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Bear-Resistant Compost Bin
Old 06-27-2009, 06:37 PM   #1
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Bear-Resistant Compost Bin

This is an update of this thread:

That bear was relocated, or moved on, and I started composting again. But a new bear moved in, and dismantled the bin again:

CompostBinMeetsBear 001.jpg

So I cleaned it up
Composter 005.jpg
and sold it on Craigslist, and bought this barrel which used to contain olives.
BearResistantCompostBin 002.jpg

I drilled some holes in it, and loaded it up. I roll it around on the ground if I want to mix the compost.

If there were salmon inside, I'll bet the bear could open it, but it's pretty tough, and I'm hoping he won't try so hard to get corn husks, banana peels, and such. A neighbor has a similar arrangement, and it's worked out so far.
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Old 06-27-2009, 08:07 PM   #2
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I drilled some holes in it, and loaded it up. I roll it around on the ground if I want to mix the compost.
I don't have any bears, but I have a dumb compost question.

I used to have three compost piles in separate open bays at the bottom of an outdoor staircase. I'd fill one up and then start filling the next while frequently mixing & watering the first one. By the time I was filling the third bay, the first was ready for "harvest". The local mongoose loved this system, and today we have a small papaya orchard where the bays used to be.

Our city finally started recycling green waste and our vermiposter has greatly cut back on our composting, so I thought I'd move to a smaller compost container in the side yard (no steps to climb). About four feet tall, it fills from the top and has small hatches at the bottom of the sides for extracting the finished product. I mix it up and keep it moist but I only focus on the top couple of feet while the bottom two feet finish decomposing. The mongoose hates having to climb to the top of the container but he's hungry enough to succeed. Papaya seeds render earthworms sterile so I still compost the seeds, but now I freeze them before adding them to the container.

I'm enamored of a barrel system, and we already have three 55-gallon plastic barrels. But if you're rolling it around to mix it then how do you separate the old decomposing compost from last night's dinner scraps? Do you have to use 2-3 barrels in sequence like my bays, or do you fill one barrel and then not add to it until it's all done a month or two later?
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:51 PM   #3
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Here in Alberta, we have bear-proof waste bins and they ought to work for composting (or other purposes). They are square cross-section and at about a 15 degree angle. They have a latch that requires fingers to go in and pull towards yourself. Apparently the is not something bears can do. They have hands much like ours.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:52 PM   #4
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He's out there working on it right now!





This third picture shows him pulling the barrel into the woods.



I yelled and threw some wood at him, but it didn't faze him. He is really banging away at the bin, and I bet he'll get it opened.

You should hear him breathing. I don't want to mess with this guy.
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:06 AM   #5
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He's out there working on it right now!
That bear's going to be mightily pissed when he figures out that there's no reward for turning your compost for you...
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Old 06-29-2009, 05:52 AM   #6
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They can be persistent and "cute" but very dangerous too. I often have to put my bird feeders in the barn at night. Be careful Al.
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:32 AM   #7
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So, did he get it open?
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:48 AM   #8
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Right, that was the $64K question, and I couldn't wait to find out. I figured there was a 50/50 chance that he got his claws under the edge of the lid, and pulled it off.

And the answer is: No, he didn't get in!

The bin was a 50 feet into the woods in the morning (note, I didn't go out looking until daylight -- the flash just makes it look like it's dark out):



And the lid was still on -- yay!

Here are the holes he made:





I'm guessing that once he can get two claws into a hole, he'll be able to rip it open.

I may strap it to a tree, but it's true that it's nice to have him mix the compost for me.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:34 AM   #9
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And he gave you a little extra aeration for the bin.

The city in CA where I was living had a zoo with a couple of brown bears. A few companies that wanted to test whether their products were bear proof would bring them to the zoo and let Fisher the bear test them out. He got most of them open, too.
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