Chicken bones are a good source of nutrition when used to make broth. Many recipes call for removing the bones from a whole chicken, which produces plenty of meat and also plenty of bones and other unused parts that are ideal for making soup. But be careful with how you handle chicken bones, both raw and cooked, and note that feeding them to a pet can be dangerous.
Connected to Respiratory System
Some of the longer bones in a chicken are "pneumatic," meaning they are hollow and connected to air sacs in the chicken's respiratory system. These air sacs can send air into the bones, an adaptation that is supposed to help birds fly. Chickens are mostly flightless, but they still have this adaptation.
Bones and Chicken Broth
Chicken bones are a key ingredient in the production of chicken broth. Boiling chicken bones leftover from a cooked chicken for several hours will draw nutrients out of the bones and the marrow within them and create a flavorful and nutritious broth.
Boning Uncooked Chicken
Many recipes call for removing all the bones from a whole chicken. To bone a chicken, you will need a very strong knife for cutting through joints and a smaller knife for removing meat from the bones. Experienced cooks can do this in about five minutes.
Dogs and Cooked Chicken Bones
Feeding dogs cooked chicken bones is not safe. The cooking process makes chicken bones brittle. When a dog eats the bones, they can break into sharp splinters that can get stuck in the dog's mouth, throat and digestive tract. This can cause choking and potentially fatal internal injuries. If your dog accidentally eats cooked chicken bones, watch him carefully. If it seems to be in pain or if it loses its appetite, take her to a veterinarian. Watch for any other signs of injury, too, such as bloody stool.
Dogs and Raw Chicken Bones
Raw chicken bones are safer for a dog to eat. The bones are softer and less likely to break into sharp pieces. Dogs are also better at digesting raw meats than humans. Of course, humans who handle chicken bones should be careful to wash their hands thoroughly after feeding them to a dog and should wash their hands after handling any raw chicken.
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Watch a naturalist from the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Drumlin Farm provide basic facts about chickens in this free online video.
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