Why should you bake your eggshells vs. just throwing them out to the chickens with your kitchen scraps? What are the benefits of feeding eggshells to your chickens?
To Bake or Not to Bake to Feed Eggshells to Your Chickens
You may have heard that you should cook your eggshells before feeding them to your chickens. Why? You may ask. What are the benefits? Chickens need calcium, and a lot of it so their eggshells are stronger. They may not be unbreakable but this can help, since eggshells are made mostly of calcium carbonate. The calcium helps the hen with other things as well, she may not lay as many eggs or the egg she is trying to lay may get stuck and this can cause egg-binding. When feeding the chickens back their eggshells, you are not only saving money, you are offering them something that could save their life. Then the hen has the option or not to eat the shells.
Directions for Baking Eggshells
The way you bake them is this: I save up egg shells in a bag under my sink until I have a full enough bag, and then I start the oven to 400 degrees. Dump out the shells onto the aluminum covered baking pan and cook for 30 minutes. I’ve also read you can cook them for 8-10 minutes. We have one or more chickens that are having soft shells and we aren’t sure at this point why that is. It could be they have an infection, which we are trying to cure with natural measures. I guess it depends on how much time you have that particular day. After they cool, then crush them with a rolling pin to your liking. You may also choose to just put the eggshells out uncooked for the chickens with kitchen scraps and let them have at them. It’s July and not so hot in the east, but hot enough that you don’t want to start the oven in the middle of the day.
Today I decided to be wise and when I turned on my oven, to start baking a cheesecake, I would also bake the egg shells for the chickens and re-season my cast iron skillet. It isn’t supposed to be hot outside so I thought, why not? AND maybe even throw in some bacon in the oven while I’m at it. That worked out fine, except for the fact that the cheesecake I chose to make took like 4 hours. It was really yummy, though. My husband still talks about it, almost on a daily basis. Here is a picture of one of the slices.
Saving Money by Only Turning On Oven for Multiple Purposes
The next time I make it, I can be a little more prepared, plus, I don’t have a springform pan anymore. So, I tried my tart pan, but It was somewhat hard to get it out of the pan without making it look a little less desirable. It still tasted heavenly, but if I served it to anyone other than my husband, I would have been embarrassed. If you’re interested in using up some of your rhubarb and strawberries, you can find the recipe here.
We used to just throw out the eggshells with the kitchen scraps each day but I think my hens are lazy and they would just ignore them. Even when I throw scraps out for them I feel like they want me to tear them into (or cut) nice dainty-sized pieces. Silly hens, who has time for that? Tell me if you prefer to bake your eggshells or just throw out the uncooked ones with your kitchen scraps…
Bonus Money Saver
Money saver! I save my bacon grease to make eggs in the morning. Do you throw yours out or reuse it? Let me know in the comments below.
Questions About Calcium for Chickens
What other foods have calcium that I can feed my chickens? You can try Crushed oyster shell, crushed limestone (also called Chicken Grit), fresh milk, eggs, fish and other organ meats, and leafy greens such as broccoli leaves, cucumber leaves as well as cabbage leaves.