maybe two feet under, as the ground was hard. With me being pregnant and my husband just having had surgery, we really couldn't dig as deep as we like. We added some pine shavings in hopes of it speeding up decomp and absorbing some of the smell.

It's reassuring to know that we probably buried it deep enough and a good distance from the tree! Thank you! 
 
S Tonin
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Obviously I'm late to this, but I thought I'd chime in anyway as a "for future reference" thing.  If digging is a problem (such as in winter or really rocky/ heavy soil), cairn building is an option and will keep the scavengers away.  If I were to do it, I'd put down some organic matter first, then the animal wrapped in cloth or newspaper, then more organic matter (and, if available, dirt), then covered with heavy rocks and smaller stones/ gravel to fill in.  I'm sorry for your loss.  It might be how nature works, but it's always a bummer to lose an animal. 
 
Michael Bushman
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Location: Sacramento, CA
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Burying fish is an old trick that works great, i remember as a kid dragging home a huge dead catfish which we burried under our plum, the tree put out so much fruit that summer it was crazy!  

As for digging holes, dig a bit, fill with water, wait, dig some more, fill more dig more...makes easy work of a hard job.
 
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