Chickens in the compost heap: questions

Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex

10 Years
Apr 30, 2009
Rogue Valley, S. Oregon
I really don't mind them in there... they like it, and they make the compost better
and it sure is fun to see them come running when they see me coming with the bucket we keep in the kitchen. We used to sort the 'chicken treats' out from the kitchen waste, but no longer bother since it seems they like sorting through it all even better.
We mostly have small ammounts of different plant stuff in there (the dogs get all the meat-based scraps except the cooked bones) so I don't worry too much about them eating stuff that may or may not be great for them. It seems that there are so many conflicting reports of what pets can and should eat that I would loose my mind trying to sort the potential hazards out. We have few scraps, and many chickens.

But here is my question: Whenever egg shells end up in the compost, the girls devour them. The boys sit there with pieces of lettuce or something more recognizable as food, clucking anxiously, trying to get the girls to eat the real food, but the hens just keep eating egg shells. I have a constant supply of layer mix available, allegedly complete feed for laying hens, so what's the deal?

For a while, I was also worried about them wanting to eat eggs when I saw this behaviour. I did catch my giants eating an egg once, but I realized the feeder was empty and once I filled it, everyone was happy again- no more eaten eggs. I think they just thought they were going to starve (how they could think this when roaming a quarter acre of grass and bugs, I know not) and once things were right again, they never tried again. Also, the egg they ate was laid on the floor, not in a box... fair game?

So... any thoughts on eating egg shells? Is it normal? Is it healthy? Are my hens crazy?


9 Years
Jun 14, 2010
Chickens will eat eggs it is actually good for them yet you dont want to get them use to eating the eggs whole. if they want to eat them scramble an egg and crush the shell finely cook it with the egg. If they get use to eating the egg raw then there is no guarantee they will not start eating them from the nesting box.
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