5 Easy Steps for Composting Dead Livestock
(AS1781 Dec. 2015)
Dead animals are an inevitable part of a livestock operation. Livestock owners can dispose of dead animals by composting. This guide offers step-by-step instructions for a livestock owner to follow.
Mary Berg, Area Livestock Environmental Management Specialist, Carrington Research Extension Center
Paige Brummund, Ward County Extension agent; Alicia E. Harstad, Stutsman County Extension agent; Penny L. Nester, Kidder County Extension agent
Availability: Web only
- Base material: straw, old hay, coarse crop residues (corn stalks)
- Bulking material: manure or spoiled silage
- Cover material: straw, old hay, sawdust
Place 2 feet of base material in pile or long row, depending on number of carcasses to be composted.
Lay carcass on top of base. Have at least 1 foot of base material between perimeter of carcass and edge of base.
If composting cattle, puncture the rumen to prevent it from exploding.
Cover carcass with 8 to 10 inches of bulking material.
Cover the entire pile or long row with 2 feet of cover material.
Things To Remember
- Make sure pile always has sufficient cover material.
- Turn pile every six months from early spring to late fall.
- To accelerate composting, turn pile every two months from early spring to late fall.
- Do not disturb pile or long row during winter months.
- Existing compost can be used to cover new piles or long row sections.