When you have a lot of chickens and quail and are eating their eggs it would only seem that you probably have a lot of eggshells as well. What do you do with all the eggshells? Compost for sure, but there are more things you can do with them around your homestead.
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What to Do with Eggshells
Always remember to use farm-raised chicken eggs. It’s best if you know where your eggs come from because factory-farmed eggs have higher amounts of bacteria, such as salmonella than backyard chickens.
Finding ways to use old shells on the homestead is the perfect task for anyone who likes turning trash into a treasure.
I bake my eggshells on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Low temperature for about 10-15 minutes. I use a coffee grinder or blender to crush them up finely once cooled.
In the Garden
Did you know you can use eggshells to start growing your garden? They are the perfect, most affordable “container” to start your seeds in.
Eggshells contain such an abundance of calcium that they can be used almost like lime, though you would need a lot of shells to make a measurable impact. The calcium from eggshells is also welcome in garden soil, where it moderates soil acidity while providing nutrients for plants.
One of the easiest ways to use eggshells is to crush them up and add the shells to your compost. Eggshells are considered a “green” addition to your compost. They help to add nutrients to the compost that your vegetable plants, fruit trees, and berry bushes will love.
With Your Chickens & Quail
Chickens and quail need calcium in their diet to produce hard-shelled eggs. Crushing and feeding the eggshells back to the chickens is like giving them a calcium vitamin each day. Some people like to purchase oyster shell supplements, but why buy supplements when their own eggshells are free?
I have not had a hen, chicken or quail, turn around and eat fresh eggs after feeding them ground-up shells.
Many gardeners also tout the use of crushed shells as a snail and slug repellent. But a recent test by All About Slugs seems to have dispelled this. Having tried this method before, I am not surprised by this test.
Being a homestead means that you have to look at things differently, and tossing eggshells in the trash or compost bin isn’t an option if they can be used elsewhere and help you save money. That’s wasteful, and eggshells aren’t just waste. They’re little treasures in the making.