If they don't have enough calcium to create the shell, it will result in very thin-shelled eggs and calcium will start being leached from the hen's bones.You can buy commercially packaged crushed oyster shell, or you can save money by processing your eggshells to feed back to your hens.
Farmers and homesteaders have been feeding eggshells to their chickens for hundreds of years. My grandmother certainly wasn't running out to the feed store to buy oyster shell when she had eggshells at hand. It makes sense.
I don't recommend mixing the shells into the feed anyway because if you have roosters, drakes or pullets who haven't started laying yet, they don't need the calcium and too much can actually damage pullets' kidneys later in life.
One word of caution: Never feed store bought eggshells or the shells from a friend or neighbor's flock, because they can contain bacteria that your hens are not accustomed to. Only feed your hens their ownshells.
In fact, a study presented at the 2006 Iowa State University Integrated Crop Management Conference by extension field specialists John Holmes and Paul Kassel found eggshells to be an effective means of reducing soil acidity, on par with agricultural lime, which is mined from limestone.
Though nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels offered by eggshells are relatively low, the takeaway here is that what is usually discarded as waste can be an incredible source of calcium, with value as an amendment used both to feed plants and to neutralize acidic soil.
In a paper published in the March 2016 issue of the International Journal of Innovative Research in Science, Engineering and Technology, Madhavi Gaonkar and A. P. Chakraborty from Dr. Babasaheb Amebedkar University in Maharashtra, India, described their research on using eggshells as a calcium supplement and fertilizer.
Before you add eggshells to your compost pile or worm bin, pulverize the dried shells to ensure that your finished compost is smooth and dirt like, uncluttered by large pieces of shell. Note that composting whole eggs is generally not advisable, since the smell can attract rodents.
If you are able to successfully clean your eggshells without breaking them, next poke two or three small holes into the bottom of each shell to ensure the seedlings have well-drained soil. The tip of a metal paper clip works well for this.
According to T. J. Martin at the Cochise County Master Gardeners office, crushed eggshells are also an effective deterrent against cutworms when a layer is scattered around the stems of sensitive young seedlings.
He found that when the shells were crushed to the size of baby aspirin, and piled into a 1/4-inch deep barrier, he got the best results. These shards slowed the slugs down a bit, but the barrier was not enough of a deterrent to make the slugs turn back or to prevent them from crossing it.
A common question is can you put eggshells in compost heaps The answer to this is yes, you can. Adding eggshells to compost will help add calcium to the make up of your final compost. This important nutrient helps plants build cell walls. Without it, plants cannot grow as fast, and, in the case of some vegetables like tomatoes and squash, fruit will develop blossom end rot because there is simply not enough building material (calcium) coming into the plant. Using eggshells in the vegetable garden compost can help prevent this.
Eggshells can also be used in the garden to help fight off pests like slugs, snails, cutworms and other crawling pests. Crushed eggshells works much like diatomaceous earth on these pests. When crawling pests cross over an area in the garden where crushed eggshells have been spread, the eggshells make several small cuts in the pests. The pests then dehydrate and die due to these cuts.
Crushing eggshells for pest control is as easy as tossing your empty eggshells into a food processor for a few seconds or just rolling them under a bottle or rolling pin. After the eggshells are crushed, sprinkle them around the areas in your garden where you are having problems with slugs and other crawling pests.
Using eggshells in the garden is a great way to make use of something that would normally just get thrown out. You can put eggshells in compost, in soil or use them as a kind of organic insecticide, which means that not only are you helping reduce trash, but helping your garden too.
A study in isolated cells found that calcium absorption was up to 64% greater from eggshell powder compared to pure calcium carbonate. Researchers attributed these effects to certain proteins found in eggshells (1).
In addition to calcium and protein, eggshells also contain small amounts of other minerals, including strontium, fluoride, magnesium and selenium. Just like calcium, these minerals may play a role in bone health (3, 7, 8, 9, 10).
The idea here is that blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency, so adding calcium-rich eggshells to the soil could provide calcium to your tomatoes (or other plants that suffer from blossom end rot).
And finally, if you've added eggshells to your compost, you know that they don't decompose very quickly. It's no different if you add eggshells directly to your garden soil. Even if you did need the calcium in your soil, eggshells generally decompose too slowly to be effective. However, the smaller the pieces are, the faster they'll decompose.
One of the best, cheapest, and most bioavailable sources of calcium is eggshells. Yes, regular old eggshells. And with nothing more than a coffee grinder and a few clean shells, you can whip up your own calcium powder in less than an hour. So go ahead and give your smoothies (or juice, soup, or morning elixir) a boost with this DIY eggshell calcium powder.
Eggshells are useful to vermicomposting bins because they help increase the pH of the entire bin contents to make it less acidic. This is not something the casual worm composting enthusiast needs to worry about too much. Our Red Wiggler composting worms are quite hearty and can survive without much attention. More serious hobbyists take the time to measure pH of the bin bedding. Throwing in a handful of crushed eggshells once in a while adds slow-release calcium, which helps keep the pH neutral.
The best technique for handling eggshells is to rinse them and let them air dry. After several dozen pile up, crush them with a mortar and pestle or any hard object. This should quickly result in powdered eggshells. Sprinkle them on top of your worm bin. You can choose to work them in to the bedding a bit.
In a healthy worm bin, your worms will have babies. You might notice tiny, brown round dots. These are the eggs. Soon they hatch into small worms that quickly grow full-sized. The vermicomposting bin is self-regulating, in that the population will expand to the capacity of the bin size, available food, temperature and conditions. Eggshells are believed to be helpful for worm reproduction. If you have a lot of worms in your bin, you can choose to remove some worms. Start a new bin, give them to a neighbor, or use them for fishing. Otherwise, just let the population regulate itself.
I usually have 3 to 5 dozen eggs in my house at all times. We eat a lot of eggs. I used to throw the shells away or put them in the compost pile but now I save them for repurposing. This is how I process them before using eggshells around the home.
Drying your shells allows them to crush more completely before you add them to your compost bin. Crushing them will speed up the decomposition process. Also, make sure that you thoroughly wash them before hand in order not to attract vermin on your property.
2. For pest control of slugs and snails. In theory, crushed eggshells work much like diatomaceous earth on slugs, snails, cutworms and other soft bodied pests. In practice, if the eggshells are not properly sanitized, they can become a slug attractor and do next to nothing about protecting you against the crawlies. But for your peace of mind, apply the crushed eggshells around the plant(s) you want to protect and see what happens.
1. Make a nourishing face mask by combining 2 tsp. crushed eggshells, 1 tsp honey, and 1 egg yolk. Mix and gently massage on your face for at least a minute, keeping away from the eyes. Rinse after 15 minutes.
3. Make your own calcium supplement. Use only thoroughly cleaned organic eggs for this recipe. Just bake the eggshells at 350 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes or until they become brittle. Turn them into a fine powder in your food processor. Consume one teaspoon of the eggshell powder every day.
5. Adjust the mineral content of your water kefir. Water kefir grains can be incredibly healthy but they need their environment to be re-mineralized from time to time. You could use mineral drops or add half of crushed egg shell to your water kefir and let it sit there until the grains have done their thing. Make sure that the eggshells come from pastured poultry and that they are squeaky clean.
Why bake the eggshells first Because baking the shells makes them safer for the chickens, by killing any potential bacteria lurking on them with heat. This is especially important if they were sitting around for a while after being cracked open.
Hi Anne, age, health, nutrition, and environmental factors such as heat stress due to high daily temperatures can all cause soft shelled eggs. Free choice crushed eggshells or oyster shells, along with a decent layer feed for hens should be enough for their nutritional needs and if you are experiencing hotter days, the soft egg issue may improve as the days start to cool down. Hope that helps and good luck!
Hi Moon, if it gets hot enough where you live, by all means dry them in the sun. Make sure their drying location is dry and free of moisture, they may take a few days until they are fully dry. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
For years, eggshells have been recommended as an amendment to soils and containers due to their high calcium content. Some gardeners who grow tomatoes swear by adding six or more eggshells in the planting hole, with the idea that the extra calcium will reduce blossom end rot of tomato fruit. Other gardeners use compost their eggshells to add calcium to their finished compost. 59ce067264