I love my hens. They are sweet, hard-working, hysterical (and chatty!) ladies. Heck, even the deer find them curious.
And they produce for us the most beautiful and delicious eggs. It's hard to crack them open some days I love looking at them so much. I'm so thankful to the ladies for all their hard work making them (though, let's face it, they're quite spoiled in return). And nothing is wasted. We return their calcium back to them.
First, little mama lays an egg.
Well, I suppose technically it starts here.
But eventually we get to here.
Which brings us back to here.
And eventually to here.
See, I keep all those beautiful eggshells. I rinse them out and collect them till I have enough to fill a pretty Pyrex. Then I put them into the oven at a low temp and bake them for about 20 minutes.
And then I crush them.
This is very therapeutic, by the way. You should try it. No, really. Try it.
You crush them and mash them and smush them until all the grumpy energy that has collected in your body over the week dissolves (or until the shells are reduced to tiny little bits, whichever comes first).
Then you feed them back to the sweet hens. And the circle of life is complete.
Actually, I add about a mason jar full to their feed every few months or so (instead of paying money for oyster shells - calcium is calcium, and I kinda like the free recycled kind) (jar on the left).
The jar on the right is also egg shells. These I run through the coffee grinder (pffft, who needs to grind coffee beans, anyway?) until they are in powder form. Sorta like bonemeal. Bonemeal is also expensive to buy. This is a very cheap way to make it yourself. It's pure calcium, but without all that unnecessary phosphorus. I use it for the homemade cat food I make our cats. Something I've been making off and on for about 15 years. The recipe calls for bonemeal and suggests making it yourself with ground up eggshells. Hey, I have eggshells! You can even use it for yourself as a calcium supplement. Or you can sprinkle it around your tomato plants. They love eggshells, too. Yes, it's an extra step that needs to be done every few weeks. It takes a whole half hour of my time. Somehow I don't find I'm too busy. It's not always fun, and yes, there's always something else I could be doing. But it's a rewarding process all the same. And it's rewarding to have less things to buy from the store - and less to throw in a landfill.
Take the time. It's worth it.
The catfood recipe I use comes from Dr. Pitcairn's book: Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. You can also google dogs (or cats) + eggshells to find out more.
Happy Eggshell Recycling!
And RIP to Sally, our green egg-laying Ameraucana who past away last week. You may have looked like a crazy tiny dinosaur but you had a big heart and made us laugh, and your flock-mate, Lily, misses you (as do the humans who were lucky enough to be a part of your world). See you on the other side, sweet chicken.