eggshell calcium

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by crazychics4me, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. crazychics4me

    crazychics4me In the Brooder

    Sep 6, 2011
    Please share here what your take is on re-using the egg shells for calcium. If you bake & crush them well is it safe? I would like to try it if I can be sure my hens won't get that bad habit of pecking their eggshells....Thanks!!! [​IMG]

  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I've always fed back the egg shells but only crushed. I don't always bake them - as long as they are dried out, they will crush quite easily. I've found that they far prefer egg shell to oyster shell, and have had no issues with egg eating.
    1 person likes this.
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I do know alot of people who will crush the eggshells, and bake them, then feed them back to the chickens by mixing them into their food. I don't think it encourages them to eat their own eggs. They don't recognize them as even being egg shells, I think......

    I personally use oyster shell.
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Don't have time nor desire to fuss with the old shells. Just toss them in a bucket and they air dry. Crush them to bits in a week. Toss them in with their feed.
    Not opposed to buying oyster shell, but just never have. Never needed to.
  5. CarolynF

    CarolynF Songster

    May 11, 2011
    Puget Sound
    My Coop
    That's what mine get. It's an age-old practice that's still used by lots of people and it works well. If the shells ever get thin/weak I'll add oyster shell, but there's no sign of it thus far. I don't know if baking is needed, but if you have the time and inclination why not. I REALLY don't want to give them any excuse to develop a taste for eggs, so I rinse them and pop them into the microwave for about 30 - 60 seconds. It dries them quickly too and I can crush them whenever it's convenient. Rather than mixing it with the feed, I have a separate tin, wired to the fence, that I put it in.
  6. stcroixusvi

    stcroixusvi Songster

    May 5, 2011
    Western NC
    My Coop
    I learned here to keep a Pyrex dish in the oven and toss the egg shells in as I use them. When the oven is preheating, I leave the shells in there and take them out when I get ready to bake something. The egg shells cook and are easy to crush.
  7. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    I have cuckoo marans that has to have egg shells or she starts thinning out her shells and then lays shell-less ones. I just put them in the window to air dry and then crush them with a rolling pin in a ziplock bag.

  8. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Songster

    Sep 6, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    I feed every eggshell back to my birds - I never dry them, although I feed them whatever "scraps" (eggshells included) every day or two, so they don't have time to go bad. I do crush them up.
  9. ROKD

    ROKD Hatching

    Jun 7, 2012
    Just signed up as official registered users but we have been lurking for years.
    We have had our 6 chickens now for 2 years (3 Rhodies, 3 Americaunas).
    I am replying to this msg thread because we have been crushing, with my hands, the shells of the eggs we use and put them in the scrap bowl and feed them to the chickens each day. They eat them right up and they have never (as far as I know, we have never had a broken egg) pecked at their own eggs.
    Which brings me to calcium:
    We use organic layer feed that has calcium in it and also feed all of their shells back to them. I have just heard that we don't need to use layer feed (with the calcium supplement in it) and we should provide them with oyster shells. If they are low on calcium, they will eat the oyster shells. That sounds good to me, but I don't know if it is true.
    We have 6 new chicklets about 2 weeks old now and we are thinking about utilizing the method of no "layer feed", make our own feed and have oyster shell available for them. Any thoughts?

    Lastly, we are thinking about eating our older hens at the end of summer, letting them lay for us until then to get as many eggs from them as possible. That would put them at roughly 2.5 years old. Would that make them unpleasant tasting chickens to eat? Where is the cut-off age for eating them while they are still good?

    A co-worker from Africa mentioned that their mother used to look at their chickens feet (at what I dont know) to determine if they were still young enough to be good eating? Anyone know anything about that?

    Thanks everyone and sorry for the lengthy post.

  10. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I don't know anything about looking at the feet. I did process one girl who was about 2 1/2 years old, and rather than roast, I put her in the crockpot and made a chicken stew. It was delicious and not at all tough or stringy. I was actually quite surprised as prior to that all I had done were young roos.

    It is true that you don't have to feed layer formula. Many people with mixed age flocks will feed a grower/maintenance formula and just have shell on the side for the laying birds to eat as needed.

    I have at times had mixed aged flocks and I did the above. I could really tell a difference in how much they went after the shell compared to when they are on layer feed that has calcium in it. As long as you have enough shell on hand for them though, it isn't a problem.

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