Away in Hay Manger - Composting at Christmas

Thursday, 6 December 2012  |  HOTBIN Composting

12 Days of HOTBIN Composting

Day 4Manger, animals - pets.

It’s a tenuous link we know, however it’s important not to forget our (largely) four legged friends and give them a mention before tucking into our festive dinners.

Gifts, bedding, food and pet waste, here is a quick exploration of everything pet-wise that can be composted this Christmas in the HOTBIN.

Pet gifts

Some people may laugh at pet owners buying their beloved pet an advent calendar or stocking at Christmas, but its big business! Pet advent calendar sales in 2012 for one pet retailer alone topped 100,000 units and a whopping 300,000 units for Pet Christmas stockings!

As we all know  pets can be fussy creatures with cats usually the main culprit, so remember that those advent calendar treats they turn their noses up at can be added and composted in the HOTBIN. The cardboard outers can also be added if torn or scrunched up but be aware that they may be visible as blobs of paper in the finished compost due to the high lignin content. You may instead choose to recycle this in your council collected cardboard waste.

Our pets also receive a wealth of gifts every year and we all know they prefer the corrugated boxes! So once they have tired of them simply tear them up into small pieces (they may have already done this for you) and add to the HOTBIN to provide much needed aeration.

12 Days of Christmas Composting Pet Food

Bedding and Pet Food

Most types of animal bedding can be composted from hay and straw to sawdust and shredded paper. Sawdust is faster to compost than wood shavings however never add too much and ensure it is mixed in well, not doing so could cause an airflow blockage and stop the bin working.

Shredded paper has an added bonus of absorbing excess water, helping to balance moisture levels when adding wet waste into the HOTBIN, for example  leftover pet food which can be composted too.

We advise against adding horse bran, which in our experience has a tendency to form a mushy layer in the bin that can restrict or even block airflow.

Remember dried hay is sometimes called straw and could break down in 10 days if the HOTBIN was running at 60°c, straw on the other hand is tougher and will take longer to compost. Mixed with chicken poop will definitely speed it up.

Santa’s Reindeers Droppings and other Pet Waste

Most composting sites advocate the composting of herbivore waste only (plant grazing) and not carnivore due to pathogens in the waste. This is usually associated with cold composting methods where the heap does not reach the hot temperatures required to destroy pathogens.

Whilst we have written more on the subject, it is important to understand that when the HOTBIN is operating at higher temperatures of 40-60°c, pathogens in the waste should no longer be an issue as they are killed off at these high temperatures – so even Santa can pop Rudolph’s droppings in the HOTBIN.

If adding cat waste, note that pelleted and wood based litter can be composted  however white zeolite and similar clay based litters although can go in,  will remain in your finished compost due to their material make up.

Chicken poo even  works as an accelerator and is good for giving the HOTBIN a heat boost!

NOTE: It is important to check the internal bin temperature is between 40-60°c before adding the waste. This can be done by inserting a thermometer into the top 5-10cm of waste..

Always Remember: Good hygiene is essential with any animal waste, wear gloves at all times, wipe down areas that have come into contact with pet waste and of course always wash your hands.