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When I was a child, I had an elderly neighbor. Everyone called her 'Granny'. She kept chickens in a penned lot in back of her home. When she threw laying mash to her hens, she always included a smattering of crushed eggshells. Now, I know why. When eggs begin to form in a female bird, the bird seeks additional calcium in her diet. This extra calcium helps to strengthen her eggshells.
I wash, crush, and dry eggshells throughout the year. I try to keep at least a pint on hand. When spring arrives and I see new faces outside my window, and hear all those mating calls, I know it's time to add a few eggshells along with the bird seed to the feeders.
Keep a few of those eggshells for another reason. Adding a teaspoon or so to the bottom of the hole when planting tomatoes will do wonders at stopping blossom end rot. You will be supplying a slow release form of calcium which is better than the blossom end rot sprays you buy. The sprays are not cheap. The eggshells are free. Your choice. If you happen to have a bottle of blossom end rot spray around, check the label. You'll find the active ingredient is no more than a liquid form of calcium.
Don't throw away your egg shells, bake them to sanitize, grind them up, and use to dust crickets or other insects before feeding the insects to your reptiles. You can also put some in your bird's food when they are laying eggs to give them extra calcium.
By Avery Davis-Fletcher from Langley, OK
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Over the many years that we kept chickens, people told us we could cook their egg shells in the oven for 30 minutes at 350, then crush them and feed them back. It reduced the amount of oyster shell we had to feed them and made their egg shells stronger.
Now we have parakeets and they do consume the chicken eggshells. The eggs they are laying have stronger shells; so much the better for hatching strong chicks. We have not had to supplement with cuttlebone since starting this practice.
When we get too many, I put the shells in the blender to powder them, and sprinkle it over the flower beds that have tulips and daffodils and other bulbs. The flowers are improved, and I can keep even tulips for 15-20 years instead of having them peter out.
By Coreen from Rupert, ID
Thanks, brilliant idea. (01/10/2011)