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Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

Posted by scarletdaisies 7 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 18, 10 at 8:02

I'm collecting chicken bones for composting through the winter, without having to bake them too many times, maybe microwave them, how do I prepare them? Can any bone be collected? I know lots of hunters, so during deer hunting I might get lucky if it's equal to that of a chicken. I'm sorry if this post offends you, Vegetarians PETA members, I'm not a savage, just know I live in a rural area where they hunt a lot.

Really though, enough of you have so many problems with deer eating your garden, it may be that you might take the hobby up. So, anyways, what can I use and can I just bake it then smash it with a hammer? How long does it take for bones to break down in compost? Maybe I won't have to smash them if that is true.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

I would take deer in my garden more than the coyote I seen this morning. Ok I will take them both but the coyote scares me.
I don't have the need to compost to many bones as I have three dogs that eat most of our raw bones. But I have composted cooked pork rib bones more than once and they seem to go away. Anything larger than that I first put it into the fire pit. Amazing how a good fire will break a bone down in no time.
My three dogs eat deer all year long, a local processor is kind enough to share his scraps with them. I did compost a few of the leg bones and they didn't go away to well.
Sandy


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

I have buried bones both raw and cooked in the garden and they seem to disappear in a year or two. I just dig deep enough so the tiller don't turn them up. I don't know if it helps but I don't see where it hurts either I have deer chicken pork beef and get this, part of a bison that I turned into hamburger, The raw bone was just buried like the rest. That was 3 years ago and I can no longer find a bone and they were huge, chicken in the compost goes fast 2-3 mouths at most, raw or cooked no need to cook and grind unless you are in a big hurry. Or gross out if a bone or two shows up in the compost. Now I will say this I live where the soil is alkaline and that might break down bone faster than your soil will. I am not raising the calcium I am disposing of my bones.

Curt~


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

My bones either get buried deep into interier of my no-turn compost pile or buried in the garden. My concern is to keep from attracting varmits or encouraging dogs to dig. Seems to be working. I very seldom see a bone when sifting compost or digging in garden. Like Curt, disposal is my primary motive... but happy if some nutrient value is derived.


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

  • Posted by hortster 6A, southcentral KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 18, 10 at 16:50

Took a compost training session/seminar at one of our State universities. One of the topics was composting large animals, whole. The method involved coming up with a bunch of wood chips an 18" layer beneath and an 18" layer over all parts of the carcass. The carcass itself provided the N source.
Anyway, the final settlement was that occasionally pieces of some of the largest bones (femur, skull or hip bones) would still be there after 6 mos. to a year. Naturally, needed some rainfall to get 'r done.
The point is that anything, any size can decompose if given the right conditions. Bone up on your composting. :o)
hortster


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

Hmmm. I seem to constantly find chicken bones still in my compost. Of course, now I'm wondering if the ones I'm seeing are just the "more recent additions" because I do add ALOT of hot wings scraps. I have noticed the only bones I do see are the ones that were cooked vs. the raw ones from when we butcher our meat birds. Maybe I'll try burying some of these hangers-on in a spot I know I'm gonna plant next spring. In the meantime, I recently gave all the piles (there's about 8 now) a tossing and collected every bone I saw. That 5-gal bucket-o-bones is in line for the next round of chipping/shredding hehe.


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

That is good news! I can get bone scraps and just bury them or compost them. I don't want to go through too much, altough the soil needs them. This might be what I need to perk it up and get her going. I may even hit some restaruants up for scaps this year near fall when the leaves fall. I have a deer processing place not far from my house, so I bet if I play my cards right, I can get lots of choice bones.

When is it possible to over due it? What signs of too much bone meal?


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

I think it would be very difficult to overdo it with the bones or bone meal. It analyzes out at 4:15:0 NPK, and of course has calcium as well. Phosphate is hard to overdose on. Get a soil test done and use the results to guide your amendments. If I remember right, you're somewhere here in the south dealing with silt soil that's probably pretty acidic. It's a weak base, so it will help you out there.


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

If you compost the bones in a hot pile right after butchering they seem soft and dissapear very quickly I did a deer last year and all I have found so far was a jaw bone


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

How quickly any bone would be digested depends on the size and density of the bone (running bones through a hammermill helps break them up) and how active the Soil Food Web is in your soil or compost pile. I have never spent the time and energy necessary to "cook" bones before putting them into the compost.


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

Everything in my kitchen gets boiled for stock before it goes out the door, so I don't compost raw ones. I've noticed that pork and beef bones will persist for quite some time here, I do find them in the garden. But not running hot compost here either. I once put the entire remains of a boiled turkey carcass, veggies, skin and all into a hot pile after Thanksgiving. In spring all I found was the breast bone.

I don't think I would go hunting bones, there are easier nutrient sources, but if it makes you happy, knock yourself out!


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

So uncooked bones are easier to compost do you think, or just soft from boiling in water? I need everything in my soil, I live in Northwest Tennessee. The soil did better, but the garden didn't do good, but better, some due to the bugs and some due to the soil.

I know a lot of people who run farms and process their own animals. I could probably get a bunch, not too much but a lot.

I appreciate the replies!


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

  • Posted by hortster 6A, southcentral KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 19, 10 at 21:06

This is just a crazy guess, but once a bone has been cooked or used for stock has all the effective N been somehow removed in the process, causing it to lose the necessary element for decomposition? Just trying to figure out why cooked bones persist, non-cooked decompose more quickly. I have heard that bone meal, especially steamed, lasts for years in the soil before breaking down. Thoughts?
hortster


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

Horster; I think you are right boiling bones in vinegar is a known way to pull out the nutrients for soup stock and would leave the bones almost sterile and hard to compost.

Curt~


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

So definitely use the uncooked bones? I'm more worried about decomposing faster, but nutrients should be priority. I'm sure I can get raw bones from hunters or the processing building that opens every year for them. But it would be really bad next year to start digging and find them all still there.

I can cut them up into smaller pieces with a hacksaw, but a piece about 8 inches long, do you think that is just big enough to make them go away faster?


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

Sledge hammer.


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

Hammermill / chipper


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RE: Bones on any kind for soil or just chicken?

The wikipedia article on decomposition is extremely informative to this discussion:

"The strength and durability of bone stems from the unique protein-mineral bond present in skeletal formation. Consequently, changes to skeletal remains, known as bone diagenesis, occur at a substantially slower rate than stages of soft-tissue breakdown. As the protein-mineral bond weakens after death, however, the organic protein begins to leach away, leaving behind only the mineral composition. Unlike soft-tissue decomposition, which is influenced mainly by temperature and oxygen levels, the process of bone breakdown is more highly dependent on soil type and pH, along with presence of groundwater. However, temperature can be a contributing factor, as higher temperature leads the protein in bones to break down more rapidly. If buried, remains decay faster in acidic-based soils rather than alkaline. Bones left in areas of high moisture content also decay at a faster rate. The water leaches out skeletal minerals, which corrodes the bone, and leads to bone disintegration.[3]"


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