POULTRY HEALTH: EGG SHELLS
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.
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