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I was a "heap" kinda woman, having 2 or three piles going, not bothering with turning, since I wasn't in a hurry (they always were lovely rich earth if I just waited a year). And lately, I've been using tire stacks.

But I'm a suburban homesteader, and turns out, there's an endemic rat problem in the area. I certainly won't eliminate them by withholding compost, but at least I don't want to be actively inviting them.

And I can afford to purchase those too-small raised barrel composters and such. And I know that rats can go right through chicken wire (as well as hard plastic). So I'm thinking I need to lay down hardware cloth, and then build something above it.

Any ideas for something I can put together? I'm sure I can manage something, but I figure this is also not a new problem, and you guys probably have experience I can benefit from. I'm thinking the tire stacks could be all I need, if I underline the stack with hardware cloth, and drop a heavy cover on top? What do you think?
 

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I had to separate my kitchen scraps and my yard waste... I built raised barrel composters for my kitchen scraps and pile my yard waste.

You could also try bokashi for kitchen scraps. I don't think it's possible to keep rats out of a pile, I doubt my raised barrels could even keep one out if they really wanted to get in there...
 

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Oh, those handsome. And looks like high enough you could just turn and empty into a wheelbarrow.
 

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If you go on the Center for Disease Control site there's good information on control of rats and mice. Here in the southwest, I'm concerned about Hantavirus.

Since I can't control the rats outside my home, I keep the truck & CRV hoods cracked open in the winter, all wood piles way away from the house, all animal & bird food in metal bins w/ lids, pick up dog poop every other day, check my sheds frequently and use a lot of steel wool or caulking in any crack. Nasty, sneaky buggers!

Since they like the dark, how about putting a light with a timer on it shining at night on the compost pile? Or building a box around your piles with metal sheets?
 
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What Floyd posted. But, put a little motor on it so that it turns every minute and a half. If you add brown matter (manure) you will have fully composted material pretty quickly, like in days. There is a recipe, which I don’t have, but my FIL did research on it at Central Michigan University. They had compost from sawdust and cow manure in 72 hours. You have to have the right balance, of course. But, even just tossing stuff in your will get compost fully broken down much faster than leaving it in a pile.
 

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Find someone to take some 1/4" steel and weld you a box with a very tight fitting lid and you MIGHT have something that is rat proof. IOW, its next to impossible to build something rat proof. I know I've raised the critters.

If they want in, or out, they'll snip through your hardware cloth almost as easily as you could using wire cutters.

A couple of feral cats kept hungry would be your best bet for keeping the rats away.
 
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