Feeding your Chickens Crushed Eggshells

May 2, 2017

Even chickens fed the best-quality layer feed will benefit from being offered a calcium supplement to ensure strong shells on the eggs they lay. Crushing eggshells and feeding them back to your chickens is the easiest, most economical way to give your girls some extra calcium.

The process is simple and easy, but there are a few myths and misconceptions out there. So first here are a few clarifications - and then I'll share my simple method.

The Myths Busted
- Feeding your chickens crushed eggshells won't lead to "unauthorized" egg eating 
(I actually think it helps prevent egg eating by providing them extra calcium, so they don't go looking for it on their own)

- The shells don't need to be baked or microwaved 
(there's nothing on them that your chickens haven't already been exposed to)

- The shells shouldn't be pulverized - 1/4" pieces are fine 
(pieces smaller than that will pass through your chickens' systems too fast and not be absorbed)

- It's not okay to feed your chickens shells from store bought eggs or a friend or neighbor's chickens 
(those shells might contain bacteria that your chickens' systems aren't used to and could make them sick)

- Eggshell should not be mixed into your chickens' feed, it should always be fed free-choice
(each chicken will eat as much or as little as she needs and roosters won't eat any, if you mix the shells in, you're just going to find much of the eggshell ends up being wasted)

5 Easy Steps to Crushing Eggshells
1. After cracking my eggs into the bowl or frying pan, I toss the empty shells into the sink. 

2. After we're done eating, I rinse the shells under running water and pull out the membrane. (Totally, optional, but I find the shells dry faster and crush better with the membrane removed.)

3. Then I let the shells dry on the counter on a paper towel.

4. Once the water has dried off the shells, they go into a bowl on the kitchen counter for a few days until they're brittle.

5. Once the shells are dry and brittle, I simply crush them with my fingers into fairly small pieces and then store them in a canister or mason jar. When the dispenser in the coop is empty, I refill it from my stash in the kitchen.

And it's as easy as that.  No baking, nuking, rolling pin or coffee grinder needed. And you've got a simple, free and easy source of additional calcium for your chickens!

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