Best Meat Grinder For Grinding Bones And Other Processing Leftovers?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Birdinhand, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm getting ready to process my COB 500 Cornish Cross. We've got 29 that will be ready in about 2 weeks and I'm wanting to find a way to compost all the leftover parts like head/neck, feet and feathers. We generally are recycling minded and I don't want to throw away valuable nutrients that could benefit my garden but I also don't want a lot of recognizable bones and feathers to build up in the soil. Any suggestions on the best way to break them down? I've considered a wood chipper but so far, all I can come up with is getting a meat grinder and sending bony parts and feathers through it. Do you all have recommendations on a meat grinder that is up to the job? so far, it looks like the STX INTERNATIONAL STX-1800-MG is an economical option, does anyone have experience with it?
     
  2. eviemethugh

    eviemethugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No experience, but feathers seem to disappear pretty quickly in compost. I had never thought of breaking it all down...but I can definitely say that feathers are nearly impossible to mow. *Someone* around here thought they would be lazy and pick up most of the feathers and just mow over the remaining stragglers...they still looked like new! ha! When wet they also become quite a strange consistency that I think would just clog...maybe not.
    We had a bird make a nest of JUST cornish X feathers this spring! Oops, didn't ever get back to picking them up after the lawn mower, I guess! We had freezer camp in April, just early enough for her to make a nest.
    Also 29 birds worth of feathers, if you don't end up using a grinder (I wouldn't! See laziness ^) you may want to dig a small hole (big enough for a 5 gallon buckets worth of feathers) dump in the feathers, offal, heads, blood, etc and then flip your compost over the whole thing so the feathers don't blow all over the place. You'll probably have another two+ 5 gallon buckets of feet, heads and offal if you're doing all of them at once.
     
  3. a704

    a704 Out Of The Brooder

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    You could also boil and then just crush the bones under a brick or something if you want them broken up quickly
     
  4. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, you learn a new thing every day and I figured I'd pass on what I have learned in the last 12 hours! turns out a trending diet for pets is the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet and it involves ground bones. turns out quite a few reviews are out there rating grinders in terms of their ability to grind smallish bones, like those in chicken necks! after reading a bunch of reviews I narrowed it down to the STX brand, which is a consumer level/light commercial grinder brand that seems to be holding up to the tests, and most importantly costs less than $200. I narrowed it down to two versions, the STX megaforce 3000 and the STX mangnum 1800W series, the 3000 being the more powerful. I found one review that said the 1800 was the way to go for grinding bones. I found this perplexing so I called one of the main warranty repair companies, mercantile station 2, and asked them which in their experience with repairs, holds up best for grinding bones. The guy on the phone, "wow, I'm glad you called, the 1800 is the only one with the appropriate screen/blades for grinding bones, even though it has a lower locked wattage than the 3000". so I may end up making dog food out of my leftover necks/heads, organ meat and feet, then seal it up in meal sized servings in the food saver, freeze it long enough to eliminate food born illness and presto, offer up gourmet treats to the dog. people rave about the noticeable benefits in health to their pets, so I might as well give it a try. If we end up with too much, then any extra can then get composted. and or course, the main benefit of having a meat grinder is being able to make things like chicken sausage and burgers. this leaves the feathers and entrails. I may give the feathers a run through the grinder or just throw them in the trash or yard waste, they are really a small % of the overall mass and likely have little to no nutrient value to the garden. the entrails can get layered in to the compost and surprisingly, as long as they stay covered they decompose readily without stinking up the place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
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  5. eviemethugh

    eviemethugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feathers have a lot of nitrogen, so it just depends on what your garden needs for balance. We dehydrated some chicken feet for our dog and it made her throw up :( but she loves raw pig, we've given her the feet, shanks, ears and jowl off our last pig (this was before I knew that jowl apparently makes the worlds best bacon!) so I might try giving her some of the chicken feet we have left in the freezer raw, since you mention it!
     
  6. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Chillin' With My Peeps

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    well that's good information, thanks!. I'll try and figure something out with the feathers. I just ordered the 1800, it comes with a 3 year warranty. if the grinder can handle it then great, but still, I don't want to burn it out. any idea how well feathers compost without being chopped up? I assumed the quill would end up taking a long time. what I really need is something between a meat grinder and a wood chipper, some kind of macerator that would help mix and break up organic matter, any recommendations are welcome. I'm reading up on composting in the Rhodale's composting guide, maybe there will be a mention of feathers in there. the sheer volume of chicken manure coming from the CX is rather challenging to keep up with, but it has so much potential. I can't free range, so I've built a second level within the coop and use pine shavings and a plastic liner. to maximize the life of the pine shavings I use stall dry but eventually the moisture content becomes unmanageable and the ammonia level in the air spikes and I have to swap out the shavings, which is time consuming and gets expensive. Maybe fermenting the food first would reduce the moisture content in the droppings, which is quite wattery. I have yet to learn what the ideal ratio of shavings to droppings is to get the shavings to break down enough to use for soil amendment in the garden, adding the butchering leftovers is a whole new frontier. I do hope to eventually get it dialed in so that I have rich soil for growing veggies. I have found in the past that too much organic matter in the soil causes the nitrogen to get locked up leading to the veggies not quite thriving. this whole thing feels like a juggling act at times. at some point I'm going to need to get a soil analyzer to help me zero in on the right ratios of everything. in some ways it seems like a lot of work but on the other hand, the nutrients have a lot of potential for growing more food.
     
  7. ShannonR

    ShannonR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just toss all the parts in the compost pile without grinding them up or anything. Some of the larger bones still remain when it is composted, but neither my plants nor I mind. The feathers compost down just fine, it doesn't take a lot of time.

    Another favorite is tossing dead chickens or chicken parts in the pig pen, they'll take care of the mess in a hurry...bones feathers and all.

    My dogs also do a decent job of disposing of chicken parts. All of these things are recycling and are viable options to me, no grinder necessary. I will say though, that I have managed to gather and actually sell chicken feet from my birds, some people really like them.

    If I were going the grinder route I would be looking into selling raw dog food. It just seems that between the expense of the grinder and the extra labor you are putting yourself through for your compost pile you could be making a small amount of money instead?
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
  8. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hear you. the grinder is surprisingly cheap, like $180 delivered and will get used for a variety of things. I will likely delve into making dog food for our dog. the other reason I can't leave bones in the compost is the dog, he's not a farm dog and would probably end up with problems if he got ahold of chicken bones from the garden. I'm an urban homesteader with a 10,000 sf lot, so pigs, unfortunately are out of the question and fast turn around time on compost is also key, I have to use my space very efficiently. I learned after starting this thread that the rodale guide to composting, an oldie but goodie, has a section on composting feathers. they say feathers are up to 15% nitrogen and break down readily, so I'm going to give it a try and see how fast they break down, with all the other chicken by-products, it will be a hot compost, so it should go fast.
     
  9. ShannonR

    ShannonR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like you have a good plan going.

    I would just like to add though, that uncooked chicken bones are not a danger to dogs, they get crunched up readily. It is the bones from chickens that have been cooked that can get lodged in their throats, ect. So no worries there, as far as compost bin raiding goes. It is quite irritating but not dangerous, unless you also put cooked chicken bones in the compost pile. :)

    I added a link that discusses this very issue.
    http://thethreedogblog.com/dogs-eating-chicken-bones-facts-and-fables.html
     
  10. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Chillin' With My Peeps

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    great article, thanks for that! I'm not sure of what "needle like bone" in the thigh he speaks of, but we'll give it a shot with all the other bones. maybe i'll dehydrate the feet and give them as a chew snack.
     

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