Feeding hens their own shells...

coltsfoot

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 21, 2011
35
2
89
Ok so the economic motivations for feeding chickens their own eggshells are obvious, and the girls certainly seem to enjoy them...

My question is whether anyone has ever read or heard of research done on the long-term safety of chickens eating their own eggshells. For example, the lethal mad cow disease may have not ever existed, and certainly wouldn't have ever spread had people not been feeding cow parts to their cows. So what about our lovely chickens eating their eggs? Any thoughts?
 

Charm1704

Songster
9 Years
Sep 30, 2010
545
53
181
Elgin, Tx
I have always feed them egg shells.....to me it's like giving back....I've had poultry for 30+ years and None have ever turned
mad or eaten their own eggs. ~Charm1704
 

Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium member
9 Years
One difference, perhaps, is that the chicken is pre-programed to gobble up any egg that breaks or is soft shelled, etc. Sometimes this goes a wry and one fights egg eating hens, but it isn't a huge problem. But I've never seen a chicken pass up a broken egg in the nest. Whereas a cow wouldn't eat cow brains if she came across them. Those had to be "hidden" within the feed. Just an observation.

That tells me that "re-cycling" is part of the chicken's instinct and thus, completely natural and normal. I absolutely feed back shells.
 

Christie Rhae

Songster
9 Years
Jul 5, 2010
1,459
35
168
Big Island, Hawaii
Someone once wrote:

If you have a pen of cows or horses that are starving and one dies... The horses or cows would never ever start to eat the one that died. The only way a cow or horse will eat cow or horse is if it is disguised and they are tricked into eating it. This just goes against nature.

Now chickens.... they are scavengers. If you just hold still too long in a chicken coop they will eat you. lol! ok maybe I made that part up.

I like this one "if you faint in the chicken coop make sure you fall face first...cuz eyes are shiny."

That one cracks me up!

I dry out the egg shells first. Just a minute or two in the broiler on a cookie sheet, then I crush them all up so the girls don't get the idea that their eggs are yummy.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
3,899
581
Southern Oregon
My chickens don't have any diseases to start with. And as stated, it's in their nature, it's biological for them. Chickens are oppertunistic cannibals, where cows can't cannibalize. Makes sense to me.
 

Beekissed

Free Ranging
12 Years
Feb 14, 2008
22,974
4,899
602
This world is not my home.
Since studies have shown that chickens have no brain tissue and are basically spineless(hence the derogatory term of "chicken") it would be somewhat difficult for them to get Mad Chicken disease due to the difficulty in keeping the disease alive in their bodies.

As for the egg? A chicken will gladly eat their own feces and anyone else's~including yours if given a chance~ and declare it "feather lickin' good" so I'm not a bit worried about an egg that has issued from the more sterile recesses of their reproductive organs.

Nope...not worried. I don't bake them or sterilize them or spritz them with bleach before feeding them back to my chickens.
 

nurse_turtle

Songster
8 Years
May 28, 2011
3,518
91
201
Foothills of NC
I can usually spot sarcasm a mile away, but Beekissed, are you being sarcastic about chickens having no brain tissue? Exposed brain is one of the most common causes for near hatch fatalities.

 

coltsfoot

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 21, 2011
35
2
89
But I've never seen a chicken pass up a broken egg in the nest. Whereas a cow wouldn't eat cow brains if she came across them. Those had to be "hidden" within the feed. Just an observation.
That's definitely an interesting observation!

I'm still wondering if any science nerds care to comment on the potential existence/transmission of transmissable chickeniform encephalopathies.
 

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