I would like to start consuming chicken bone broth for health reasons, but there are some difficulties with this plan I'd like to resolve.

Where is the best place to get bulk chicken bones (I live in Washington state)? Is it better to just buy whole chickens or buy the bones? I've looked all over the internet for ideas and places to shop, and I just keep getting more confused on what to do. I would be so grateful for any advice on this subject. I'm looking to make enough bone broth to consume about 16 ounces daily.

  • So are you trying to make broth with only the bones? Or I you trying to learn to make Chicken Broth, which generally is made with bones and meat?
    – Jolenealaska
    Sep 29, 2013 at 5:07
  • 1
    @Jolenealaska There seems to be a trend in the non-scientific health blogs of "bone broth", which is really stock, made from bones with minimal meat adhering, cooking for a very long time for maximum mineral extraction.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Sep 29, 2013 at 11:39
  • Dear Anna, welcome to Seasoned Advice! We see ourselves as a cooking site, and generally do not do health or nutrition advice. Your question is fine, because you are asking us how to implement an idea you have already embarked on (as opposed to asking us whether it is right for you to do it) but I edited it to remove the health-related details, which are not really relevant to the culinary part of the question and only trigger the warning bells in the heads of us regulars.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 29, 2013 at 12:51

2 Answers 2


Formulas for stock are somewhat variable, but a common case is to use 3 kg of bones (and half a kg of mirepoix, which is a vegetable mix used for taste) with 4-5 l water, which after cooking down yields 3 l of stock, or just a little bit more than that. I couldn't find an especially good figure for the bone:meat ratio of chickens, but many Internet sites seem to agree on a 30:70 figure (I hope they didn't copy it from each other without fact checking). So, you are looking at either buying 1 pound of bones, or one 3-pound chicken per day.

In your place, I would prefer to use bones, not whole chickens, because of the logistics involved. With chickens, you'd need lots of freezer space, and then will end up with 2 lb of chicken meat daily. The work of removing the bones, especially if your recipe requires you to do so before boiling, will also cost a lot of time. But I don't know in what circumstances you live, maybe these points are not a problem for you.

If you decide to use bones, the first place to look for them would be a local meat seller. I have heard that in the US and Canada, bones are seen as a waste product and sold cheaply. If you cannot find a convenient place which sells them, you might have to ask a butchering company. They will have many bones, but are unlikely to bother to trade in small amounts, so while you are likely to get a good price, you might have to deal with a bulk delivery (and the uncooked bones will need freezing if they are to last for more than a few days).

A catering business or a restaurant might be another place to ask, as showbiz suggested, but you should be aware that fast food chains get their halfway prepared ingredients delivered from a central factory, and high-end restaurants use the bones for cooking stock for their own needs.

  • 1
    Also in the US, regulation and fear of litigation will prevent most retail outlets (like a catering company) from selling raw bones, or even the cooked ones as they are "waste".
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Sep 29, 2013 at 12:53
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    You can often get chicken (and turkey) backs and necks from many butchers, which are good for stock. They tend to be leftover from breaking down chicken for people who buy parts. I also like to use chicken feet in my stocks for extra gelatin.
    – Steve
    Sep 30, 2013 at 0:02

If I were you I'd contact some food/catering companies nearby. I'm sure some of them just use the meat and throw the bones away. So it's possible that they may give the bones to you for free or for a real small amount.


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