critter proof compost bins

Asked January 4, 2019, 3:22 PM EST

I compost in my Kensington, Maryland backyard but am unable to keep critters out--raccoons, squirrels and rats, not to mention my dogs! I've tried many things but nothing has worked so far. I took a class about 5 years ago on building a "Fort Knox" 3-bin compost system offered by DC Urban Farms. They promised follow-up written plans but despite several requests, I haven't been able to obtain them. Are you familiar with the system or similar designs, and if so, can you offer instructions?

Montgomery County Maryland compost

6 Responses

We have a template for a basic wire compost bin here on our website: Watch our brief video to see other options you could try. A type of bin with wire mesh (chicken wire or hardware cloth) attached to the sides and top/bottom will help to exclude critters from your compost.

In addition, be sure not to compost meats, dairy products, oils, fats, processed foods or bones, which can attract rats, raccoons, etc.

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection offers composting workshops periodically. Check out their web page (at the bottom) for contact information.


Thank you for your response. The problem is that wire bins do not keep critters or dogs out even though we do not compost any of the things you mention. I've tried them, and other designs as well.

The design I'm looking for is made of wood and hardware cloth with wooden slats in front that slide in or out to reach the compost. It sits on concrete pavers to keep critters out. There is a lid that latches. It described as rodent-proof.

Here is a link to the story:

Here's the instructions page for Compost Knox:

You have to pay for more detailed plans.

Yes, I know that. That's why I was asking whether Maryland had a similar design or program. This design was developed for DC as a public service and is part of DC's composting program.

I actually would pay for the detailed plans, but the link goes nowhere.

UME does not have a similar program or design.