Can You Compost Chicken Bones?

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Quick Answer: Can You Compost Chicken Bones?

Yes, you can compost chicken bones. But, these materials take too long to decompose and break down fully. Also, they are attractive to scavenging animals. So, it is not recommended to compost chicken bones in the standard home composting pile. You may try hot composting or the Bokashi method for composting chicken bones.

This guide will answer the caveats in composting chicken bones.

Head over to this informative guide to find out how to compost chicken bone in the garden!

Can You Compost Chicken Bones?

Yes, you can compost chicken bones but they take a long time to decompose. Also, the problem with composting chicken bones is that it may attract bluebottles and vermins. It can make the compost heap unpleasant.

Also, the standard home composting pile may not be hot enough to kill the harbor pathogens in the meat products.

So, it is preferable not to compost chicken bones with other fruit and vegetable wastes.

Some gardeners suggest fermenting chicken bones in a Bokashi bucket. Alternatively, you may bury them in a hot compost pile where they may decompose faster and release a few odors.

Check out this video if you can compost chicken bones:

How To Compost Chicken Bones With Ease?

Chicken bones require high temperatures between 120 and 170oF to kill the harmful pathogens. Add them to a hot compost bin for speedier decomposition.

The different steps in composting chicken bones are as follows:

  • Process the chicken bones– Boil the meat off the chicken bones for 20 minutes. Alternatively, cook them in your oven or wood fire. The chicken carcass can be broken into smaller pieces using a mortar and pestle or joint secateurs.
  • Add them to the compost pile– Bury the chicken bones in the center of the hot compost bin where the temperatures are hottest. Add brown materials, including sawdust, shredded paper, and grass clippings.
  • Maintain the compost pile– The contents of the compost pile should feel like a sponge wrung out well. Monitor the temperature regularly. Once the pile starts to cool down, turn the pile. It will aerate the compost pile and kickstart the microbial activity.

How To Compost Chicken Bones Using Bokashi Bucket?

Chicken bones may be composted using a Bokashi bucket. It makes use of a special inoculated bran to ferment the chicken bones and remove pathogens associated with meat bones. The fermented product may be later added to a compost pile to break them down.

But, bones take a long time to break down even after they have been through the Bokashi composter. You may make bone broth to soften the bones.

These softened bones will ferment faster in the Bokashi bucket.

Else, you may grind them into smaller bones or smash them with a hammer before adding them to the Bokashi bucket.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Composting Chicken Bones?

The raw, unprocessed chicken bones can be composted but have a few downsides when placed in a compost pile. It may attract pests and wild animals, spread the possible infection, and may smell bad.

The remnants of raw meat on the bones will draw ants, flies, rats, and slugs to the compost pile.

Also, they may harbor harmful pathogens that may survive the composting process and spread the disease to the crops. Also, the rotting meat will add a foul smell to the compost pile.

How To Make Bone Meal Fertilizer At Home?

Bone meal fertilizer is a nutrient-rich formulation made by grinding piles of bones. It can enrich the soil with high levels of phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, and calcium.

Remove the remnant of fat and meat from the bones. You may also scrape them thoroughly. Alternatively, pressure cook the bones for five minutes.

Bake them at 400-450oF until they are dry. Keep them aside and cool them.

Transfer the bones to a sack and smash them into tiny fragments. Grind the small fragments in a blender to form a fine mixture.  Mix them with wood ash and sprinkle them on the garden bed.


Is chicken bones biodegradable?

Yes, chicken bones are biodegradable as they are organic materials. They will decompose naturally when placed in the landfill. But, they will take a far longer time to biodegrade due to their hardened structure.

How long will it take for chicken bones to decompose?

Chicken bones may take two months or more to decompose. The rate of decomposition will depend on the volume of the bones used and the compost pile conditions. It may take lesser time if the compost pile is regularly turned and the moisture content of the pile is maintained.

Can you add cooked chicken bones to the compost pile?

Yes, cooked chicken bones can be added to the hot compost pile. It is preferable to break the larger bones into smaller pieces for easier breakdown. Also, the cooked chicken bones will deter the spread of harmful bacteria.

Bottom Line

Hopefully, this guide on composting chicken bones will be handy when you are composting them at home. If you have tried any other method of decomposing chicken bones, let us know.