Learn how to make a calcium supplement for your backyard chickens using egg shells. Easy DIY to help keep egg shells strong without encouraging egg eating.
A few months back, something dreadful happened with our backyard chickens. I discovered not one, but two soft egg shells. After the first one, I thought it was a fluke, but when I found the second one I knew it was time to start supplementing the chickens with calcium.
When we had our last flock of chickens, I had a big bag of oyster shell I would scatter in the yard for them to eat. We never had a problem with soft egg shells with that flock.
Instead of spending money on another bag of oyster shell for our flock of chickens, I decided to see if I could make my own. I saw somewhere that people feed their chickens their egg shells, so I decided to figure out the easiest and safest way to do that. I already knew that the calcium in egg shells was easily absorbable, so it made sense to make my own.
I have to say – it’s easy to make! I love that I can re-use egg shells as a calcium supplement for our chickens and it doesn’t cost me a dime extra.
It’s important to follow this tutorial exactly. Don’t feed chickens raw egg shells or you may end up with egg eaters.
After feeding this DIY calcium supplement to my chickens, we experienced no more soft eggs. And we didn’t end up with any egg-eating chickens either. That was one of my biggest fears!
DIY Egg Shell Calcium Supplement for Chickens
- Egg Shells - as many as you have
- Mixing bowl
- Baking sheet
- Meat tenderizer
- To make your own DIY egg shell calcium supplement for your chickens, start by collecting all of your egg shells in a bowl until you have a good amount. We eat a lot of eggs, so they accumulate fast.
- You can either leave them in big pieces, or you can crush them down a bit. Either way works. The girls think it’s fun to crush the shells, so they usually get crushed a bit first in our house.
- Next, spread the egg shells out on a baking pan and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 8 minutes (I use the toaster oven). Once your egg shells have been baked, use a meat tenderizer or another kitchen tool to break the shells down into nibble-sized bites. You don't want to chickens to associate this DIY egg shell calcium supplement with egg shells so it needs to be small. However, they also need to be able to pick the pieces up with their beaks, so don't pulverize the shells to a powder either.
- A lot of people like to keep their DIY egg shell calcium supplement in a bowl next to their chickens’ food. I prefer to scatter them around on the ground so the chickens have something to do with themselves. Either way, don’t mix it in with their food. They need to choose to eat it. Surprisingly, chickens are smart about what their bodies need and will only eat the DIY egg shell calcium supplement if their bodies need it.