Can You Put Chicken Bones In Compost? (Detailed Guide)

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: July 2, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Why add to a landfill what you can use to feed your plants? But can you really put chicken bones in compost? Find out in this article!

You can put chicken bones in your compost! But you must treat them first using one of the following methods.

  • Hot bin compost
  • Bokashi bucket

Are you ready to find out more about the methods mentioned above? Then start safely composting your chicken bones with the tips coming up next!

How Long Does It Take to Compost Chicken Bones?

Don’t worry. We’ve all learned from experience that whole chicken bones don’t just decompose in your compost heap. Perhaps you’ve thrown a couple on your heap, just to see what would happen. You come back a couple of weeks later and what do you see? Your chicken bones are still intact, fresh as the day you threw them outside. 

There’s more to composting chicken bones than there is for our organic waste. This is because chicken bones take a lot longer to decompose than anything else. If you use a special method to compost them like a hot bin or Bokashi, you will speed up the process. But, nevertheless, it will still be slow. 

So just how long will it all take? It may take as little as two months for small chicken bones to decompose. But a larger quantity of chicken bones and carcass could take several months to compost.

It’s tricky to put a timeframe on chicken bone composting. This is because the following factors always vary. They could slow down or speed up your composting.

  • The volume of chicken bones you want to compost
  • The moisture level of your compost 
  • How often you turn your compost

How Do You Compost Chicken Bones?

You must compost your chicken bones correctly. If not they’ll sit on top of your compost heap like a penny waiting for change. That is, of course, if your dog doesn’t get to them first! (Meat and poultry food waste could also attract vermin and pests so it’s best to get rid of them as soon as possible).

At the outset of this article, we mentioned two methods that speed up chicken bone composting. They are the use of a hot bin and the Bokashi bucket. Let’s take a look at these methods in more detail. You’ll then be able to choose the method that’s best for your chicken bone composting!

Hot Bin

A hot bin is the most commonly used method for composting chicken bones and other waste. But what does it entail? It means using heat as a catalyst to speed up the decomposition of chicken bones.

Starting a hot bin is really simple. Here’s how you can do it. 

  1. Chop up the meat bones into 4cm pieces
  2. Empty the bones into a pan that you can use to burn them. If you are an avid barbecuer, you may have an old cast iron pot you can use. Anything that you would use for cooking outdoors will work perfectly. 
  3. Add wood chips, paper, or cardboard to the bottom of the pot. These will get the fire going. 
  4. Put your chicken bones on top of the wood chips, paper, or cardboard
  5. Heat the pot so that its contents begin to burn. Heat the bones until they start to look charred.
  6. Once charred, remove the pot from the fire. Leave it to cool completely. 
  7. Once cool, crush the bones with a mortal
  8. Distribute the contents of the pot evenly over your compost heap where it will decompose.

A hot bin is awesome for decomposing chicken bones. But it doesn’t stop there! You can also use a hot bin to safely decompose the following food waste. 

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Other meat bones such as duck, fish, etc
  • Shells such as cockle, mussel, crab, and lobster
  • Eggs

Bokashi Bucket

Now I know what you’re thinking. What is a Bokashi bucket? Let me start off by saying it is a great composting solution. It works not only on meat bones but just about any other food waste. 

A Bokashi kit is an air-tight bucket. Bokashi One Mix is what you put on top of your waste. It is made up of microorganisms. Here’s what it does.

  • The microorganisms in the Bokashi One Mix ferment the meat bones. This prevents them from putrefying.
  • The microorganisms speed up the fermentation process when you transfer the bones to your compost pile. This means they won’t sit for an eternity in your compost!

Are you ready to give your Bokashi bucket a whirl? Then here’s what you need to do.

  1. Break your chicken bones into small pieces 4 cm long or smaller
  2. Place your meat bones in the air-tight Bokashi bucket in cups. For every cup, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Bokashi One Mix on top. 
  3. Keep the bucket shut tight
  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as many times as you need to. The bones will not begin to putrefy thanks to the Bokashi One Mix.
  5. Periodically drain the juice that is produced at the base of the bucket
  6. Remove the bones from the bucket and bury them in your compost heap. You can do this when the bucket is full or sooner. 

In this set of instructions, we have spoken about how to prepare your Bokashi bucket for chicken bones. But the great thing about this bucket is that you can use it for all types of food waste. So, make sure you take full advantage of it!


Composting chicken bones is a subject that can make avid gardeners feel a little anxious. But as you have seen in this article, it is simple to make your bones safe for a compost pile! Why allow them to go to waste?

Have the suggestions in this article been helpful to you? Or do you want to share your chicken bone composting story with us? Then make sure you drop a comment below and check out some of our other articles!

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