squirrels eating my compost goodies

Happy Friday!
We have an open compost bin, in which I toss leaves, grass clippings, and food scraps. The squirrels in our yard steal all the food scraps from our compost bin. The compost bin is located in a natural area filled w/ oak trees, and of course many, many acorns. I would like to keep the squirrels away from my food scraps, so that my compost may benefit from the nutrients. The squirrels won't starve..they can eat all the darn acorns they want.
Any ideas to keep the squirrels out of the compost? Should I be cautious about any specific things I might add to the compost to deter squirrels ie: if I put cayenne pepper on the food scraps would this have any affect to my lawn next year when I spread cayenne infused compost across it?
TIA! heidi
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wrote:

Why not relax and let 'em steal a bit? I have an open compost pile, and figure birds and ants and squirrels ('though I haven't seen any picking through for goodies) pretty much help themselves as decomposition/re-distribution proceeds. There's still plenty of compost produced. It sounds as if you're going to be making extra work and problems for yourself by trying to restrict dining opportunities. Save the hot pepper for chile/chilli.
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I agree with frogleg, let the squirrels have some. The love a little pepper on it , I tried that.
Gary

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You could put little squirrel toilets nearby so what comes out of the pile goes back in.
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Wire fencing, make a cylinder of it, them put a top on it. Comes in various heights and size of opening between wires.
Emilie
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Heidi wrote:

I'm not sure this will work for you, but I already have some composted material in a fairly advanced state of break down. When I go to dump vegetable scraps, etc., I dig a small hole in the top compost layer, dump in the stuff, and cover it up with the dug out compost. This has a multiple effect of first helping to reduce the odors of the fresh stuff, helping to break it down faster, and generally making the new material untasteful to any critters. I also try and cover that with any fresh weed/plant material to again help discourage any digging. As a last measure, I wedge a board between the sides of the pile (in my case a wooden frame with gaps to allow air penetration) and the freshly buried stuff, to make it harder to dig up. I have been doing that all summer with little, if no sign of critter activity.
Sherwin Dubren
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heidi
I use an old metal 5 or 6 gallon can that I cut out the top and bottom. I put the kitchen scraps in the can and put a piece of plywood on top of the can. Then I put a good size rock on top of the plywood. That works. It keeps out the squirrels, crows, foxes, coyotes, dogs, cats and so on. I only do this now in the fall, throughout the winter. Spring and summer I don't do this because these critters don't seem to bother with the compost pile. BTW, the metal cans are Thompson water seal cans. You need to cut out top and bottom so you can put the stuff in and so the liquids can drain down into the soil while it rots.
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