egg shells in compost used by chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rainbowgardens, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    I read an article in Backyard Poultry magazine by Harvey Ussery about letting your chickens process your compost for you. I am thinking about letting my chickens have access to my compost, but worry about the large number of egg shells it contains. We usually don't crush them up or anything before we throw them in. I don't want the hens to start eating their own eggs , so I need to be sure they don't link the compost ones with the ones they lay.
    My question is, how much do I need to crush them up to be safe. I really don't want to be keeping the shells in the house waiting for them to dry out, nor do I want to be toasting them in the oven all of the time. Would just hand- crushing them right after they are used work?

  2. FunnyFarmer

    FunnyFarmer Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    Efland, NC
    Quote:That's what I do. A quick crunch and in the scrap bucket they go, and I've never had a problem with chickens eating their eggs.
  3. damselfish

    damselfish Songster

    Mar 8, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    We do not crush them up, nor do we cook them. We have had no problems at all.

    I don't think chickens can make the cognitive leap from empty half-eggshell to hmm, maybe a whole egg has something yummy inside of it.

    Good luck.
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Keep a large can in your kitchen (like a #10 can).

    When you use eggs toss the shells in. Once a week mash them down, they will be very dry and just crumble.

    Use those in your layer house to supplement their calcium needs like with oyster shell.

    Don't compost them. It is wasting a viable nutrient they need to lay more eggs.
  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Eggs are round heavy things that are in their nests that they have an unknown instinct to protect and keep warm.

    Eggshells are these flat crumbly light things, or light half round rolly thin things, that they have some curiosity about and seem instinctually to provide some unknown nutrient value so chickens peck them.

    Two different things in a birdbrain’s small bit of gray-matter.

    Cases of egg eating I’ve had have always started with weak-shelled eggs being accidentally broken in the nest by a hen and some curious hen getting stupid. Keep nest boxes clean… feed calcium (including shells from your kitchen) so shells are strong.

    Even eggs dropped in the yard on the way back to the house which are pecked up and eaten fast by the little beasts, aren’t the same … they’re smashed and yummy, not round and solid eggs in a nest.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009

  6. I let my chickens have free access to my compost... less food to buy for them, faster composting... they scratch and stir up the heap... I tend to step on eggshells if it's convenient, give 'em a little smash....
  7. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Crowing

    Oct 16, 2008
    so far the advice is sound..

    I do not crush shells at all.

    the only eggs my chickens eat are what I feed to them or what get broken in the nest or on the ground.

    do an experiment for yourself. drop a whole egg near your chickens. observe the shell. big pieces? small pieces? gone already. hmmmmm
    well drop another one, this time watch quicker..[​IMG]
  8. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Quote:This is the method I use it is just a better way to put the shells to good use. It is just as easy to crush them in your hand and feed them back as it is to toss them on the compost pile. try it next time.

  9. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    You know, this makes me wonder. In nature, do birds eat the remains of their shells after the chicks hatch? Maybe the way mammels eat the placenta?

    I guess I'm just really nervous that I will start an egg eating frenzy after reading so many threads about it.

    I'll try it, but I'm going to watch them close.
    Thanks everyone for your input!

  10. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Crowing

    Oct 16, 2008
    egg eating chickens are extremely rare. many times chickens are wrongfully blamed, to add to the mix..

    there are so many other things to worry about that egg eaters are/should be,,, way off the list..

    it is one of those things to be dealt with when it happens,, not to worry about before it happens..

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