Can You Compost Chicken Bones? (3 Easy Methods)

Who doesn’t enjoy chicken? It’s one of the most delicious meals of the day, and you’d undoubtedly save the leftover chicken for the next day, but what about the bones? Is it possible to reuse leftover chicken bones? How can you reuse them? Will they decompose? Can you compost chicken bones at home? Let’s get started to find out.

You can compost chicken bones in your regular food composter. The best way is to cook the bones and chop them into small chunks before adding them to the compost bin. Chicken bones are a great compost ingredient as they provide calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients.

Are Chicken Bones Good for Soil and Compost?

You’ve probably heard that animal bones, like chicken and fish bones, are not compostable as they take a long time to decay. While this may be true, it doesn’t imply that bones are not beneficial to the soil.

In fact, chicken bones are advantageous to soil health and plant growth as they provide the plants with healthy, organic phosphate and calcium nutrients. So, when you compost chicken bones, you will get a beneficial, natural bone meal fertilizer for your garden.

How to Compost Chicken Bones?

With certain measures, you can compost chicken bones in your regular composting bin with other food scraps and garden waste.

Because chicken bones are a solid substance, they will take longer to biodegrade, so it is best to compost cooked chicken bones.

Simply place them in your oven or small wood fire in your backyard to burn. Cooked bones will decompose faster and are less likely to attract pests and harmful bacteria to the pile.

Also, do not place the chicken bones intact in your compost bin; instead, break them into smaller pieces before tossing them in. This will aid biodegradation.

When composted through regular cold composting, bones may take much longer to turn into a healthy soil additive. So, if you need your compost sooner, consider other efficient composting methods. We’ve discussed them below.

Best Methods to Compost Chicken Bones

Chicken bones are compostable and, in fact, healthy addition to the compost pile. However, because of their hard texture, they rot away differently than other food waste, resulting in slower composting.

If you’re dead set on composting chicken bones, here are two more effective methods to try:

1. Hot Composting:

As the name implies, Hot composting is a composting process in which the microbial activity, moisture, nitrogen-to-carbon balance, and temperature of the compost pile are maintained and optimized for faster decomposition.

To decompose stiff materials such as animal bones, your compost pile must be very active and hot. Hot composting is one of the most effective methods for composting materials that may not decompose properly in a normal food waste composter.

Hot Composting

Follow these steps to begin hot composting to reduce your garbage disposal of bones and meat:

Step 1. Pick a Yard Corner:

First, choose a suitable composting location in your garden or yard. It’s best to pick a spot where odors, leakage, and insects will not be a nuisance.

Hot composting needs a larger area to build up the heat, so getting a compost bin is advisable.

Step 2. Add the first brown layer:

Once you’ve set up your composting bin, it’s time to add ingredients. Add the first layer of brown materials, including yard waste such as dried leaves, twigs, dry grass clippings, sawdust, newspaper, paper plates, paper bag, paper towel, cardboard pieces, etc.

The brown material contains carbon and serves as an energy source for the microorganisms working in the compost heap.

Step 3. Add the second green layer:

You must first make some preparations before adding the green layer. First, chop the chicken bone into smaller chunks, and if you’re adding meat, remove all of the fat and chop it as well.

Hot composting may need more nitrogen-rich green materials than regular composting. So, add all of your kitchen scraps, like cooked food, citrus peels, meat scraps, raw bones, coffee filter, eggshell, and so on. Don’t use too many oily ingredients.

Step 4. Repeat the layers:

If you have more organic waste, you can alternate the layers. Maintain the 1:3 nitrogen-to-carbon ratio by completing with a brown layer on top.

Finally, water your pile but don’t overwater it. The pile should be moist but not dripping.

Remember that solid material, such as bone meal, should be kept in the pile’s center, where it is the hottest.

Step 5. Maintain your compost pile:

Hot composting needs proper and consistent maintenance for waste to decompose more quickly. Make sure your pile is moist and aerated.

Take the temperature of your compost pile regularly and keep it between 140- and 155-degrees Fahrenheit.

If the pile becomes too hot, turn it to allow some air to circulate, and if it becomes too cold, add more nitrogen material. Add more brown organic material if your pile begins to stink or leak.

Step 6. Harvest the finished compost:

Given that the compost bin is constantly optimized, you should harvest the finished compost in 2-3 months using hot composting.

2. Bokashi Composting:

Bokashi composting is another effective and interesting composting method that allows you to compost all types of food waste, including cooked meat and leftover bones, in addition to regular food and yard waste.

This process involves inoculating bokashi bran with unique EM microbes, turning solid materials such as animal chicken or fish bones, meat, and oily food items into healthy soil manure.

Bokashi Composting

To begin bokashi composting, follow these steps:

Step 1. Set up a Bokashi composter:

You can buy a Bokashi composter or easily make one at home with the following steps.

Drill holes in the bottom of a large bucket. Place a brick in the center of the bucket and rest another same size bucket on the brick. Finally, place a clean, round piece of cloth on the floor of the top bucket. And, voila! Your composter is now ready.

Step 2. Add Bokashi bran:

Add a thin layer of bran to the cloth.

Step 3. Add your food scrap:

Add a layer of all your food scraps on top of the bran, such as meat, vegetable peels, bones, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, avocado pits and skin, and so on.

Step 4. Repeat the layers:

Add another thin layer of Bokashi bran and alternate the layers until the composter is full.

Step 5. Place a bucket liner:

Place a bucket liner on top of the bin and compress all materials to remove any air pockets. Next, place the airtight bucket lid on your bokashi bin and leave it for 20-25 days.

Step 6. Harvest the pre-compost and bury it in the soil:

When your pre-compost is ready, harvest it and bury it in the corner of your backyard to ferment further. Avoid burying it near plants because it can harm them. You can also store it in plastic bags for later.

Can You Compost Chicken Bones in a Worm Bin?

Composting chicken bones in a worm bin is not an efficient method. Worms prefer easily degradable substances, so they are less likely to feed on bones that haven’t been processed, cooked, and broken.

How Long Do Chicken Bones Take to Decompose?

Chicken bones may take 8-10 weeks to decompose completely. However, this also depends on other factors such as the composting method, whether large or small bones are used, weather conditions, temperature, moisture, etc.

Larger bones may need even more time. So, if you need your compost sooner, cook the bones and break them up into small pieces before loading them into the compost bin. You can also opt for Bokashi composting or Hot composting for faster composting.

Chicken Bones

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you bury chicken bones?

Yes, you can bury chicken bones in soil, but they may take months to decompose if buried directly. Therefore, it is preferable to process them before burying them.

How do you break down bones for composting?

You can break down the bones into smaller pieces using a hammer or cut the bones with a hacksaw. For better results, cook the bones before cutting and adding them to the composting bin. You can also grind the bone chunks using a powerful blender.

Can you compost rib bones?

Yes, you can compost rib bones, but they may take longer to decompose. Slice them into tiny chunks before tossing them into the compost bin for faster decaying.

Do chicken bones decompose?

Chicken bones decompose in the same way that any other organic matter would. But larger livestock bones will decay more slowly than smaller ones.

Can you put chicken bones in the green bin?

Chicken bones should not be thrown away in the green bin because they break down differently than regular kitchen scraps. Put the raw or cooked bones in hot compost or bokashi compost instead.

Contrary to popular belief, composting chicken bones is both safe and effective. They will provide vital nutrients to your plants once wholly decomposed. So, don’t toss the bones. Set them aside for composting. It’s as simple as composting avocado pits. Check out this article if you’re wondering whether you can compost them.