1. Just before you crack your eggs, give them a quick clean to remove any dried poo or nesting materials.
2. As you use your eggs, keep the shells in a tub or old icecream container. You can crush them a little to save space.
3. Once you have collected a dozen or so, spread your collection of half crushed shells on a baking sheet and bake until the shells become brittle. Around 160 degrees Celsius for 10-15mins.
4. Crush the toasted shells into small pieces – maybe 2-5mm. Doesn’t have to be too accurate. You could use a food processor, or crush by hand.
Crushing the eggs makes them look different to a just laid egg, to not encourage them to eat their own!
5. You can either mix your eggshell with your chicken’s regular feed, or you can supply it in a separate feeder. I find chickens eat a calcium supplement like egg shells or shell grit as, and when they need to, so a separate dish is best.
Eggshells are made of mostly calcium carbonate. Chickens need lots of calcium so that their eggshells are thick and less breakable. If you notice your chickens eggs to be soft and pliable, or even sometimes non existent, you need to get on to a supplement promptly.
If chickens don’t get enough calcium they may not lay as many eggs or eggshells may become so weak that they get stuck in the oviduct. This is called egg-binding and can be life threatening.
Providing laying hens with a constant supply of calcium supplement is a good idea. You can buy commercial supplements which you add to their water https://www.thegoodlifebackyard.com.au/product-page/vetsense-avi-calcium, shell grit https://www.thegoodlifebackyard.com.au/product-page/calci-grit-2kg, or simply feed them back their eggs as above!