I wouldn't have thought they would either but the person I know who has told
me about the fat, swears that they do eat it and that they also multipy on
it. I still can't see it myself, but since I'm not prepared to put a huge
commercial fryer load of fat into my compost, I really don't have the
experience to dismiss it.
I guess adding too much meat could do that but I know that having composted
a chook (chicken) certainly didn't spoil the final product. I didn't get
any untoward visitors either at that time. I now have had mice move into my
closed bins but I've decided that the mice are a good thing to have - they
seem to do a great job of turning stuff in my closed bins. In fact, I'm so
impressed with the mice activity that I do nothing to stop them.
There are no Raccoons in my country and the possums in this country are
vegetarians. The only meat eaters locally are rats, mice, foxes and my
dogs. The latter 2 can't get into my bins, the rats prefer the chook pen
and I've decided that the mice are useful. I certainly wouldn't consider
mice to be useful if I read and believed the conventional information
written on compost, but I've watched what happens with the compost and
decided that the mice do very useful work for me. I now consider them
almost as useful as earthworms.
You can use cooked vegetable scraps, but stuff like butter, dressings & meat
are more likely (compared to vegetables) to attract visitors you don't want
around your garden. Manage the composter like a campground and you'll be
Because of issues with rancidity and possible/probable contact with
substances that don't break down cleanly into sweet compost, it's best
to leave cooked foods out. The problem of animal visitation really
hadn't occurred to me, as they will raid any garbage pile if they're
We have critters where we live. We have squirrels, birds, chipmunks, and
even have coyotes come in our yards. We live on the edge of thousands and
thousands of acres of wild land. I have seen my neighbor's watermelon patch
raided several times. My dogs will even sneak over to the pile if I'm not
watching them. Depending on your situation, visitation by critters may or
may not be any big deal. They don't bother me, as I figure there will be
enough left to rot. They probably come and eat the fresher scraps anyway.
This makes no sense to me at all. Cooked vegetables are no more health risk
than uncooked and will break down faster in the compost heap. I cannot see
any reason to not use it and so what if it has a dollop of salad dressing on
it. What is this concept of "break down cleanly into sweet compost"? It
sounds to me like this is just a squeemish reaction. A compost heap is a big
pile of stuff that is rancid, rotting, corrupted and not fit for human
consumption. We coopt a few zillion microorganisms to do our dirty work for
us. Why judge their working environment by whether you would like it.
As for meat, fat etc I can see that there could well be problems, especially
in suburban setting, with smell and scavengers. However if your situation is
such that these matters can be dealt with I see no reason why you cannot
compost such items. Hair, household dust (containing hair and skin) and
feathers are grist for the mill so why not a bit more protein from flesh. The
bacteria and fungi that do the work will consume the material. I would keep
to the idea of a balanced mix however, just as you wouldn't make a heap out of
50% chook manure you wouldn't go out and empty 5 gallons of cooking oil into
As it happens I don't put fat and meat scraps in my heap (ia have an alternate
recycler for that). That doesn't stop the mice from living in my all vege
You are the only one who said "health risk." I'm talking about fats
added to compost, and how fats don't break down as quickly as vegetable
matter and also go rancid. If you want to dump fats into your own
compost heap, go for it.
Perhaps you don't understand the concept of "sweet compost."
The keratin of hair, skin and feathers is not comparable to striated
Thus, as I stated and as you included in the quotation, animals will
raid any garbage pile if they are hungry enough.
I know people who toss meat bones into the compost, including some pretty
big ones. They also put really fat vegetable stalks in there. The major
issue with those things would be that they're not going to decompose as fast
as ***SOME*** (disclaimer - I said ***SOME***) other material, like small
vegetable scraps. This means you have to sift or pick out the unfinished
stuff before using the compost. No thanks. This weekend, I'll be composting
stuff like broccoli stalks, 2" thick, and I'll use a meat cleaver to chop it
into smaller pieces. Otherwise (based on experience), those stalks will
still be there in May.
I don't compost bones (I bury them when planting shrubs). The only
thing going into my heap today which will still be identifiable next
May, is avocado pips and a few small scraps of eggshell. I never sift
veg waste or need to bother chopping up large veg waste like brocolli
stalks, or pumpkin skins.
Possibly winters in my garden are warmer than yours ( a few short
frosts, none colder than -5C) which permits bacterial and worm
activity throughout winter. If your winter is comparable, I'd suggest
your heap could be a bit dry. I have a lidded compost bin under the
kitchen sink, and empty tea and coffee pot dregs as well as veg waste;
so the contents are sitting in liquid before they reach the ourdoor heap
a few days later. I'm convinced that "brewing effect" gets them off to
faster decomposition. The current outdoor heap is uncovered , exposed to
lots of rain . When it's full it will be covered.
Steve, for the record, I understand what you want and agree with you.
I've never understood the blind insistance to use google for
everything. There's a wealth of knowledge here to draw on, and
opinions, and yes, discussion, if you can find willing discussers.
There are a few in this thread, but not many. :o(
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
The time that it has taken smartass to tell you all the noninformative
stuff, he could have answered your questions ten times and if he didn't want
to tell you if he composts and if it works for him and does he wet it,
etc...he should have googled for something more interesting to do with his
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