The Hens are laying like mad at the moment. It feels like spring with the glut of older and pullet eggs coming in the house at the moment..
We are getting between 7 to 8 dozen a week at the moment, 2 dozen are being hard boiled for this and that, fresh are being scrambled for breakfasts and extra’s are being feed to the pig/hounds/purrpots.
That leaves a lot of shells (well other then the pig, who gets them whole), I could crush them and use them for the compost/garden, which is what I will switch to in the spring , when the hens will all be out eating bugs and such and crunching up their shells for extra yummies.
However in the deep of winter, the girls are getting their oyster Shell but it never hurts to increase their Calcium Carbonate intake in a totally safe and natural way.
I never feed back raw shells or bigger pieces to them.. Its just not worth the risk of creating egg eaters to me. I collect them in a bucket, letting them air dry as I collect a few days worth at time, then after I use my oven for something else, I turn the heat down 200 or you could go 250 if you wanted and I bake them 20 to 30 minutes.. Its not fussy here, you want them dried out.
Once they are cooled enough to touch, I just take the potato masher to them and get them to the point you see above.. lots of folks do feed them just like that, I have read it in books but I go the final step, I throw that into the blender and give them a final grind.
*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.
This blend can be sprinkled into their regular feed. Its a healthy way to recycle their shells back to them in the deep cold dark winter. It also cuts costs for their bought Oyster Shell and saving money is always a good thing!
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