What Should I Do With Compost That Includes Animal Mortalities?

Compost containing animal carcasses should probably be utilized on crops that are not meant for human consumption for a couple of different reasons.

Disposal of the end product with regard to roadkill compost…we use it on the roadsides and plant vegetation on the roadsides.

With [farm] mortality compost, we want to be careful about where we are putting cows and chickens because we are using it back on the farm. So we may want to remove the large bones [and reuse them as part of the base for the next mortality compost pile]. We do not want to puncture any tires. But the bones do get pitted and will start breaking apart after a couple of cycles of the composting process. We do not want to use this on food crops. We may prefer to use this on field crops where the soil is tilled. We can apply the compost and then till it in. Definitely use it on crops that are harvested above the ground…corn and things like that. Do not use [mortality compost] on root vegetable or on things where we risk contamination if there is a problem.

Mortality compost can also be used in forested areas.

Author: Jean Bonhotal, Cornell University