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 11 April 2009

Slaughter of the innocents

What IS it with my animals?

First it was moles, now it is shrews!

See how small it is?

They have very sensitive snouts and whiskers.

This one was unfortunately dead when we got to it, but we HAVE rescued many, alive and wriggling and vocal. Watch out if you ever have to handle one, as shrews bite hard and they, too , have venomous saliva!

and now the hens are getting in on the act! These are of Henny, she caught this live shrew and ran off with it, the other hens following her like a macabre Benny Hill chase scene, before she managed to find the time to swallow it whole. :-(

We find at least 3 dead ones a day, usually inside the dining room. I think the cats have the (misguided) idea that as WE eat in there, THEY should as well?

And we are constantly rescuing other wildlife at the moment...

Sometimes I think I live in a madhouse ;-)


  1. Oh yes, we have had the 'Benny Hill' style chase around the garden many times when the cats bring a live mouse into the hen's area and then drop it .... only to find that two raptor-like creatures will hunt it down and swallow it whole!! (usually accompanied by me, in dressing gown or nightie, plus wellies, shouting "drop it Treacle!! Oh my god, Honey, don't swallow that thing whole, Yikes!!)

    You're not the only one living in a mad house!

    Willow xx

  2. You do well to rescue live voles - usually they get so stressed out by just the action of being captured, they pop their clogs anyway. Our cats are happy with butterflies at the moment, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they go back to the mice and vole diet again.

    Thanks so much for leaving a comment over at my place today about the spambot experience at your end of things and sorry once again. I know understand a little more about how the spamming process works. Thank goodness you only got 3 messages though - one of my regular commenters got 50 :(

    Have a good Easter.

  3. Don't worry about the spam VP..its all part of being a blogger, unfortunately!

    The picture shows a shrew ( a common shrew I think, pigmy shrews are even smaller with even pointier noses!)

    but the cats DO bring in bank voles, yellow necked mice, wood mice and ( whisper) the late Monty puss brought in a dormouse once, which I managed to rescue and release. The worst "present" was a live Moorhen, which was brought in through 3 cat flaps, 3 rooms and then killed ( very messily) all over the sitting room carpet...that was done by Kitty Cat many years ago, in his "catching Hares, Rabbits and full grown cock Pheasants on the wing" days...

    I wish the young cats would bring back something edible, for a change, I don't really fancy shrew...(!)

  4. Shouldn't have said that..really should learn to keep my mouth firmly shut...(!)

  5. I just had one of my hens run off with a dead hummingbird that my cat caught the other day. She grabbed it and off the flock ran figuring that she had the yummiest treat ever! Wild world of chickens!


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.