When you walk down the chicken keeping aisle at your local feed store, you will notice “Oyster Shells” as an added supplement. While we do have some on hand just in case, one bag lasts us a while because we decided to supplement crushed egg shells as our source of calcium for our girls.
While commercial feed contains calcium, the girls sometimes need that extra boost for their egg production. The quality of their egg shells depend on it. Lately, because the majority of our girls are just starting to lay their first eggs, we have been noticing more and more soft shelled eggs in our nesting boxes and on the “poop tray”. So we decided to do a post about what we do about it.
First, we collect egg shells in a bowl. You can either let them dry naturally or place them in the oven to dry. I suggest the oven not only because it’s quicker, but less chance of any bacteria growing on the shells as it could take a while for them to dry naturally. Then, crush the snot out of them! Make sure they are not in any way, shape or form recognizable as an egg. You don’t want to promote egg eating! In the crushed state, they don’t know that they are eating recycled egg shells. (This is a great “job” for the kids! Our son loves to crush the eggs.)
When they are ready for consumption, you want to make sure you offer it as a freestanding food and not mixed in with their feed. Calcium is one of those supplements that the chicken should know whether or not they need. We try to give it to our girls once a week. If you notice extra calcium building up on the eggs they are laying, back off. Chickens are also known to be gluttons. 😉
Homesteading Tip: Egg shells are also great for compost! So make sure to save some for that too!