Sweet, Sweet Compost: The Hydrated Lime Trick

Here’s an old trick that might help you: if you sprinkle hydrated lime on top of your compost heap, pets and wildlife won’t dig it up, flies won’t land there, and there will be no smell.

Not that compost heaps are supposed to smell if you do it right, but our compost heap has broiler-processing waste in it — such as blood, feathers, and offal — which are mighty tempting to your average raccoon. Trowel on some hydrated lime, and voila! Problem solved.

This came to mind when our dalmatian, Sammi, went for an unauthorized dig in the compost heap. Yuck! Shame on us for forgetting the lime.

Hydrated lime should be available in any building supply or farm store. Feed stores carry it for some reason — don’t ask me. It’s a slightly caustic, very fine powder, so don’t get it in your eyes when you use it. It doubles as a soil amendment. It’s good for your compost heap.

I’ve also used it for hen repellent. The hens don’t like it, but it doesn’t seem to cause them any distress. They just avoid areas with a heavy dusting of hydrated lime. I use it to make them stop laying in inappropriate places. (I discovered this by accident; I thought it would be a good thing to add to a dust bath, but they avoided it instead.)

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Author: Robert Plamondon

Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, is an expert on free-range chickens, and is a semi-struggling novelist. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years. In addition, he holds down a day job doing technical writing at Workspot.

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