Mice in the Compost Bin

For the last seven years, our utterly uninspired composting system meant that any non-animal based foods were tossed in. No rotating, no watering, and no brown/green balance. But there were consequences for our unwillingness to embrace the laws of composting….

Knowing that my husband was finally taking the compost bin off of our pile and mixing the dirt, I took my kids outside to unveil our new pile of rich, composted soil. Unfortunately it was a rather traumatic scene. Dozens of young mice were pouring out of the bin and fleeing for their lives while my husband chased them across the yard, randomly clubbing the moving targets with head of the shovel. Not exactly a mother earth moment.

We now have a cat, but I’m not sure she can keep mice away from a constant food source. Does anyone else have this problem? It has happened twice and I’m thinking we may need to move onto something like a Bokashi Bin or a worm farm that works indoors. Any success with either of those systems?


  1. We have a tumble composter but since we just started this past spring, I have not even harvested the first batch…I put too many leaves in it once and it is still breaking down a fair bit. But, it is up off the ground. It doesn’t really hold as much as I suspect you are composting though. I forget about putting food scraps out there more often than not 🙁

  2. another Josh says:

    I haven’t tried either of those, but we have a pretty standard compost bin which is basically a thick plastic sheet bent into a barrel. I turn it with a small garden fork either each time I mow the yard, and occasionally in the winter. We’ve had it going for about 5 years and never had pest problems. Turning it really isn’t much trouble once you are in the habit of it.

  3. I used to have a worm farm and it worked really well, the only part I didn’t like was that I had to grind up the food scraps in the blender before I put them in the bin. Otherwise they ended up rotting before the worms could break them down. Besides that it produced very nice soil, no odor and was almost no-maintenance. When I moved away I gave the bin to a friend and she was able to keep it going for years.

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