Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Saturday 28 June 2008

Killing animals

This year we have had horrendous problems with both Rats and Squirrels eating our food crops.

Remember...we grow stuff to live on, this is our food for the next year, so this is a fairly major issue for us to deal with.

The squirrels have eaten all the pears off of our 2 pear trees and stripped two of the eight apple trees in the orchard of ALL the apples.

Added to this, the squirrels have got into the polytunnel and started eating the crops in there as well...and as well as feeding us for the summer, I sell stuff made from them as well as preserving the surplus for use over the winter.

Last year we lost ALL our sweetcorn and most of the pumpkins to squirrel damage....and the rats are eating our eggs, upsetting the hens and destroying crops before they are harvestable in the PT.....

So...the rats and squirrels HAVE to go...after a few years of "live and let live"(when they DIDN'T eat our crops) they are now a major problem.

And we HAVE to do something...

So...we have now got a live trap for the squirrels, Eradibait bait boxes for the rats everywhere and an air gun to dispatch either anything caught in the traps or which we can shoot on the fly...

and since yesterday tea time Compostman has killed 8 squirrels...thats 8 in less that 24 hours...:-0

Today at tea time we caught another squirrel. We have talked about the trapping of these vermin before, and Compostmiss wanted to go and see the newly trapped squirrel and watch it being shot. Compostman was not sure about this as he was concerned about her being distressed to see what was involved...but she DID watch..and was fine. She was sad about the need to do it, but understood WHY we needed to do it...we have had lots of talks about stuff like this...and we were proud of her that she understands the distinctions involved here.

But oh I really wish the rats and squirrels would just bugger off! ...and then we WOULDN'T have to kill them like this......we have 3 acres of wildlife woodland which we actively manage for wildlife for Gods sake..why can they not just GO AWAY and live in it......

I hate doing all this I really do.....but it HAS to be done...



  1. CW - I understand the anguish you're feeling here. Not an easy decision to take, but I think you have taken the right one in these circumstances.

    I think Compostmiss should also be congratulated on having such a mature attitude to things and you should definitely be very proud of her.

  2. It is sad, but sometimes needs must...

    Well done Compostmiss though.

  3. Thank you both for your kind comments...it is not nice but it must be done...( sigh)

    and yes Compostmiss did well there we think...she wanted to see that it was killed quickly and didn't seem to be in any pain...and she did.

    She wishes , like me, that they would go away into the wood and stop bothering us but as we tried feeding them in the wood ( to distract them from our stuff!) and they STILL came and ate our crops...they sealed their fate this week I am afraid.

  4. Have you considered eating the squirrels? I've heard they taste pretty good.

  5. *I* have, Earthwoman!...but some other people in the household are not so keen....(sigh)

    so the cat is VERY well fed at the mo......


    Thanks for commenting!

  6. The squirrels have eaten all the strawberries on my plot and the annoying thing is they even take the green ones and take a bite out of them and throw it away because it's not ripe grrrr!!

    I totally understand what your doing although I think you should make use out of the meat. How about squirrel burgers??

  7. I am the only one who is willing to eat it...so we are giving them to Kitty, which saves buying cat meat!

    He used to catch them for himself ( He was the VERY big B and W cat you may have seen when you were here last summer...) but now he is nearly 16 he has slowed down a bit...he has only had 1 squirrel and 2 rats in the last month!

    I will MAKE them eat Rabbit, though, if I shoot one!

    2 more shot today...so that brings the total to 12 in 6 days...and the damage has stopped..( well there is not much left for them to steal now!)


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.