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What's been throwing compost out of my bin?

msqingxiaomsqingxiao North LondonPosts: 346
Hi all, a few days ago we noticed that our compost bin seemed to be leaking some compost out. There was no sign of the bin being disturbed, and the lids at the top and the bottom were both well shut. We shovelled the leaked compost back into the bin.

Yet today it happened again! Does anyone have an idea why this is happening please? Some animal living in our compost bin?? Thanks!

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Posts

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 20,592
    Looks like rats, evidence on the left side seems to confirm it. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,444
    I agree … looks like rats to me too. Give the compost a thorough soaking and turn it frequently. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,229
    If you're a bit phobic around rats (like me) I would give the side of the bin a few good whacks with a spade a couple of times a day for 5 or 6 days. I've always found that rats don't particularly like a headache and pack their bags🙂

    When they've gone follow Dove's advice to make the bin less hospitable. You might also want to consider putting your bin on some paving slabs or metal mesh (a single layer of chicken wire is inadequate) to stop them burrowing under the sides. Worms and creepy crawlies that help with decomposition will still get in there.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,629
    You don't need to get the spade out - just walk by and give it a kick or two a few times a day. I had a rat in mine once. I did that and it soon moved on. I also read that they don't like peppermint so I diluted some essential oil in a spray bottle with a hint of washing up liquid and sprayed the bin, inside and out above the compost, inside the lid and around the base on the outside, every few days for a while. I suspect it was the kicking that did the job, but I had peppermint oil and a spray bottle to hand so I thought it worth trying anyway. I also have fairly stiff wire mesh (about half-inch grid) underneath all my bins but I think ratty got in at the top - there was a hole chewed into one side of the bin at the top. This was one that's much thicker plastic than the one in your pic, which looks much the same as another of mine that I'm currently using to store shredded prunings and brown cardboard to add to the main bin when I have green stuff. Rats will chew through more-or-less anything if they really want to get in.
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,649
    Maybe empty the bin contents into another place and check what's there. You can put chicken wire at the base of the bin if you think there are rats getting in. Lots of animals love living in compost bins - they are valuable places to over-winter.
  • seacrowsseacrows Posts: 211
    I have the opposite problem. Somebody's been burying stuff in my compost heap. Where by 'stuff' I mean an egg. A proper chicken egg, complete with red tractor stamp. The cat puts his fresh mouse corpses on the top of the pile, but an egg? (OH says fox, but I can't remember the last time I saw a fox buying eggs 😁 ).
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,649
    @seacrows Foxes do like to bury whole eggs. I find them in my flower beds.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 20,592
    Foxes are not usually as fussy as that,  I didn’t think they’d only use ones with Red Tractor stamp. 
    Maybe someone put them in their dust bin because the sell by date run out yesterday. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,444
    Trays of eggs are often delivered to the back of bakeries, pubs, restaurants overnight or early in the morning. Passing foxes will help themselves. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • msqingxiaomsqingxiao North LondonPosts: 346
    Thank you all! That's a lot of tricks (and eggs) for me to try out  :D
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