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January 9, 2014

POULTRY HEALTH: EGG SHELLS

Posted by Anais Dervaes

Now that our new batch of chickens are old enough to lay (yeah!) we now not only get fresh eggs but also egg shells. As old-time homesteaders know, nothing goes to waste on a homestead ... not even egg shells. In fact, they are a great source of calcium for chickens. Of course, you can always compost them or add it to your soil as the tiny, finely ground egg shells will help keep slugs and snails away in both the compost or soil while adding nutrients.

However, a laying hen needs calcium and what better way to give them the needed calcium than feeding them their own egg (shells), for that matter, instead of purchasing calcium supplements like oyster shells from the feed store. Oyster shells aren't sustainable so why purchase an unnecessary product that chickens already produce? Some even state that feeding your chickens finely ground egg shells helps keep them from eating the eggs they have laid which they often will instinctively eat if they are deficient in calcium. Grinding them up so that they do not resemble an egg helps the chickens not recognize them as eggs while taking away any cravings for calcium which, in turn, drives them to find a nearby source which usually means an egg hunt.

I have a basket in the kitchen just for egg shell keeping as the uses of shells are many. Not only are they good for chickens and compost but they are also good for humans, too. For either human or chicken consumption, it is best to heat the shells in the 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes and then crush them with a rolling pin For people consumption, it is best to add the step of washing the egg first, being careful to leave as much as the membrane in place inside the shells for added nutrition and then boil them in water for about ten minutes. Let them dry out over night on a tray. The next day you can heat them up quickly in an oven as already mentioned, pulverize them (rolling pin works!), then store in a glass jar.

This is not meant to be an "eggs-act" science and I am not an "eggs-pert" (help me, I can't stop), so I am sure you can "egg-periment" and find your own preference for your own needs.

Happy hens


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11 Comments: "POULTRY HEALTH: EGG SHELLS" »

  1. I put my baked egg shells in a coffee grinder to make a powder that goes in my workout protein shakes. A frozen banana in the shake keeps the granuales afloat.

  2. Is this true w duck eggs as well, Anais?

  3. Is this true w duck eggs as well, Anais?

  4. Good for you! I crush mine then put in my coffee bean grinder to make a powder and place in 00 capsules as our calcium supplement. The water I boil them in is used in my gardens.

    Love your site and have been following you for years!

  5. Anais, human consumption? What do you do with them after boiling, drying, and crushing? This is new to me. I've heard the crushing feeding back to chickens and spreading in the garden but not the human consumption. Very interesting.

    Have a great Californian warm day. Freezing cold single digit temperatures in Nebraska

  6. I rinse the egg shells, let them dry and grind them down in a mortar and pestle to a fine powder and feed them to my dog..she gets a tablespoon a day

  7. I also use egg shells for my quail in case some one keeps a flock.

  8. I must say it to be a mouth watering stuff.

    I recently found a blog about the benefits of chicken.

    I was amazed to see the benefits of chicken.

    Benefits and taste a lovely combination.

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