Why do chickens eat their egg shells?
Egg shells offer a great source of calcium and other minerals that a chicken needs to create an egg in its body. A Chicken gets this from other things such as grit in the wild or oyster shells in store bought food.
Chicken owners will usually also have an abundance of eggs and therefore egg shells too. Feeding them back to the chickens is a good way to recycle your waste shells.
Is it safe to give chickens their own egg shells?
Yes it is completely safe to do so, there are a few things you should do first though. The egg shells may harbour some bacteria which could cause some stomach upset. If there is any cooked or raw egg on the shells, the chickens may get a taste for them and eat their own eggs!
What should I do to prepare the egg shells?
You can make sure the shells are safe for a chicken to consume by completing the following;
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees / 170c / Gas mark 4
- Wash the egg shells well in hot water
- Crush the egg shells up in a paper towel or kitchen towel. You can use something like a rolling pin to help crush them
- Lay the broken shells out on a baking tray
- Cook the eggs at 350 degrees / 170c / Gas mark 4 for at least 8 minutes
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool
This process will bring the egg shells to a temperature above what most bacteria can survive, sterilizing them and making them safe for consumption. Store the shells in an airtight jar and add to your chickens feed once or twice per week.