Can You Compost Bones? – The Ultimate Guide

Our experienced writers spend hours deep researching, considering both scientific and experimental info to bring the insights you can trust.  

In Brief: Can You Compost Bones?

Definitely Yes, Bones and meat scraps can be placed in the compost pile. They enrich your soil with a variety of micro and macronutrients. Composting animal products is discouraged in many composting manuals due to the risk of attracting bugs and producing unpleasant odors. However, If you follow some simple steps mentioned in this guide, you’ll be good to go.

This guide will take you through simple steps and precautions to take care of composting bones.

Let’s get started.

Can You Compost Bones?

Bones are composed of calcium phosphate and collagen fibers, which can benefit the garden, and plants get more calcium.

The fungus and bacteria that live in the compost bin eat the collagen proteins, whereas the acids break the calcium phosphate, and this is how the disintegration of bone starts.

Bones take a lot of time to decompose because they are built complexly. Decomposition of bones may even take years, if not decades. The processed bones are quick to decompose.

Boiling the bones makes them delicate, allowing them to decay considerably more quickly than raw bones.

Bones enrich your compost with nutrients. If you’re planning to use bones in your compost more often, consider changing the materials in your compost to favor more acidic conditions, which will accelerate bone breakdown.

Bones can be composted along with some other green wastes like rotten veggies or fruits, although it’s not recommended.

What Kinds of Bones Can I Compost?

Different types of animal bones can be used in composting, such as chicken bones, fish bones, pork bones, etc.

Chicken Bones – Chicken Bones are compostable. The most excellent part about composting chicken bones is that they are relatively small; thus they break down naturally faster than other bones.

On the other hand, cooked chicken bones are better for composting to prevent the spread of hazardous bacteria.

Chicken bones are beneficial to the soil and can be used as fertilizer in the garden. It’s a time-consuming operation, but the result is beneficial to the soil.

Pork Bones – Pig bones are also compostable, but because they are thicker than chicken bones, they may take considerably longer to decompose.

It would be best to process pork bones before adding them to your compost bin.

The marrow and any remaining meat will disintegrate far more quickly than the bone.

Fish Bones – Fish bones are the easiest to compost since they are small and thin, allowing them to break down and decompose quickly.

Fishbones don’t need to be processed because they decompose quickly.

However, you might want to bury them two feet or more profound. Allowing fish scraps to dry before putting them in the compost bin significantly decreases odor issues.

How To Compost Bones With Ease?

Following these procedures is the best approach to compost bones:

  1. Boil the bones (30-60mins) – You should start by boiling the bones to soften them, which also aids in cleaning them by removing any remaining meat, cartilage, or seasoning.
    • Boiling should take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes (depending on the volume and size of bones). After boiling, the bones should be clean and devoid of any remaining meat or cartilage.
  2. Bake the bones – The bones are dried and made brittle enough to be easily crushed into smaller bits. Placing bones on a baking sheet and baking them for one hour.
    • After 30 minutes, look for indications of browning on the bones. Allow cooling after removing from oven once dry.
  3. Crush the bones – You can use a mallet or a mortar and pestle. The key goal is to avoid leaving large chunks that will take longer to degrade.
    • It makes little difference what you use to crush the bones as long as they’re completely broken up into small bits. This allows the particles to break down more quickly in a compost pile.
  4. Adding in Compost – Place the crushed bones in the center of the pile. The action is in the midst of a compost pile, where bacteria are actively breaking down organic material, which heats the compost and speeds up the breakdown of materials.

Decomposition can be observed in a matter of months rather than years.

Advantages of Composting Bones

Composting bones though seems more complex than other animal products. It still has a lot of benefits that are stated below.

Rich Source of Nitrogen – Bones are a rich source of nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the vital nutrients required by microorganisms and other insects in the compost pit. Nitrogen also aids the creation of chlorophyll in plants and is vital for plant structure.

Improved Development of Plants – Major portions of bone constitutes calcium in the form of calcium carbonate.

Calcium carbonate aids in the formation of robust cells in plants and is crucial for efficient cell development. Overall, bones are a fantastic source of nourishment for plants.

Limitations of Composting Bones

Some home composting guides do not recommend bones and other animal products because of the following reasons:

Odor Problems – Animal byproducts like bones create odors because they have significant nitrogen content in ammonia. Try to keep the pile moderately moist and not wet. Keep the compost warm enough so that the bacteria works actively rather than sitting there and rotting the pile.

Attract Pests – Bones compost often attract flies and pests such as rodents. If the compost pit doesn’t receive enough heat, bones can attract pests and harbor pathogens like E.Coli bacteria.

Bokashi Composting: Another Way of Composting Bones

If you don’t want to go through all these hustles of boiling, baking and crushing the bones. There is still one other option if you don’t want to throw your leftover dinner bones into the bin.

Bokashi composting is an anaerobic technique that ferments kitchen trash using inoculated bran. A bokashi bin differs from other composting systems in the home. Meat bones can be safely added to a bokashi bin.

Bokashi composting is popular because it removes the pathogens involved in composting bones. The bokashi composting process ferments the bones, making them less appealing to pests.

Can you put chicken bones in compost?

Yes, You can put chicken bones in the compost, whether cooked or raw. On the other hand, cooked chicken bones are best composted because they prevent the spread of hazardous bacteria.

Can you compost turkey bones?

Yes, You can compost turkey bones without ease. Boiling these turkey bones to decompose faster, grinding them in powdered form, and adding them in your compost.

Can you compost rib bones?

Yes, Composting rib bones is feasible though it may take a lot of time if you add them raw without processing. If they aren’t already cooked, boil them and break the bones into small pieces with secateurs and a hammer.

Final Words

We hope this guide helped you know everything about composting bones of different kinds and the best conditions for better decomposition.

If you have any queries regarding composting bones, please write them down in the comments. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any other tips to add to our guide to make it even more informative!

Do share this with your friends and family to help them out in too!