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Composting Roadkill?  RSS feed

 
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There seems to be an usually high amount of roadkill near where I live, lots of small critters like opossum, squirrel, and birds. I would like to try composting the roadkill instead of just having the bodies to to waste. I did some research and found some cities compost dead deer with great success. Has anyone ever tried composting small animals? Would love to hear about it.
 
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I have what started as a hugelkulture and use it. I place the dead animal, or fish guts, or remains from chicken slaughtering , deer slaughtering, and put it in. I place it on the side and push the dirt over it. I'd say it's gone in 60 days except bones. It stinks if you uncover it and the buzzards show up. I just have to make mental notes where the last one was placed. 

Only 1 whole, deer sized animal has been put in it. I also dump the flies from my fly trap in it. Covering it is key. I have a small tractor.
 
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Location: Boudamasa, Chad
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I've read about farmers who compost their calf and chicken carcasses in a drum. They put the carcass in a drum and fill it up with saw dust, chips or straw. Then they turn it every few days until it's all done.
 
gardener
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As Wayne says about the buzzards, it can attract predators and scavengers... but it is something that geoff lawton says is OK.  It was recommended to put the corpse into the center of the pile.  The pile will get a great boost of bacteria and nitrogen and moisture.  It's amazing what a carcass on the ground will do to the entire ecosystem around it.  Same happens in the pile.  Adds diversity.   I have not done this, but it was a topic of a conversation in the Geoff Lawton PDC I'm doing.  Treat like your more toxic compostables, like humanure.... Compost it well and hot, and you will do fine. 
 
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Location: Northern BC Zone 3
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I compost all the left overs from butchering amd hunting.  As was mentioned before, covering is key.  As long as it is well covered with plant material there should be no smell.  I have coyotes and bears that walk through my yard but they don't disturb the compost.
 
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My compostpile contains a chicken, rooster, a few cats, mice and small birds. I cannot tell yet if all those dead bodies are composted already, since the pile is started one year ago, and I kept adding until half a year ago. Next autumn I will dig into the pile and we will find out (I cant wait for it, my first selfmade compost!).

For composting I follow the instructions from Jenkins' Humanure handbook, so far it seems like a right aproach to me.
 
wayne fajkus
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The reason I gave 60 days was based on a utube video I watched. A guy was making European skull mounts from deer. While other people are skinning, scraping, boiling to get a cleaned skull, this guy buried it (leaving the antlers above ground and covered with a bucket) for 60 days. Composting may be the wrong term. I think it all got eaten by worms and other little crawly things.
 
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Location: Warsaw, MO
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Andreas Schäfer wrote:My compostpile contains a chicken, rooster, a few cats, mice and small birds. I cannot tell yet if all those dead bodies are composted already, since the pile is started one year ago, and I kept adding until half a year ago. Next autumn I will dig into the pile and we will find out (I cant wait for it, my first selfmade compost!).

For composting I follow the instructions from Jenkins' Humanure handbook, so far it seems like a right aproach to me.



First compost pile containing all that?! Awesome!
 
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Gordon Schmidt wrote:There seems to be an usually high amount of roadkill near where I live, lots of small critters like opossum, squirrel, and birds. I would like to try composting the roadkill instead of just having the bodies to to waste. I did some research and found some cities compost dead deer with great success. Has anyone ever tried composting small animals? Would love to hear about it.



I put the carcasses in the center of the compost heap, surrounded by donkey and hog droppings and browns all around that.
While I am covering the carcasses I add spent coffee grounds then once the heap is built I saturate it with water then cover with a piece of roofing tin held on by rocks.
With in a month the carcasses are fully composted, the heap gets very hot with all the nitrogen and browns (I use 3.5 browns to one part nitrogen)
I count the poop, carcasses and coffee grounds as N by weight, then I add 3.5 times that weight in browns which is usually bedding straw and dead leaves.

I've been doing this for about five years now with no rodent or fly issues ever. The carcasses provide a lot of calcium (bones) to the finished compost, along with all the other nutrient profile of the dead animal(s).
The bacteria and fungi that come in are all very beneficial critters for the soil too.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Why waste good nutrients on mere compost?  Especially if the roadkill is fresh.  I've made many a meal for myself from roadkill deer, and canned it for later.  I've cooked up, over a campfire or in the solar cooker, all manner of critters for my chickens.  They are like little dinosaurs.  An old maggoty critter all the better.  And what they don't eat, composts in there along with the rest of what I throw them.  They work the mulch layer and keep flies and such away.  The latest progress on this idea....black soldier flies.  These critters will rock your world.  They can take the vilest stuff....humanure and dog manure, poisonous mushrooms, old coffee grounds, dried up dead flat critters, etc.....and turn them into poultry feed and compost....
 
pollinator
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Or you might consider composting/digesting it with a Black Soldier Fly bin.

Turn that roadkill into feed for chickens or fish.  A healthy colony of BSF will take a deer down to the bone in a week or two.
 
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