Here is why you need to be feeding your chickens eggshells!
If you are thinking about getting chickens or are new to chickens, here’s a little fun fact for you! Eggs are made up of mostly calcium carbonate. Which means that a chicken needs a good amount of calcium in their diet to produce eggs with hard shells. Without adequate calcium, the egg shells can become soft. This is a big problem because the egg can break as the chicken is laying it. This could kill chicken or if the egg cracks in the nest, your chicken could get a taste for their own eggs and start to eat them. All the more reason why you want to make sure your chicken is getting enough calcium.
Most chicken feed has calcium already in it. And if you have free ranging chickens, they’re getting it in their diet from foraging. If your chickens are cooped up in a run the majority of the time, it’s especially important that you’re supplementing them with additional calcium. The easiest and most cost effective way is to simply feed them their egg shells which are full of calcium!
I keep a bowl for my eggshells on my kitchen counter. At the end of the week I will throw the eggshells onto a baking sheet. Pop them into the oven for around 10 minutes at 350 degrees. This dries out any of the membranes that might still be moist. It also makes it so the shells are nice and crunchy. Once the eggshells have cooled, I throw them into a ziploc bag. A quick roll over with my rolling pin makes them crunched up and ready for the chickens! The reason that you want to crush the eggshells down is so they’re not recognizable by the chicken. Remember, we don’t want them getting any ideas when it comes to their freshly laid eggs!
I put my shells into a little dish and set it by their water for easy access. Also, until your chickens are of laying age (around 6 months) there is no need to supplement them with calcium.
Hope this helps! Happy egg laying!