Composting Meat and Dairy Products
Yes you can compost meat, bones and other dairy products if you want to. I know that there is a fairly strong myth out there that you can't do it for a variety of reasons. But with the proper precautions it is certainly possible to do. There are always a few concerns that come up with composting items such as these. The most common concerns are smell, animals and health and safety.
Dealing With Smell
The smell is something that can be easily managed by good technique and location of the composting pile. If you are truly concerned about smell then there are only two things you need to do to not have to worry about it. Location as with most things in life is key. You will want to put this pile in a place that is downwind of where you will spend a majority of your time. This way if their is any lingering smell it will be blown away from you and not towards you.
The second way to manage smell from a meat compost pile is to cover up the meat with a thick layer of dirt, finished compost, straw, leaves, wood chips what ever you have on hand. This thick layer will do two things to help out with the smell. First it will act as a physical and aromatic barrier to odor getting out. The smells from the other rotting items like leaves and straw have a smell of their own that may help mask the smell of the rotting meat. The second part is that all this carbon rich mulch will counter balance the nitrogen found in these products. The addition of lots of carbon will speed up the decomposition process and reduce smell.
Creatures of all sorts might be interested in what you have going on in that compost pile and this will usually merit extra precautions in keeping the pile secure. The best thing you can do in this scenario is do all the composting of products like this in a secure bin.
You can have a manufactured one like the Yimby Tumbler Composter. This tumble composter like one of the many available out there is great for composting vegetation but the jury is out on doing meat scraps. On the face of it it looks like it would work rather good as it provides optimum composting conditions and it can keep small animals out.
If you would rather do the pile method then I would recommend building a bin first out of recycled pallets. For a guide on how to do that check out my How to make a compost bin using wood pallets article. After you have the bin built I would suggest a lid like I have on my current version of compost bin. For extra security you could also attach chicken wire fencing to the wooden panels which should keep out all but the most determined critters.
Health and Safety
Finally we come to the big one that people are always really concerned about. Is it safe to add composted meat, bones and dairy products to my garden. Well assuming you hot composted it correctly by maintaining at least 130 degree for several days then yes you could. I personally wouldn't because I am worried that my composting skills are not quite up to that level of certainty For extra safety you can take the finished product and place it in a black trash bag, pail or garbage can and leave it in the sun. After about a week of getting baked in that container you can pretty much guarantee that any microbes in it are now dead.
If it's something that really concerns you then don't use the compost in the garden. I am sure you have tree or lawn grass that would appreciate the pick me up that this compost can give them.
One last thing is that composting meat, bones and dairy products is not something to be done by a novice composter. After you get some experience with the easier garden waste and kitchen scraps then try tackling these types of materials.
I am always happy to answer any composting questions so let me know if you have any.
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