How can I reuse or recycle a chicken carcass after making stock?

We’ve started getting a meat box delivery from Swillington Farm – a local organic farm. All the meat is organic, the animals have been treated well during their lives and the food miles are very low — in fact for the chicken we had over the weekend, the only food miles were the ones delivering it here to us (about 15miles, and they deliver to other people in the area during the same trip) – but it is considerably more expensive than buying from a cheap meat from a supermarket. We’re careful about food waste anyway when it’s expensive, we’re doubly careful about making use out of every single bit of it!

So the main meat portions have been eaten or frozen to be eaten later this month, the giblets & skin cooked into a pate for the cats, and the carcass has been picked over for meat then slow cooked into a stock. But is there anything I can do with the bones after the stock?

I know some people with sealed composting systems/bokashi bins add bones to that. As we have an open (or at least not full sealed) bin and live near woodland, I’d worry about foxes (especially as our live and considerably more meaty chickens are nearby). But to get the bones into the garden, I know some people make their own bonemeal fertiliser from old chicken/other animal bones — has anyone done that? If so, any advice or things to avoid?

I’ve also heard about people using chicken carcasses for catching fish or crayfish – but I think the idea is that they’re raw and a bit stinky; these picked-clean cooked bones might not be enticing enough. Again, anyone know?

Any other suggestions?

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7 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle a chicken carcass after making stock?”

  1. Karmae says:

    I usually add some vinegar to my stock while it is being cooked.

    This helps to leach the bones of calcium and makes the broth a little bit better for you.

  2. Bellen says:

    After making stock and picking off any soft stuff from the bones I put them in a single layer and out in the solar oven for a day. That usually gets them completely dried out – they look bleached. Then I put them in a folded towel and crush them with a hammer or my metal meat tenderizer. I’ve also done them in the oven while something else was cooking but only if something else was cooking.

  3. Linda says:

    My hens love to peck the last scraps off the carcass and mulch the bones into the soil! It’s cooked so it’s not like they’re getting a task for their friends ;) I like the idea of drying and crushing – I could do that while cooking other things like I do with eggshells currently.

  4. strowger says:

    i chuck anything even remotely organic – fish, meat, cat vomit, bones – into the compost. you’re not supposed to. the top of the compost smells like satan’s ringpiece of course, but it has a lid on it.

    the fox hasn’t troubled it yet – though he does trouble our bin bags if they have any hint of food in them, which is quite tedious given bi-weekly collections and is the reason for the above.

    i think we’ve had rats at it in the past, but they haven’t troubled us in the house or garden so…meh.

  5. I know there are some enzymes that allow bone to be composted just like any other organic materials without it the bones would take years to break down.

  6. supergeeky says:

    I suppose you could really clean them (use the method up above) dry them and after breaking them make them into jewelry by wrapping the various bits in wire to to make charms then add them to beaded necklaces. You could also use the wrapped chicken bone pieces to make wind chimes, or glue them together to make art. I can only see artistic uses for them, nothing “useful”.

  7. sure says:

    If you want to make complete use of the leftover bones, you could simply make bonemeal by drying them out thoroughly and crushing them after stock is made. This has a lot of uses in the home and garden.

    You can also just cook the poultry bones further in water and a little salt, until they can easily be crushed by your teeth and eat them. The ends get soft first because they have the most marrow. Depending on if you’re using a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, or something else, the bones will get done faster.

    You can also feed the completely softened, mashed, bones and marrow to your dogs. (Just make sure the middle of them has no sharp bits left, as sharp fragments of anything can hurt an animal’s intestines.)

    The only thing though- is that bone, while edible in this way, can cause very real constipation if you eat too much of it at a time. A bone or two is fine, but not half a bird’s worth in one meal. Trust me lol! I learned it the hard way during a very lean time.

    Also, the main reason against eating bones regularly is that heavy minerals can stay in the bones of any animal raised in an unhealthy environment, or an animal that’s exposed to hazardous chemicals.

    (For an organic chicken though it should be fine! ^^)

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