Chicken calcium from their own shells

Producing eggs takes a lot of calcium and so chickens need some kind of calcium supplement. You can buy oyster shells but this costs money and why spend money when we have loads of egg shells that we don’t do anything with. So instead of throwing them in the compost bin I save them up and give them back to my chooks. I do it this way to reduce the chance of my girls seeing these as eggs and so hopefully won’t start eating their own eggs.
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Here’s how we do it; I save my egg shells rather than just throwing them in the compost bin. When I have a clutch of shells and I’ve already got the oven on I spread the shells on a baking tray. I pop the shells in the oven the temperature doesn’t matter nor does the time. However 5-10 minutes seems to be enough or longer if you forget (like I did today). You want to dry the shells out so they are easy to break up.
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Then pass the shells to your three year old to smash up with a hammer. Or if you don’t have a three year old just crush the eggs with your hand/ hammer/ spoon whatever you like.
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Then get same said three year old to finely crush the shells with a mortal and pestle.
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I crushed them finely into small particles.
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I poured the crushed shells into a plastic dish (I used a leftover cream cheese container). I then added some holes to the dish and used cable ties to secure the dish to the side of the chicken coop.
I was worried the shells would blow away but I couldn’t believe how dense the crush shells were. I’ve seen the girls eating small amount of the shells as they need them. I’ve baked some more egg shells tonight so I can fill the container again tomorrow. I love that I’m not throwing out one item only to buy another item. No waste here. How do you provide extra calcium to your girls?

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Update 04/09/2013; I can’t believe how much calcium/ eggs the girls go through! Though it is to be eggpected since all four are laying (pretty much) everyday. Hard work! I now save all their shells to cook up and crush. I don’t give them eggs from other chooks it doesn’t feel right and I’m worried about introducing bacteria or something better to be safe I feel.

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