This lovely sight greeted me this morning, Dear Hubby had washed the eggs and he had color coded them. Just adorable to find this waiting for me when I got up 🙂
With the flush of eggs that comes in the spring, there also comes a glut of egg shells. Most of the time in winter, I throw the egg shells into the pig bucket, when there is a lack of milk in the barn, the extra’s in the egg shell goes along way in the pig bowl.
However come spring my mind turns to other uses, so here is my 3 favorite ways to use up and store extra shells for future use.
Using Dried Egg Shells in the compost pile
This is dead easy, wash, crack and throw them in the compost pile in a scattered way and cover them in the next layer and let them do their thing, I love that when you turn it, you will often find earthworms cuddled up in a half egg shell.. Its truly as easy as that if you are going to use them in a regular compost pile.
Feed them back to your hens
In order to do this properly, you need to clean your egg shells, Wash the eggs before using them so the shells will be clean and then dry them, you can air dry them or you can low heat dry them. I prefer to use the low heat dry them personally. I often have a old ice cream bucket collecting a number of days worth before I will put them in the oven, so they are already air drying and then if I am baking when I take out the baking, I will put them in a single layer and turn the oven off and leave them.. they will be nicely dried and I save on energy costs. If I am doing a big batch of a few dozen, then I will run the oven a lower temp to get them all done if they are in layers. I will give them a stir and check every twenty min’s or so.
Wet Shell crushing, it looks good to the layman but no.. this is not going to get the job done
Dry shell – now we are getting the right way.. the wet shell had a few sharp edges but over it collapsed into itself, where now we have hard and sharp but it also will have crush into bits easily. At this point, you can just put them into a bag or roll them over with a rolling pin and then cool them and put them back into the chickens feed. Its different enough that it does cause egg eating but it give them back much needed Calcium.
Use them directly in your garden soil
You can take your dried crushed bits and hit them with the garden coffee grinder and voila.. 0 mile organic calcium rich soil amendment, I love this to use in the soil for each tomato plant, each large shell should make you around one scant tsp, I like to use about a tbsp. per tomato plant hole in the garden. It can be used directly in the garden in this form.
*The main ingredient in eggshells is calcium carbonate (the same brittle white stuff that chalk, limestone, cave stalactites, sea shells, coral, and pearls are made of). The shell itself is about 95% CaCO3 (which is also the main ingredient in sea shells). The remaining 5% includes calcium phosphate and magnesium carbonate and soluble and insoluble proteins.
Last but not least, I have heard of folks taking this powder themselves. I have not done this myself but it is interesting to me. I am not at the point of wanting to try it yet, but if I did I would grind it into a powder as much as possible and then use it in food prep to hide the shell in this way. or I would get my own make your own pills that you can fill and take that way.
Have you ever taken egg shell? How did you prepare it? Did you find there was a positive health result?