egg shells in compost?


In the Brooder
Jan 27, 2020
There can be several issues that can lead to egg eating.
Diet and crowding can have an effect.
Like most behavioral problems, it's often an individual bird thing, not a breed thing.
Thank you -- appreciated.


Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Would you say egg eating has to do with overcrowding, or a problem with their diet -- or are some breeds more likely to go that way?
To me an egg eater is a chicken that purposely opens an egg to eat it. If an egg is already broken many will eat it, that's just taking advantage of an opportunity. To me that is not a problem. I've had one egg eater in my life, though I've had several that will clean up a broken egg. Usually they eat the egg and not the shell, but some will eat shells.

When I cook eggs I break them open and toss the half-shells in the compost. No crushing, cooking, or worrying about them being dry. For the first three years my chickens free ranged until dogs became a problem, so I then put them in electric netting. For those three years the chickens loved going to the compost pile for snacks. For the most part they did not eat those shells, they were getting enough calcium from other sources, probably oyster shell offered on the side. Just because they were there didn't mean they would eat them. My egg eater was not during those three years.

I think what taught my hen to open eggs was that I had a pullet just starting to lay and she dropped an egg at night on the droppings board and it broke. I don't know that for sure but things pointed that way. Over the years I've had eggs broken under the roosts, on the coop or run floor, or even in nests and that's the only time I ever had an egg eater. It can happen, it's a pain when it does, but from what I've seen it isn't that often.

If you are concerned, save the shells, dry them, and crush them, then use them directly in your garden around plants where you have slugs. I'm not sure I believe it but supposedly slugs don't like crawling on the sharp shell's. Actually I don't believe it but it sounds good. Point is, you can put them directly in your garden, they are not hot at all and will not harm your plants. And since a lot of the calcium the chickens eat doesn't actually get digested but goes out the hen's rear, if you put chicken poop in the compost pile the compost is still a good source of calcium for your plants.
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