Egg-cellent Ways to Reuse Eggshells
by Manda H
Published December 12, 2023
Did you know, about 95% of that dried eggshell consists of calcium carbonate? It also has some trace elements such as copper, potassium, and zinc. Various minerals partially depend on the chicken’s diet.
When raising chickens, we generally focus on our ability to enjoy their eggs for breakfast and baking, while oftentimes throwing away a very useful byproduct – the eggshell! Let us go through 8 Egg-cellent ways to reuse your egg shells instead of sending such a valuable asset to the landfill.
The first thing you need to do is rinse out the shell shells and place them somewhere to dry out. Within a couple of hours you will have nice brittle shells that will crumble easily with your fingers. You can also put your shells on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until thoroughly baked crisp.
With compost you can add your shells directly as they will break down over time. However the calcium and minerals will be more readily available when in smaller pieces compared to being in halves. This compost enrichment greatly helps plants that need calcium such as tomatoes. Increasing your soil’s calcium level can help reduce problems such as Blossom End Rot on your tomatoes.
2. The Home Garden
In addition to improving your soil, as mentioned previously, there are other ways that eggshells can assist in your garden. Do you have any problems with snails or other soft bodied pests? Taking dried egg shells and crushing them up and making a circle around your plants will prevent slugs from being able to reach your plants. Imagine creating a fortress wall around your raised strawberry garden with crushed egg shells! The slugs will be furious and you will smile a little bigger when you enjoy your tasty berries. You will need to replenish the shells regularly for the greatest effectiveness.
Adding crushed dried egg shells to your worm bin provides multiple benefits. Calcium reduces acidity. Worms cannot survive, let alone thrive, in acidic conditions and therefore eggshells can help them thrive. It also adds grit which aids in the red wigglers digestion. Calcium is also very beneficial to the worms whenever your bed is high in protein as the calcium helps to neutralize the bedding.
4. Wild Birds
Crushed, dried eggshells in bite-sized pieces can be placed in the bird feeders. This would provide wild birds with additional calcium and minerals. The wild birds would benefit the same as feeding back to your own chickens, which takes us to #5.
5. Feeding back to your Chickens!
I know, you probably have been “warned” that feeding eggshells back to your chickens will cause them to become egg eaters. I assure you that feeding back dried, crumbled egg shells to your chickens will not cause them to become egg eaters. In fact, it can reduce the risk because the increased calcium levels will create thicker healthier shells. You can add the crushed egg shell into their feed bowl or have a side dish with the egg shells, which can replace your need to provide Oyster Shells.
6. Coffee Additive
What? Coffee? The coffee you drink each morning? Yes, you can have it as something you consume once it has been properly cleaned, dehydrated, and stored. Pulverized into a powder, you can then add to the grounds the equivalent of 1 egg per 4 cups of coffee. The shells get brewed with the grounds, not as something added in place of creamer. This will reduce acidity in your coffee while also providing some additional calcium. This is a really great option when you are camping and need to cook those grounds over your campfire.
7. Dirty Pots and Pans
The dish scrubby sometimes is just not abrasive enough to get rid of all of the food baked along the edges. Crushed egg shells, in addition to your needed soap and water can reduce the amount of time needed to get your pans clean. When you are done you can still take your sink strainer and dump the shells into your compost for double use.
8. Seed Starters
Instead of purchasing plastic seed starter cups you can start your seeds in a clean egg shell packed with your potting mix. When it is time to plant in your garden you can simply squeeze a little extra to break it open so that the roots have no trouble finding their way out. Double benefit as the shell will provide additional calcium and minerals to the soil as it decomposes.
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