Egg Shells for Calcium
A while back I posted a video on Instagram of me prepping my old egg shells to feed back to my chickens. Since then I’ve had some questions about what I do and why!
If you have chickens you may know that chickens need a lot of calcium to have a strong egg shell. There are some great treats like Grubbly’s Farm that can help with this, and you often hear about people buying oyster shells. I love having treats for the girls, but why buy oyster shells when you have all these beautiful shells at your disposal!
At first, I was nervous that feeding them shells would cause them to break their own eggs, but I really haven’t seen that issue. I still get a broken egg now and then, but it’s rare. I’m no chicken expert, let’s make that clear. But I’ve been under the impression that chickens will break or eat their egg when there is a default. Like the egg has a thin shell or cracks. By providing extra calcium you may actually stop them from egg eating.
I’ve heard of two different ways of providing the egg shells. Mixed in with their feed, or in it’s own separate feeder. If you have a 3-4 hens all of egg laying age I think mixing in their feed is fine. (Remember, I’m not an expert though) If you have a rooster or chickens of different ages, you can provide a separate feeder and the hens will eat as needed. Chickens are smarter than we may think!
So to the “recipe” -
I keep a bowl right next to my oven, and every time I use eggs, the shells go right in the bowl.
When the bowl is about full, I process them.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the egg shells on a cookie sheet. I use a reusable non-stick cookie sheet liner.
Bake the shells for 10 minutes. I have found this helps kill any bacteria and also makes the shells much easier to break. – I think this is my biggest tip. Regrettably, I cannot remember who gave me this tip, so if it was you, please let me know!
After they’re done baking, but them on the counter to cool. They will cool fairly quickly.
Now you can do one of two things. You can through them all into a bag and crush them down a bit, or you can put them straight into your food processor. Either way, next is the food processor.
I pulse the food processor a few times until the shells are broken into little pieces. You don’t want powder, or sand. You need a happy medium.
And there you have it!! Easy, free calcium!