Do you have chickens? If you do, I know you have an abundance of eggshells. We do.
I used to religiously compost mine – threw them right out with the coffee grounds and banana peels. Yup. Out the door.
Little did I know… My ladies could really use them! That was valuable stuff I was tossing out! What the heck was my deal?!
Laying hens need calcium to keep those eggshells nice and strong. A traditional layer blend feed will contain a sufficient amount of calcium for most chickens, but often chickeners (yup – made that word up. That would be a raiser of chickens, folks) will set out additional calcium supplementation for their hens. You can pick up a bag of oyster shell calcium at your local feed store. Myself, however… I am always looking for the most natural – and inexpensive – way to do things. I behold….. Crushed eggshell calcium supplementation!! For free!
We eat our fresh eggs DAILY around here. We keep an ongoing dish either on the counter – or under the counter – to collect our eggs in. Once it starts filling up, it’s crushing time!
I place a single layer of eggshells in a glass pie plate (or any other oven-safe dish) and pop into the oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes or so – just enough to dry the interior of the shells out. Crushing eggshells that aren’t all of the way dry is just plain annoying. They clump up and get stuck all over the smoosher-tool. Yuck!
Once dry, I place a few eggshell halves at a time into a wide-mouth pint mason jar. I like to make things as easy as possible – so I crush AND store in the same container!
Toss a few eggshells in the jar, crush until a fine crumble. Add a few more, crush some more… You get the picture. Just keep on, keepin’ on – until there’s nothing left to crush! The other reason I crush them directly in the jar? So I can pop a lid on it and it’s already set to store!
I don’t get too fancy with the dispensing here. I have a small aluminum chick feeder that I fill with the crushed eggshells – I then place it in the coop for the ladies to have at – free choice.
Since I started doing this, I haven’t had a single thin-shelled egg (I would get the occasional one before). And really – can you beat it if it’s 100% natural AND free?
What kinds of things do you supplement YOUR chickens with? Teach me, folks! 🙂