A few people have asked me recently why I feed eggshells to my flock and how I go about doing it, so I thought it was the perfect time to do a post about the topic.
Eggs contain a very large amount of calcium, therefor a laying hen needs a good source of calcium to put back into her body. Calcium deficiency is not only hard on their bodies but also will result in less than desirable eggs. Lack of calcium in a laying hen’s diet can result in paper thin shells or even a shell-less egg. You can, of course, purchase oyster shells or limestone at any feed store as a calcium supplement for your girls but I prefer to go the more frugal and sustainable route. I go ahead and give my flock egg shells from their own eggs that I’ve collected. Egg shells should always be given as a free-choice option to hens and not included in their normal feed.
I always keep a plate or bowl handy in the refrigerator where I place used shells. Storing them in the refrigerator just keeps any left over protein on the shells from going rancid. If you are collecting several eggs everyday you can most likely skip this step and feed your flock the shells daily. Once they are dry you can simply crush the shells into pieces with your hands or throw them in a food processor real quick. The reason for crushing the shells is to make them unrecognizable as eggs.
But will it teach my flock to eat their eggs? There is a very small chance that it could, but it’s highly unlikely. Sometimes chickens will peck at their eggs because their body is craving calcium. If this is the case then providing them with this natural source of calcium should decrease the problem.
My girls are always very excited when I come out with a batch of fresh egg shells for them. They waste no time in gobbling up the shells and all the health benefits that come with them.