Tag Archives: composting animals

In Maine, a Whale of a Compost Pile

[ original source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20161119/in-maine-whale-of-compost-pile ]

GORHAM, Maine (AP) — Lobster carcasses, dead sea urchins and other “seafood waste” are common ingredients in the compost pile at Benson Farm Earth Products. A 43-foot right whale, not so much.

But the leviathan’s bones were the prize as a team of volunteers from Marine Mammals of Maine arrived at the Gorham farm dug into a smelly, steaming pile of compost, sawdust and whale to extract skeleton pieces including ribs bigger than a person.

The rare and protected whale met its demise after becoming entangled in fishing gear off Boothbay Harbor in September. It was trucked to the farm for composting.

Lynda Doughty, executive director of the nonprofit Marine Mammals of Maine, says she hopes the skeleton can be reassembled as an educational exhibit.


I was relieved about a few things here: first of all, they’re composting a gigantic animal instead of doing something stupid like incinerating it.

That’s cool that they want the skeleton, too- I can only imagine how quickly that carcass will break down!

I composted a friend’s dead turtle not too long ago, and of course he wanted the shell.  I couldn’t believe how quickly the shell was degrading.

If you’ve never composted a carcass, I highly recommend it.  Your pile craves it.  It adds some good variety to the mix, causing a nice thermophilic spike in temperature.  As always, add double the carcass’ amount in shredded browns and it’s a breeze.

FAQ(v): What are the necessary materials for composting livestock mortalities?

FAQ(v): What are the necessary materials for composting livestock mortalities?

In this video, our waste reduction specialist shows us that mixing wood chips works best for degrading animal carcasses.

I’m curious if he’s experimented with shredded leaves and/or sawdust instead, as they compost quicker than wood chips.

Either way, I’m really happy this is being taught instead of simply hauling the carcasses off to an incinerator, which is definitely not the way to go.

FAQ(v): Is odor a concern when composting livestock mortalities?

FAQ(v): Is odor a concern when composting livestock mortalities?


I was wondering if anyone on the ol’ Youtube would cover animal carcasses in compost piles.

While brief, it really is that simple- if you’re composting carcasses or other potentially smelly stuff like humanure, just add brown materials until it doesn’t smell.

In this video he mentions 18 to 24″ of material on top of the carcasses, so I’m guessing this is a pretty huge pile of carcasses!

I’m curious if their technique was inspired by the Humanure Handbook or not…the bin they show later in the video looks just like a Jenkins-style bin.