Rat on my compost pile!


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Hi guys! This is my first attempt at composting. Everything has been going well until today. I pulled or the door mats on top of the pile to turn and and saw a rat or mouse! Gave me the fright of my life. Should I be worried? How do I combat this? I haven’t thrown any meat or fish in there. The night before I. Threw in some a few cooked potatoes that had a bit of Parmesan but it was literally only a handful. Thanks in advance
 
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They are eating insects which is a good sign for the pile as it means positive things for the soil biology at work in the pile. Uncovering a pile allows predators like birds to get after rodents. Especially owls at night.
 
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Well, I must partially disagree with @DirtMechanic. The small amount being turned over by a rat is a good thing, however, the insects drawn to cooked foods are not. Plus, the rats are more than likely coming to the potatoes as there are insects everywhere, not just in the compost pile. The insects coming to cooked foods include roaches and one tries to avoid and not encourage them. One should not add cooked foods to a compost pile although they will decompose, and, one should never add dairy products to a compost pile. One should try to eliminate rats from the garden area, not draw them in by adding cooked foods and the odors which these cooked foods will emit as they decompose. Raw kitchen scraps are what you want to add to the pile such as lettuce, root crop tops, any fresh vegetable that is not edible any longer, peelings, etc.
 
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Thanks guys. Think uncovering the pile is out of the question at the moment I’m in the uk and we have is raining constantly so I’m worried it will get soggy. Il just not put cooked food in there again. Don’t like the thought of a rat pissing and shitting in there and also I don’t want it eating all the vegetable scraps I’m throwing in. Might put a rat trap next to it!
 
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If I had a worry, it is that biological nasties like E-coli end up in a pile but the heat of decomposition never gets high enough to cook them out. The result being a pile that ultimate spreads a variety of pathogenic predation, including unwanted fungi and parasites.
 
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Nick Turner

GreenthumbAsh, if you don't mind me saying, you might be worrying about nothing? The tone of what you write makes it sound as though you're going to EAT the ruddy compost. Do you reject the idea of cow manure, bearing in mind what it is and where it's come from? Why are you turning the heap? It's only a preference and hence another job you've got to do.

Any material that will bio-degrade starts off with nutrition from which it arose. By holding on to it in some form enables you put its elements into your soil where your next crop can feed off it. That process is accelerated by Nature's helpers like worms, insects and lesser life forms which convert it for you. You don't say what sort of area you live in. If you're in an urban environment, rats and mice might upset the neighbours but, in a rural location like where I am, they're not a problem of any significance and their 'manure' is added nutrition anyway?

Gardening is one of those spheres where someone is always trying to write an eleventh Commandment, but the next person you speak to will have an alternative point of view that works just as well. If you're new to the fold, by all means email me on (e-mail address removed) and I'll send you an article I've saved that puts things into perspective for a new gardener.
 
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GreenthumbAsh, if you don't mind me saying, you might be worrying about nothing? The tone of what you write makes it sound as though you're going to EAT the ruddy compost. Do you reject the idea of cow manure, bearing in mind what it is and where it's come from? Why are you turning the heap? It's only a preference and hence another job you've got to do.

Any material that will bio-degrade starts off with nutrition from which it arose. By holding on to it in some form enables you put its elements into your soil where your next crop can feed off it. That process is accelerated by Nature's helpers like worms, insects and lesser life forms which convert it for you. You don't say what sort of area you live in. If you're in an urban environment, rats and mice might upset the neighbours but, in a rural location like where I am, they're not a problem of any significance and their 'manure' is added nutrition anyway?

Gardening is one of those spheres where someone is always trying to write an eleventh Commandment, but the next person you speak to will have an alternative point of view that works just as well. If you're new to the fold, by all means email me on (e-mail address removed) and I'll send you an article I've saved that puts things into perspective for a new gardener.
Thanks Nick. Yes I live in an urban area. I’ve now identified it as a mouse not a rat. Whenever I take the doormat of the compost pile there only one of there so as far as I know there’s only one. Not to bothered about it being there now the only things concerns me is that it is eating my vegetable scraps. The pile seems to be getting a little smaller but I’m guessing that it will naturally get smaller as it is decomposing?
 

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