compo
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Mice in compost.

Hi all, first time poster and compost enthusiast.

I hope someone can help/put my mind at ease!

I have a large black plastic "blackwall" type composter that I have been filling with bokashied kitchen waste and garden bits and pieces for a couple of years now with pretty good results.

Last time I aeriated the compost a baby mouse was bought to the surface suggesting the presence of a nest and today when I went to put in some teabags I was comfronted by the most startled mouse on top of the compost who quickly scurried back inside.

I was wondering if this is a sign that all is well in my bin or, perhaps, the opposite.

I have no problems with mice in the house and am happy to share my compost with them.

Should I desist from aeriating?

I only do it twice a year anyway.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Cheers, Compo

Toil
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Too dry. Add water. Mice nest in warm, dry places.

Your house - get rid of them. They are not safe to have in your walls. Unless you take them all to the vet? Anyway that's your choice but google a bit and know the facts. Apologies if you already do.
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cynthia_h
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Aerate *more often.* Roust 'em out of there! Water *more often.* Mice like warm, dry, cozy spots.

So keep your compost moist and definitely NOT cozy. Warm compost works better than cool: it finishes faster. So it's better to keep the "warm" characteristic.

And do check to be sure there aren't mice in your house. One year I had a couple of mice under my kitchen sink! Snap traps baited with peanut butter got them.

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soil
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your piles not getting hot enough, it should be way out of there range of temps if your pile is composting properly. i would suggest re layering it with fresh greens and whats in the pile now. so the compost thats in there, then a layer of green, compost, greens, compost, greens, etc..... let that heat up, and do so one more time. i highly doubt they will want to live in there, as well as your compost will finish much faster.
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Toil
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A related topic - in my outside bin, I sometimes have rat visitors, especially if it's really cooking and has fresh veggie scraps. It's almost like they are more attracted in the super duper hot phase. Like a pie is in the oven. Now that I am conscious of toxoplasmosis, do I need to worry?

They tunnel up the side, where it is warm but not too hot to touch. I set up the bin for my landlady, and she does use it on her veggies.
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compo
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Thanks for the advice everyone.

I didn't think about dryness.

Maybe a watering can of but water would make them less comfy?

Toil
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Water it to flooding with a hose, that's what I would do.

If the ingredients are right it won't go sour. Water + air + food, like cyn and soil are saying. It can get hot enough to hurt skin in the center.
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rainbowgardener
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Re the rat visitors. My compost pile sits on the ground enclosed in a wire grid where the bars are on about 2" centers. It's small enough to keep out things like raccoons and possums, but not small enough to keep out the little critters. I know things get in there, because I see the pile disturbed and kitchen scraps that were buried under several inches of leaves brought to the surface. I never see what does it and there's never been any evidence of anything nesting in there, just munching on my kitchen scraps and leaving again. I can't swear it isn't a rat, but I've never seen rats on this property and I do see the occasional shrew, vole, mouse (when the cats catch them and leave the remains for me). So I'm assuming it is that kind of critter.

It seems like just part of existing in the natural world and I don't really mind sharing. I've never seen any reason to worry about it. Since the compost pile is fairly distant from the house, I figure if anything it lures them away from the house.

Re toxoplasmosis ... most people who are infected with it never know it, because no clinical illness results. If you do get sick from it, it is usually a mild flu-like illness that goes away without treatment. It is really only a problem for pregnant women (can cause fetal abnormalities) and immuno-compromised people. Commonest ways of contracting it are from drinking water and handling raw or undercooked meat (become a vegetarian! :) ). Sometimes we get too wrapped up in all the "Be Afraid" stuff.

compo
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Just thought that maybe urine would do the trick and help to enrich the compost at the same time.

Or would that just add to my problems...

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Yay urine!

You are doing more than helping your pile by composting urine. Urine is the main source of nutrients in treated sewage. And nutrients can be disastrous in the water table, and in coastal areas, the crucial shallow water ecosystems.
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Halfway
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you can edit "your" fear, I have no fear. Because I do not like a topic does not mean i fear it. I am not a "...phobe" because of rejection of the topic.

Now, let's get back to being serious.

.....would human blood NOT deter mice?

Would it not NOT add valuable nitrogen into the mix?

Would it NOT add valuable and needed moisture into the mix?

And....if that deterrence with benefits further helps the compost, would that not make double the common sense?

I "fear" I have presented a view point. No need to fear it.

Thank you.
Last edited by Halfway on Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Zone 4a.

Toil
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That thread is serious, educational, and an example of a well functioning group.

Let's not let our fear dictate our choices or our relationship. Will you kindly edit your post? You can express your feelings on the other thread, and judging by the responses already there, they won't attack you, but will help you work it out.

Better that than a mod coming here after a fight breaks out. I was first responder in that thread and your post gives ne a bad vibe.
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rot
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rodents in the ground

..

Put pavers on the ground and then build your bin. The pavers will keep most things from coming in underneath like rodents and tree roots. Worms will still make it through if the pavers aren't super tight fitting.

to sense

..

cynthia_h
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Compo, I thought of this while I was away from the house mid-day: how often do you turn your compost? not just aerate it, but turn the whole thing?

My BioStack is over 20 years old, so somewhat out of square, and several months ago (July/August?) a bottom corner popped out. I saw it, but can't turn the heap alone (various health "fun"), so had to wait for a weekend day when both DH and I or girlfriend and I could turn it and re-set the corners.

Well! :shock: In the meantime, all health "fun" pretty near ceased instantaneously when a MOUSE came running out of that corner! when I added some kitchen peels, tea bags, etc. to the top of the compost. My dog was quite interested in my yell, but alas the mouse was long gone. :( Strangely enough, that very weekend, we turned the compost and re-set the corners. :wink:

No odd visitors since.

And to Toil: Why do mice make you think of toxoplasmosis?

The reading I've done (I have cats as well as dogs) indicates that cats are often an asymptomatic host. I'd like to see an article about mice; the most recent articles I read were maybe three or so years old and dealt with the die-off of otters in Monterey Bay, a marine refuge. They were dying of toxoplasmosis ultimately traced to flushed cat litter which contained...yes...toxoplasmosis oocysts. But mice weren't anywhere in the line of transmission in that report. If there are more recent articles implicating mice in this transmission chain, I would like to read them. Even one article would be worth it. Thank you. :)

Cynthia

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Hey cyn, I was thinking toxo because of the rats visiting the pile.

I saw this YouTube video on it that freaked me out. They showed toxo infected rats "fall in love" with cats. Cat eats rat. Cat poops. Rat ingests poop (or eats dead cat?), and the cycle continues. It's a bifurcated cycle, and toxo needs both species.

Apparently in humans it causes crazy cat lady syndrome, and more generally, poor impulse control and antisocial behavior. And fearlessness.

I was having a parasite day, looking up all the coolest one. Like the louse that eats a fish tongue, then actually replaces it. As a functioning tongue! Or the snail/bird parasite that makes their antenae go all Pink Floyd and trippy, then makes the snail find a high and exposed spot so the bird will eat the antennae.

Parasites freak me out but are strangely attractive.
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rainbowgardener
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It wasn't cynthia, it was me.

Might Toxo explain why some humans develop an unhealthful attraction to cats and apparently become immune to the smell of their urine? And might that explain the mystery of crazy cat ladies? “That idea doesn’t seem completely crazy,â€
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Toil
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Gotcha. Thanks for destroying that narrative. It was compelling, but made me kinda fear cats.

As you know, the more you avoid a cat, the more it is attracted to you.


Sorry for mixing up names, it's tough to see on my phone. I'm away on a gig.
Last edited by Toil on Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rainbowgardener
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No apology! I see that I had missed a post from cynthia, so in fact it was both of us!

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smokensqueal
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I get mice in my compost bin fairly regularly. It's hard of my to turn my whole bin so I usually do more of a mixing. And on occasion I'll run into a few. And the dog is always digging at it for them. And this time of year with part of it being frozen and I can mix I'm sure they are snuggled up in there somewhere for the winter. I don't worry about it much. I've got fields around me so I know they are just little field mice and my bin is far enough away from the house I'm not worried about them getting in.

Toil
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Worrying about them would be over dramatizing.

But they are trying to tell you the pile is a bit dry. More water would mean a better process, not just mouse elimination.
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Halfway
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Toil wrote:Worrying about them would be over dramatizing.

But they are trying to tell you the pile is a bit dry. More water would mean a better process, not just mouse elimination.
Wow, you posted 139 times since Jan 5, 2010!!

Thanks for your contributions.
Zone 4a.

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Halfway
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Ahhhh, I got it. The link you reference is to a book!!

Makes sense to me now.

Thanks for your contributions, they are very informative and I apologize if we got off to a bad start. You helped warn me that mods would step in and although I'm not sure how you knew that, it was great advice.

Sorry for the slight derailment, back to the thread.

Those little micers need a home and when compost is not cooking, what a great place to let them do their little mouser thing (making more little mousers)!!
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rainbowgardener
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Well my compost pile is I'm sure dried out as well as frozen part of the winter (not right now, we got some rain the past couple days). The hose is disconnected for the season. I am not about to trek out there with buckets of water, that are just going to freeze anyway (yesterday was rain, today we are back below freezing). I just figure it doesn't do much in the depths of winter.

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Halfway
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rainbowgardener wrote:Well my compost pile is I'm sure dried out as well as frozen part of the winter (not right now, we got some rain the past couple days). The hose is disconnected for the season. I am not about to trek out there with buckets of water, that are just going to freeze anyway (yesterday was rain, today we are back below freezing). I just figure it doesn't do much in the depths of winter.
Mine is frozen as well and kinda hard to see through the 40mph driving snow!!!!!

I have a big can full of greens getty a little soggy as well!!

I'm gonna need an anchor rope and search beacon to make the journey to the bin.
Zone 4a.

Toil
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Halfway wrote:
Toil wrote:Worrying about them would be over dramatizing.

But they are trying to tell you the pile is a bit dry. More water would mean a better process, not just mouse elimination.
Wow, you posted 139 times since Jan 5, 2010!!

Thanks for your contributions.
I'm an impulsive, erratic person. Sometimes I disappear. I often envy the slow And steady types.

Oh, I am also jobless about 75% of the time. I volunteer some, but erratically. Takes all kinds!
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