Chicken Bones In Compost – Will Worms Eat Chicken Bones?

Last Updated on April 24, 2021 by Jeffery Jago

Worms are a valuable tool in composting, and vermicomposting is one of the best ways to do it. Vermicomposting relies on earthworms and other types of worms to breakdown organic matter into a natural fertilizer for plants. It’s not always clear what can go into your bin, though. One question that many people have is whether or not they can put chicken bones in their vermicompost bin. Let’s find out.

Can you compost chicken bones?

The answer to this question is yes! Worms will eat just about anything when it comes to breaking down food scraps so don’t worry if you’ve got some leftover chicken bones lying around – they’ll be eaten before long.

It will however take a bit more time than your average organic matter to break down. Chicken bones are denser than most other scraps and will take longer for the worms to eat them up, so don’t be alarmed if you find a few weeks have gone by with little progress on your chicken bone pile.

There are some things you can do to prepare chicken bones for your compost bin that will speed up the process by a considerable amount. Such as:

-Cut the bones into manageable pieces – when worms come across a big bone they will avoid it, and if you break it up enough it’s starting to become a bit more appetizing.

-Burning, or charring the bones – You can place the bones in an oven at 300°F for 45 minutes to burn the bone, or place them on a grill and allow it to char. Burning bones will help make them easier for worms to break down.

-Soaking in water – Covering your chicken bones with cold water in a bucket before adding them into compost can also speed up decomposition time.

-Boiling the bones – You can boil the bones for a long period of time. This will soften them considerably and you might even be able to get a nice broth out of it!

-Pulverizing – If you have a blender or food processor this can be an excellent idea to help your worms break down the bones. Note: You can cut a 3+ hour boiling time down to 30 minutes with a pressure cooker at 15 atmospheres.

-Chemical treatment – There are some chemical treatments that will soften chicken and other bones for vermicomposting, however, we do not recommend these chemicals as they might potentially harm your worm population.

What about other bones such as steak or pork?

-Boiling – It’s worth mentioning that pork and steak bones also have the same benefits of boiling as chicken. This will make them softer, easier to chew on for your worms!

A few words of caution

Don’t add bones to your greens bins. Meat and bones etc decompose differently than greens and it can throw off balance.

Don’t add any type of bones to your vegetable and fruit bins either.

Don’t put chicken feet in the compost bin or they may attract unwanted pests, like rats! If you can cover it up, then it shouldn’t be as much of an issue.

Interested in learning more about vermicomposting? Check out our other articles: