What do you do with a dead hamster when the ground is frozen? Update post 23 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 12-21-2009, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The last two hamsters got buried in the backyard (AFTER they died!) But right now there's 15 inches of snow on the ground and the ground itself is frozen solid.

Silky hasn't moved from his sleeping corner in a few days, and he's definitely been on the decline for weeks. I kept on checking to see if he was breathing, and we weren't sure. Today we're sure. He's not breathing, and his body is cold.

We can't flush him down the toilet like we did with the goldfish. I don't want to feed him to the neighbor's cat (which may happen anyway if we don't bury him deep enough.) Nor do I want to cremate him in the same oven we cook food in!


So what do we do with Silky?

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#2 of 25 Old 12-21-2009, 11:37 PM
 
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I've been known to double (or triple, quadruple, etc) bag them, and put them in the freezer until the ground thawed.

Not everyone is willing to do that though.

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#3 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 12:29 AM
 
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That's what I'd do. At the vet's, deceased pets are always put into the freezer til they are picked up by the cremation service. If you don't want to take care of it yourself, you might call your vet and see if they'd take him.
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#4 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 12:29 AM
 
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I'd do the freezer. Way in the back in a few freezer bags.

Or bury him in a potted plant outside.

Or take him to your local vet for disposal.

Or take him to a local river stream and have a burial at sea. Assuming there's one that isn't frozen solid.

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#5 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 02:05 AM
 
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I'm sorry for your loss.

Freezer or burial at sea/stream.

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#6 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 02:40 AM
 
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I'm sorry for your loss.

When our pet rat died last winter, I wrapped her in flannel, double bagged, and put her in the deep freeze until the ground thawed.

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#7 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 04:02 AM
 
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We stuck the ferret between the hamster and the eggos until the ground thawed and then we had a mass buriel.

So sad your pet died.
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#8 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What does it cost to have a vet dispose of an animal?

I'm uncomfortable putting him in the freezer because our "extra" freezer broke, so the only option is putting him in the same freezer where we keep food. We have barely enough freezer space as it is, and I just can't see having food touching a dead pet. A vet (and a morgue) have special freezers dedicated to this purpose.

It's certainly not cold enough for the ocean or streams to freeze, but we're also in too populated an area for there to be any "wild" streams, far from roads or homes. I'm pretty sure I'd be in violation of dumping/littering laws if we did a burial at sea.

The potted plant may work, especially if we keep the plant inside for a while. The only problem is that our large plant pots are outside buried under 15 inches of snow!

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#9 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 10:07 AM
 
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Outdoor firepit? Maybe not... I like the potted plant idea. Or even just put him under a massive pile of stones until it's thawed?
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#10 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 10:42 AM
 
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Sorry for your loss When one of my birds died during the winter, we put him in a small box and stored it in the freezer until the ground thawed. I know you're not too keen on doing that. I guess it wouldn't hurt to call your vet and see if they have any suggestions.

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#11 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 12:20 PM
 
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I would NOT throw a dead animal into a body of water. Just because wild animals might end up there doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Nor would I use fire. I've smelled burning hair, and believe me, it's not something you want to do on purpose. And even a little hamster meat roasting on an open fire might smell like browning hamburger, and I don't think you want to remember Silky as lunch meat.

My Mom's freezer has been full of various dead animals over the years: ducks, geese, gophers, squirrels. My brother has been know to throw things in the freezer without even bagging them. No harm ahs ever come to any of our food as a result.

Since it's cold enough for your ground to be frozen, you can probably freeze your hamster outside (in a couple of zip-locks). Once he's frozen, he should be perfectly safe in the freezer, and he shouldn't take up much room. You might want to wrap him in a paper bag and mark it, so you don't have to look at him when you're taking things out of the freezer.

Sorry about your pet - it's never easy, even when you know they're going to have a short life-span.

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#12 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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Might want to double check about the ground being frozen, I know we got a TON of snow to begin with so the ground underneath is insulated and not quite frozen yet. Plus if it's closer to your house foundation (flowerbeds perhaps?) it may not be frozen more than an inch or two on top.

It's not illegal to double bag and toss in the garbage can but it sounds like you want to do something a little more sentimental

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#13 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
What does it cost to have a vet dispose of an animal?
I wish I could find my paperwork from when we had our dog put down, but I can't locate it.

I know they charged by the pound, and it wasn't awful because our dog was only five pounds. A hamster would probably be inexpensive, and if you have a long relationship with your vet, they might even do it for free. I brought a very, very ill stray kitten to the vet when I was 16, and the doc ate the cost of euthanasia and disposal.
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#14 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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Might want to double check about the ground being frozen, I know we got a TON of snow to begin with so the ground underneath is insulated and not quite frozen yet.
Yeah, that's what I was going to suggest. We had to bury a mouse a week or two ago, and the soil where I dug wasn't frozen. I thought it might be, but digging was easy. And it should be a lot warmer on Long Island than it is up here.
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#15 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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Also, you might be able to skip the vet as the middle man entirely. Vets send their deceased animals to animal crematoriums. If the pet is already dead then in my experience there is no reason why you have to go to the vet. You can call the crematorium yourselves. If you don't want the pet's ashes back, they might do it for very cheap, or even for free, if you just explain the situation. They can put him in with other deceased pets whose ashes aren't being returned (they usually offer a "community scattering" of those ashes, where they scatter them on their grounds).

It looks like there is a crematorium on Long Island, but the website doesn't give any prices.

I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope you figure out something to do with him that makes you comfortable.

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#16 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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Our vet put to sleep our sick chicken and disposed of her for free.

The county says to double bag and throw dead animals into the trash, which I will admit I have done to murdered (by predators) chickens before since if we buried them in our yard the dogs would just dig them up. Sad, but sometimes the only logical choice!

Once when our pet lizard died over the winter, when I was a teenager, I told my parents that I threw him away when I really hid him in the freezer wrapped in foil and put in a couple ziplock bags.

What if you got a couple big buckets of hot salt water and dumped them on the ground, then dug the hole and buried it? Then you could put a rock on top and pile snow back over it so that nothing would dig it up.

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#17 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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I'm not sure what to do in your case. We recently lost one of our cats. Due to the weather and my DH's weird work hours, we were not able to bury him right away. We wrapped him up extra carefully and placed him in our deep freezer. We still had some food items in there. The freezer didn't become nasty or anything. With something as small as a hamster, I really don't think it would hurt anything to wrap him up REALLY well in plastic and place him in your regular freezer. I would probably place him underneath everything else (that way he wouldn't go flying with every freezer avalanche-- unless you don't have those... ) It really won't hurt anything.

If you're still not comfy with that, then I dunno. Good luck though! I hope you figure something out soon. Sorry for your furbaby loss.

I'm me. In love with this guy. We're bringing up two girls: Big A (8) and Little A (3)

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#18 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LeahBoo View Post
I've been known to double (or triple, quadruple, etc) bag them, and put them in the freezer until the ground thawed.
This is what the vets suggest here, although I also second the suggestion to make sure the ground is really frozen - it may not be.

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#19 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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if you have a long relationship with your vet, they might even do it for free.
I don't have ANY relationship with a vet- I was going to go to yellowpages.com and search for one in my area.

I'll talk to my daughters later and see if they want to try digging in the cold ground. Putting him out with the next trash pickup certainly is an option, but it somehow seems disrespectful.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#20 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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The burial in a potted plant outside until warmer weather idea is one I'd never thought of, would that work for you?

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#21 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 09:42 PM
 
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I'd be really careful about digging if the ground is frozen. If you don't bury the pets deep enough, they may get dug up. We had a hamster dug up when I was a kid, it was somewhat traumatic.

We did the cremation of my rabbit through the vet (he died there), and I think (I could be totally wrong) it was about 30 or 35 dollars paid to the vet? (presumably partly for them partly for the cremation company). It was where they cremate it with a bunch of other pets and then scatter the ashes on their property.

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#22 of 25 Old 12-22-2009, 11:55 PM
 
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Lol, when our gerbil died we wrapped it in a wash cloth and put it in the freezer so we could bury it when the ground thawed. So we did. 5 years later.

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#23 of 25 Old 12-23-2009, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So we had the hamster funeral last night. DD2 was able to clear a patch of snow and then dig a deep enough hole in the ground. Turns out the ground wasn't frozen after all, even though it's buried under more than a foot of snow.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#24 of 25 Old 12-23-2009, 02:16 PM
 
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The snow acts as a nice insulating blanket, keeping the ground from freezing. Ground freezes a lot faster and deeper when there is little or no snow cover.

If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

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#25 of 25 Old 12-23-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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I'm glad your daughter was able to send her little furry friend off the way she wanted to.

I'm me. In love with this guy. We're bringing up two girls: Big A (8) and Little A (3)

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