|The animal compost pile, about a third less high than when we originally made it. Next year I'm going to plant sunflowers around it.|
We first learned about this composting method after we lost our 'Stella goat. The first link on this website also has very well-researched and in-depth information on the subject. We used the same principles mentioned in these articles, but applied them on a smaller scale. We fenced off a small area in a spot away from the ponds and streams. We used pine shavings (A LOT of pine shavings!) as the composting medium, and after some initial wetting of the pile, it has pretty much taken care of itself. I've only turned it once (to see if things were actually decomposing in there - they were!) and we've added a variety of critters to it (chickens, mostly) since the original goat. In spring, we'll spread the compost around the trees on our property. I'm still reading up on using animal compost on fruit trees or in the garden, as there's some conflicting information about the safety of it.
|Pine shavings are excellent for proper air circulation and water retention/drainage|
A few benefits of composting carcasses as opposed to other methods are:
*Less risk of groundwater contamination
*Less labor intensive than burial
*Less costly than cremation, and I like knowing our animals are still a part of this place after they pass. Plus, I do think dealing with the carcass yourself helps with the grieving process, and returning them to the earth in this way feels like a natural way to honor their contributions here.
|Digging down into the pile reveals beautiful, rich compost|
I hope all of this doesn't sound too clinical - death on our farm always has a profound effect - but I wanted to share this because it really has worked for us. Having a system like this in place makes dealing with the death of an animal a little less stressful when the time comes.