30 Things to do with old egg shells
Feed them to your chickens.
Boost your flock's calcium intake by crushing the shells and feeding them back to your hens. My girls much prefer crushed egg shells over the oyster shell supplement from the feed store.
Use the shell's membrane as an all-natural bandage.
I just discovered this idea, so I have yet to try it, but what a cool concept! The membrane of the shell is reported to help promote healing in cuts and scratches.
Boil the shells in your coffee.
My first thought when I read this idea was 'Why on earth would you do that?' But apparently, people have been boiling eggshells in their coffee for centuries to help clarify the grounds and reduce bitterness. I have yet to give this a try myself, but it might be worth a try.
Sprinkle the shells around your garden to deter pests.
Soft-bodied critters like slugs or snails don't like crawling over sharp pieces of shell.
Give your tomatoes a calcium boost.
Blossom-end rot is a common tomato problem, but I recently learned that it is actually caused by a calcium deficiency in the plant. Experienced gardeners often place eggshells in the bottom of the hole when transplanting their tomato plants to help combat this problem. I'm definitely trying this next year!
Yeah, I know. First I told you to eat your weeds, and now I'm saying to eat eggshells' Hey, I never claimed to be normal. But yes, many folks actually do eat eggshells for their awesome amounts of calcium. I've never actually tried it, but I know that several of my readers have.
Use them to start seedlings.
If homemade paper pots aren't your style, give some of your smaller seedlings a start in rinsed-out shells.
Toss them in the compost pile.
Add calcium to your compost by adding shells to your pile or tumbler.
Sow directly into the soil.
If none of the previous idea sound appealing and you don't have a compost pile, then you can simply turn crushed shells directly into your garden patch. It's still better than sending them to the garbage.
Potting Soil Addition:
Used coffee grounds and egg shells are wonderful in potted plants. I use a 1:4 ratio.
Keep them in the freezer and use to clean and sharpen blender blades by adding water. Then pour the mixture into your compost bin.
I save mine and let them dry out, when I have a good size amount I crush them, then use a coffee grinder and make them into a powder. If one of my dogs get diarrhea, I just sprinkle a couple teaspoons of the powder on their food for a day and the diarrhea goes away.
I save my eggshells in a large bowl, then I steam them to sanitize them and let them dry. Then I grind them down (I use a vitamix but I think any blender would do if you crush them a little first, or just do it in a coffee grinder) into a fine powder and spoon them into 00 gelatin capsules for homemade calcium pills.
I sometimes soak egg shells in lemon water for a few weeks in the fridge. Then I add a tiny bit to my shakes to get extra minerals.
Natural News.com has an article about using comfrey root & fresh egg shell (organic & pasture raised) for re-mineralizing your teeth. Not sure about this particular method, but it would make sense due to the healing properties of the comfrey AND the minerals in the egg shell.
5-8 egg shells (finely ground), 1 tsp hot water, 1 tsp flour, food coloring optional'mix and pack into toilet tissue rolls and let dry.
First Aid Treatment:
Fresh egg membranes applied, then allowed to dry, will 'draw' minor infections: splinter, pimple, boil, etc.
Making Water Kefir:
You can also use egg shell to nourish your water kefir grains. You just add 1/4 of a clean egg shell to your water kefir while it's brewing. We've done this instead of buying mineral drops and it seems to work great.
When I found a large cache of slightly-flawed plastic suncatcher ornaments to paint cheap at the local flea market a few years ago, I snatched a big bunch of them up. I mixed regular acrylic colors with Elmer's glue and various 'texturizing' elements to pack those suncatchers with. I tried everything from small seeds and spices, to sifted sand, and my favorite turned out to be crushed egg shells. They were no longer transparent, but the flaws were covered, and they make very nice Christmas tree ornaments, wall hangings, mobiles, etc.
Make Calcium Citrate:
Make your own calcium citrate using only fresh farm raised, preferably organic, egg shells. Rinse residual egg out of the shells and air dry. Crush the shell and add 1t. lemon juice per egg shell and cover. The lemon juice will dissolve the shell and there you have it' calcium citrate.
I was taught by my herbalist teacher to make a calcium rich vinegar by adding calcium rich herbs (nettles, dock, etc) and one clean high quality eggshell to apple cider vinegar. It needs to infuse for at least six weeks, then be decanted. But the calcium from the shell and the plants goes into the vinegar and can be used as regular vinegar would be in salad dressing, over cooked greens, etc.
Crushed egg shells work great to scrub pans that have food stuck in them. Yes they will break up, but they still do the job!
Ice Cream Addition:
I was told companies put egg shell powder in cheap ice cream to add extra calcium. I imagine you could do this when making homemade ice cream as well.
Make it into a powder and add a little bit to your nail polish to strengthen nails. Take that same powder and put it into ice cube trays with water and rub it on your face' it helps reduce the look of wrinkles. Put the powder in your lotion' it softens your hands.
Add to Broth/Stocks:
For extra calcium and minerals.
Arts and Crafts:
Use to make mosaics or mixed-media art projects.
House Plant Booster:
My Grandmother kept eggshells covered with water in a mason jar which she used to water her African violets. She had the most magnificent plants imaginable!
Wild Bird Treat:
You can also feed them to the birds. They're high in calcium and are great for birds in the spring when they are laying eggs' just make sure to sterilize them. Bake them in the oven for 20 minutes at 250 F and crush them.
To help your whites not to turn greyish, put a handful of clean and broken down eggshells and 2 slices of lemon in a little cheesecloth bag with your clothes in the washer. It will prevent the soap deposit that turns the white clothes grey.
Garbage Disposal Cleaner:
Toss a few shells down your disposal to help freshen things up.
Grazing screens for chickens
Chickens with access to fresh greens is a good thing for both you and them. The nutrients provided by the vegetation ends up in their eggs and meat. Also, fresh greens can make up to 20-30% of a chicken's diet which reduces feed costs.
Sometimes, depending on your circumstances, supplying your chickens with something green to nibble on can be difficult. When chickens have lots of room they'll graze a little off the top and carry on. When their space is limited, as in a small backyard, chickens will ruthlessly tear apart the ground beneath them. Putting a mesh over grass and garden beds is a good way to stop your chickens from ripping up the ground while giving them access to fresh greens.
A video capturing ducklings swimming underwater. By Ysgol Treganna.
An animation of the 21 day development of a chicken embryo in the egg.
The step-by-step account of the 24 hour journey which is the process of how an egg is formed inside the hen!
The Private Life of Chickens - A documentary about the lives of chickens rescued from a 'battery' existence and brought to live in a new location.
Since the beginning Sam and Eggseeds have received these awards:
- Green Volunteer of the Year 2013 (WCVA national awards)
- Best Community Growing Project 2013 (Riverside Community Garden) (Tidy Wales Award)
- Group Volunteers of the year 2014 (WCVA Awards) Time to Change Wales Mental Health Champion
- Inspire! Volunteer Mentor/Tutor of the year 2014 (NIACE)
- Inspire! Overall Tutor of the year 2014 (NIACE)
Sam has been actively involved with the following organisations:
- FCFCG - Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens South East Wales develpment officer
- F.A.C.E Cymru - Farming and Countryside Education South Wales development officer
- Cardiff Transition - A fun positive community movement to tackle local issues for future fuel poverty, climate change, food poverty using community action
- Sustainable Cardiff - Green map of Cardiff - demonstrating and encouraging sustainable activity
- Orchard Cardiff - Mapping Cardiff's fruit, sharing abundance and engaging communities
- Farm Cardiff - Mapping potential food growing space in the urban environment , Facebook Page
- Cardiff Hops - Creatively growing a community supporting local enterprise by growing something you enjoy, Facebook Group
- Greeniversity Cardiff - Free Skill Sharing Platform
- Time to Change Wales Mental Health Champion
- Renew Wales Mentor - Community mapping and growing
- Tutor for National Botanical Gardens of Wales "Grow the Future Project" - Horticulture and keeping chickens - click the link to see courses in Cardiff
- Member of Cardiff Food Council and sustainable food cities program. foodCardiff 2013