If you raise chickens for eggs, it’s likely you have a ton of eggshells. Unless of course you just throw them away. But believe it or not, there are many uses for eggshells. You might want to stop throwing them away and using them to their fullest!
I do want to point out that you should really only use eggshells from your own chickens. Commercially farm-raised chickens can carry a lot of pathogens and bacteria on their eggshells. So please don’t use store-bought eggshells for these alternative uses.
Eggshells are approximately 40% calcium. They also contain protein, and other minerals like magnesium, selenium, strontium, and fluoride. These minerals are excellent for bone health, and are good for plants as well.
These uses for eggshells are just one more reason why you need chickens!
Uses for eggshells in animal health
Because of their high nutrient content, eggshells can be a very valuable ally in the health of your animals. Here are some ways to use them for your pets.
Calcium supplement for your chickens
You can dry out, crumble, and feed your chickens’ eggshells back to them. It gives them an extra dose of calcium and other minerals. Supplementing with eggshells is a more natural, and more economical solution to buying oyster shell for your hens.
Calcium is important for chickens to lay hard eggs. So by giving them their own calcium-rich eggshells as a supplement, you are essentially reusing the nutrients you gave them in the first place.
Note: Some people have noted that giving your chickens eggshells can encourage egg eating. I haven’t had that issue yet, however, I always wash, bake, and crumble very well when feeding to my girls. I think this may “camouflage” them enough that they don’t know that they’re eating something that they lay.
Calcium supplement for pets
In much the same way that eggshells benefit chickens, eggshells can be a good calcium supplement for your pets. They can help keep your cat’s or dog’s teeth healthy and strong. Use a small amount at least weekly, mixed into their food.
If your dog has a bout of diarrhea, it may be helpful to feed him to eggshell powder. Just a little, though, as too much can make the situation worse.
Uses for eggshells in human health
Don’t forget about yourself! Eggshells can be very beneficial to human health as well. Here are some ways to use them to keep yourself healthy.
Calcium supplement for yourself
The calcium that makes up eggshells is calcium carbonate, which is widely used in calcium supplements. That means that, if you sanitize your eggshells well, you can powder them and make your own calcium supplement. In fact, just half of one eggshell provides the recommended daily amount of calcium.
Calcium is one of the best-selling supplements in the United States, yet it is one of the easiest to make on your own. Try it next time you run out of your calcium pills!
Boost your chicken stock
If you make your own chicken stock, which is incredibly nutritious as-is, you can add some crushed eggshell into it while simmering to add more calcium. What better way to make an even healthier chicken noodle soup?
Make your morning smoothie even more healthy
In much the same way, eggshell powder can boost your morning smoothie to even higher health levels. Just put in a teaspoon of eggshell powder while blending, and shake it again if it’s been sitting a bit before drinking it.
If you cut yourself in the kitchen, you can use the membrane from an eggshell to stop the bleeding and hold the cut closed. It works as a bandaid, but even better. Eggshell membrane is very similar to our outer layer of skin. And the proteins in the membrane are believed to even help accelerate healing.
Remineralize your teeth
Eggshells have several minerals that are believed to be important to bone and tooth health. I recently read an article by Natural News that tells you how to regenerate your teeth with eggshells and comfrey root.
Remove bitterness from, and boost your coffee
Putting a small amount of powdered eggshells in your coffee while brewing will remove some of the bitterness in coffee that upsets some stomachs. And like the other nutritional uses for eggshells, it will add a boost of calcium as well.
Uses for eggshells in the garden
The same minerals that make eggshells good for human and animal health, make eggshells good for plant and soil health. Here’s how to use eggshells in the garden.
Putting crushed eggshells in your compost gives it a nice boost of calcium and other micronutrients. Eggshells also add valuable organic matter to your compost, making it an even better soil amendment. Adding to compost is one of the best uses for eggshells in the garden, although there are others as well.
Even if you don’t have a compost pile or tumbler, you can use eggshells as a great soil amendment. Simply crush dried eggshells and dig them directly into the soil. They will decompose slowly and provide calcium and nutrients to the soil.
If you have issues with slugs or snails, you can sprinkle eggshells around your plants. Slugs and snails avoid the eggshells, as they are abrasive to their soft bodies.
Blossom end rot in tomatoes is usually blamed on a lack of calcium. In order to help combat this, I have always put eggshells (or a whole egg) in the hole that I plant tomatoes in. This seems to be a very effective, slow-release calcium supplement for the tomatoes.
You can use eggshell halves to start your seeds in. As a bonus, you don’t have to take the seedlings out of the shells to plant the in the garden. The shells will just decompose in the ground, adding nutrients right in place!
Uses for eggshells around the home
There are even a few uses for eggshells around the home.
Take several crushed eggshells and put them in a jar of water for a couple of days, then use that to water your houseplants. You can also add a banana peel to the mixture for some potassium.
Have a pot or pan that’s seen better days? Make a paste with crushed eggshells and dish soap for a non-toxic abrasive cleanser. Coffee pot or thermos stained? Put some crushed eggshells in it with some hot water and give a good swish.
You can also mix eggshells with baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap for a non-toxic shower and grout cleaner, as seen in my post on making non-toxic cleaners.
How to use eggshells safely
There are a few things to note about using eggshells safely. As stated before, I would only use eggs from your own chickens. If you don’t raise chickens, I suggest buying some from a local farmer. Or if you absolutely must, you can buy organic eggs from the store.
If you are just using the eggshells in the garden, you don’t need to sterilize them. But it does make it easier to use them if you bake them at 225 degrees, then crumble them.
However, if you are using them as a nutritional supplement, you should sterilize them.
Sterilizing and storing eggshells
After cracking your eggs open, give them a light rinse. They can then be placed in a bowl, for a few days, until you have collected enough to use.
After you collect the desired amount of eggshells, they should be boiled for about 15 minutes to sterilize. Then put them in an oven at 225 degrees for 20 minutes. After they are slightly browned and crunchy, remove them and allow to cool. They can then be pulsed in a coffee grinder or food processor` to turn into a powder.
Your ground eggshells should be kept in an airtight jar, free from moisture and direct sunlight. They should be good for up to a year if stored properly.
What do you do with your eggshells?
Do you have anything else that you use eggshells for? Or do they just go in the trash at your house? I hope I’ve gotten you thinking about how you can use them beneficially, instead of just wasting this valuable resource. Please share other suggestions in the comments!
This post may be shared on Family Homesteading and Off The Grid Blog Hop, Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Farm Fresh Tuesday, and Old Paths to New Homesteading & Self-Reliant Living.
You really need to be careful giving your chickens the egg shells. If they get used to it they will eat the shells of the eggs they lay. Been there done that. That is why we never give chickens egg shells. I don’t have chickens right now but I hope to get some Chickens and Turkeys in the spring if I can find someone to enlarge and fix my coop.
Hi Jackie, this is true, to some extent. I’ve found, though, that if you rinse them, bake them, then crumble them really fine, it usually disguises the shells enough that the chickens don’t make the connection that they are actually the things they lay. Did you do it that way when you had issues with it?
I use my egg shells under tomato starts in spring, crumbled up and mixed with coffee grounds as plant fertilizer, and any others go into my compost pile. I read about someone who used the egg shell/coffee ground combo to revive a potted lemon tree, so I made some up for my languishing meyer lemon tree. Boy did it ever make a comeback! Lots of new leaves within a month, and now three years later it is still in great shape with re-application a few times a year. I have used my shells both hand-crumbled, and blended with water in a vita-mix. Both work. I would not use them on acid-loving plants though as I think the calcium would alkalinize the soil if applied without other stuff to balance the pH. Thanks for this article!
Thank you, Donna! That is a very good point that I didn’t think about, with the alkalinity of eggshells. I also put them in every hole that I put my tomatoes in. Glad it worked well on your lemon tree!