Can You Compost Bones? What You Need To Know!

Creating excellent compost indicates generating a stability of waste. This implies balancing woody, brown substances, and eco-friendly ingredients that incorporate nitrogen. It also means balancing acidic and alkaline waste. As this sort of, it is a very good notion to incorporate a broad variety of things, but there are specified things that ought to not be put in a compost bin.

Bones are a fairly controversial composting merchandise. On the one particular hand, they will decompose above time and can be handled properly to make sure that they do not pose a overall health danger. On the other hand, chicken bones can have microorganisms, and all bones and meat can appeal to vermin and other pests to your compost. They also just take anywhere from many months to many years to break down totally.

In most instances, it might be much better to keep away from incorporating bones completely except if you are an skilled composter that is aware of how to deal with these specific squander items. Or, at minimum, until finally you’ve accomplished your investigation and determined how best to compost animal bones.

Why Include Bones in Compost?

The adhering to are some of the factors why it is protected and can even be useful to incorporate bones to compost:

  • They Do Decompose: Bones and carcasses do decompose. While some thick bones, such as beef bones, can take decades to decompose fully, thinner bones take less time.
  • Chicken bones can decompose in just 2–3 months if they are processed properly first. Fish bones, which are extremely thin, can break down even quicker. If you do intend to compost bones and want to ensure they break down as quickly as possible, you can boil them or break them up to speed up the process.
  • They Are Nutrient Rich: Different animal bones contain different nutrients but can contain phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and nitrogen, all of which are commonly found or added to commercial compost mixes.
  • It’s a Good Way to Dispose of Unused Bones: Bones typically go in the trash and are then sent to landfills. Putting the bones you use, or at least some of them, into compost offers a good alternative to trashing them.
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Why You Should Avoid Putting Bones in Compost

  • They Attract Vermin: Vermin, such as rats, are attracted to bones, marrow, and meat. Putting bones in your compost bin may attract these animals, and larger scavengers, to your compost bin. Animals like raccoons and rats will find a way through some of the most secure bins.
  • They Need Treating: Some bones, especially chicken bones, need to be processed or treated properly to get rid of pathogens and bacteria that can make people ill. The processing treatment isn’t too difficult, but it is time consuming, especially compared to putting them in the trash.
  • They Can Take a Long Time to Decompose: Some bones can decompose in as little as 2 months, but others can take years or even decades to break down completely.

How to Treat Bones Before Composting Them

If you do intend to add bones to your compost, adhere to these steps to make certain that they are secure and that they will crack down swiftly enough to be a useful supply of minerals and vitamins.

1. Boil the Bones

boiling water in a pot
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Boiling the bones will remove any excess meat and collagen even though also making them easier to break down. You can use the bones to create a bone broth or place them in a massive pot of boiling drinking water for about an hour if you really do not want to make a stock or broth.

2. Bake the Bones

When the bones are boiled and soft, place them on a baking tray and set the tray in an oven at 400°F for around 30–40 minutes until finally they begin to brown. Massive beef bones can just take lengthier to reach this stage. After they reach this stage, get them out of the oven and permit them to amazing.

3. Break the Bones

a hammer
Image Credit: BenjaminNelan, Pixabay

After the bones are dry, they need to be brittle adequate to be damaged. Spot them in a thick bag and use a mallet, hammer, or rolling pin, to smash them into small bits. Inserting them in a bag 1st makes it less complicated to acquire the parts once you have concluded and will avoid mess.

4. Add to the Compost

Optionally, you can grind the bones down even even more utilizing a pestle and mortar. This will give you bone food that can be fed right to crops.

Alternatively, insert them to the compost pile. Really do not incorporate the bone items to the top of the pile. Instead, try to get them into the middle, exactly where they will be covered with other compost and crack down faster. If you do have to include them to the best of the pile, protect them with other things to help in the composting method.


It is risk-free to include bones to compost, but they do take a prolonged time to break down when total. Some bones, specially hen bones, can harbor microorganisms.

As such, you will require to get ready them by first boiling and then breaking the bones down ahead of incorporating them, ideally, to the centre of your compost pile. This will give the bones the greatest chance of decomposing speedily and being a viable addition to your compost pile.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay