I have a composting worm farm and would like a definitive answer, as what I've read so far is confusing.

When adding scraps of dog bones from beef or lamb, or inedible (for small dog breeds) chicken bones, what can I add to maintain the proper carbon-nitrogen ratio in this hot bed of worm activity?

  • L.Shaver I read up on Boskani bins & will get one. Apr 11, 2018 at 23:46
  • I'd like to 'vote' on the resonse I recv'd as it was a very informative answer & addressed my particular query but as I'm a Learner with all this technology could you please tell me how it's done. Thankyou Apr 12, 2018 at 1:22
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    @JennyPedersen You're welcome. If you like an answer, you can 'upvote' it by clicking on the arrow that's pointing upward (▲) at the left side of an answer (the arrow pointing downward is for downvoting incorrect answers). Additionally you can 'accept' one answer as the one that solved your problem best, by clicking on the ✔ also left of the answer. More information about how this site works is in the tour of this website
    – THelper
    Apr 12, 2018 at 7:29

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if the bones still contain meat, so I'll answer for both.


It's certainly possible to add meat to your worm farm, but many people warn against this because of the risk of attracting vermin and the possible bad smell of decaying meat. To reduce these risks it's best to use a closed worm bin so critters can't enter, add only a few small pieces of meat at a time and bury the meat pieces under other material. Alternatively you can pre-process food left-overs in a bokashi bin first.


You could also add bones to a worm bin or compost heap, but without any treatment bones won't decompose in any reasonable amount of time, so there is little point to do so. If you have the tools, you could create your own bone meal, but bone meal can be applied directly to one's garden so again there is not much point to add it to your worm farm.

General guidelines

When adding food to a worm bin there is always a chance that the worms (initially) won't like the food because it's not yet decaying or because it's too sour, too moist, too greasy, etc. Usually the problem resolves itself after a while when microbes and fungi have affected the food and it starts decaying. To speed-up decomposition it's best to chop up food in small pieces.

You want to add food to only a part of your worm farm at a time, so the worms can escape to safer places if necessary. This is especially important when adding nitrogen-rich foods that will warm up the food as it decomposes. You also want to keep the carbon-nitrogen ratio (C:N ratio for short) in balance to prevent bad smells and keep decomposition going. This means that when you add meat or bone meal (both of which are nitrogen-rich) you also need to add 'brown' (carbon-rich) materials. All materials that have a higher ratio than 30:1 in this answer count as a brown material.

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    If you soak bones in vinegar it breaks down the harder calcium-based structures and leaves you with a more rubbery 'bone' that decomposes faster. If one happens to do a bit of pickling, then one could freeze the bones until a pickle jar was free, then pop in the bones, top up with water, sit on a shelf for a few days, then empty the whole lot onto the compost pile and cover with some compost from the edge of the pile.
    – Tim
    Apr 12, 2018 at 6:53
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    @Tim interesting! Any indications how long the entire process will take, including decomposing to something that's reusable? Perhaps you can turn your comment into a full answer?
    – THelper
    Apr 12, 2018 at 7:33
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    There are too many variables for me to predict time frames meaningfully. Our compost piles are cool/fungal and nothing identifiable remains after about 18 months (Warm Temperate climate). I don't bother turning them, monitoring temperature, or spraying them to maintain humidity. If you have a hot/bacterial compost pile/bin that gets turned, monitored and moistened, then one would predict much, much faster results. I can't say how much faster, however, because I don't do hot/bacterial composting. I have acreage and time on my side, so I just have multiple piles.
    – Tim
    Apr 12, 2018 at 12:00
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    I actually stumbled across the vinegar effect when trying to find a way to stop the dog from digging into the compost pile. Dogs (or at least our dog) won't touch anything that has been pickled. So the accelerated breakdown was just a bonus (for me, at least). Unfortunately, apart from gherkins, cornichons and beetroot, we don't pickle much... so don't generate enough pickling brine to do that to all the bones left over from feeding our dog, cats and selves. Most of the time I just drive a spade into the compost pile, wedge the bones in, pour the pickling brine on top, then close it up.
    – Tim
    Apr 12, 2018 at 12:10
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    Oh, one more note: Bones + vinegar + time produces a stinky gas. So 'on a shelf' means on a shelf in the garden shed (or somewhere outside/ventilated) — not inside. Also, you don't want to screw down the lid on your pickling jar so tightly that it produces an airtight environment — the pressure might ruin your lid or crack the jar. Just screw it down enough to keep the mice out and allow the gas to slowly escape.
    – Tim
    Apr 12, 2018 at 12:52

You can alternatively make bone broth out of your bones. After several hours of boiling them, you’ll have a mineral and nutrient-rich broth in addition to significantly softer bones that are easier to decompose. Some people put them through two rounds of boiling at which point the bones crumble in your hand (which when salted become chewy calcium snacks for both canine and children). The crumbled bone are now easily compost-able.

Source: Nourishing Traditions

*If you choose the bone broth route, I recommend roasting your bones first so that the future broth's aroma is simply scrumptious. Bone broth is the chefs' favorite as the base for many soulful soups.

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