Maybe it’s because I’m frugal, but I hate to throw away anything that can be reused or recycled — and that includes eggshells. No matter if you are raising chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, or turkeys, rather than simply tossing your eggs into the compost or trash, save them.
You’ll be surprised to learn just how many ways you can use eggshells. Read on to discover the many different eggshell uses for your rural or urban homestead.
Eggshell Uses For The Garden
In the homestead garden, there are a variety of eggshell uses ranging from starting seeds to enhancing soil.
Enhance Garden Soil Fertility
Sprinkle crushed eggshells around the base of garden vegetables and flowers to enhance soil fertility. Rich in calcium and other important minerals including phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen, eggshells can help your garden flourish.
Use Eggshells To Start Garden Vegetables
One of the best eggshell uses in the garden is as cups for starting seeds. If you crack an egg carefully enough, you can use them as seed-starting pods for your herbs and vegetables.
Next time you crack an egg, tap it on the top and pour the egg out of the shell to preserve the length of the shell. Rinse to remove the gel-like membrane. Use an empty cardboard egg carton to hold your starter egg cups.
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Use an awl or sharp needle and poke a hole in the bottom of the eggshells to allow for drainage. Fill the empty shell two-thirds with potting soil. Place a seed in every shell, following planting instructions.
Mist with water to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Place the carton on a sunny window sill or in a greenhouse until it’s time to transfer seedlings to the garden. Plant the egg cup directly into the soil and water to establish in place.
Deter Garden Pests
Crushed fragments of eggshells are an excellent deterrent to prevent snail and slug infestations. The pesky predators will not crawl across the sharp-edged shells. Leave the shells on top of the soil during gardening season, then till them into the soil in the fall when you turn over the garden soil.
Make A Houseplant Fertilizer
Instead of throwing eggshells in the trash bin, rinse to remove the inner membrane, dry, then crush the shells into fine bits with the back of a wooden spoon. Store the fragments in a glass watering jug under the kitchen sink, and cover the shells with water.
Removing the membrane eliminates any odor so the shell and water mix will not smell. If you are raising chickens and your family uses a lot of eggs, the jug will fill up quickly.
When shells are soaked in water, calcium carbonate is leached from the shells. Use the nutrient-rich liquid to water your houseplants. Replace the water in the watering jug and allow shells to leach their minerals until you are ready to use the liquid to water houseplants again.
Make Eggshell Supplements For Birds
When songbirds arrive in the spring, it is time for them to mate and lay eggs. To lay firm shelled eggs that produce strong and healthy baby birds, songbirds require calcium and other essential minerals found in eggshells.
Be a good neighbor by saving all your eggshells, rinsing them to remove the membrane, drying the shells, and crushing them to tiny fragments for your feathered friends to feast upon. Spread the crushed shells on the ground at the base of the bird feeder.
Eggshell Uses Around The Homestead
Along with the garden, there are a few other ways to use eggshells around the homestead.
Feed Eggshells To Your Chickens
One of the easiest ways to get rid of eggshells is to feed them back to your chickens. Chickens require calcium, and eggshells are a great way to boost your chicken’s calcium intake. Rinse and crush the shells and feed them to your flock.
Add Eggshells To Your Coffee
Boiling eggshells in your coffee reduces the bitterness of the brew. It’s an old homesteader’s trick that has been used for decades. While most folks now use a coffee brewing system, this is a helpful hint for making coffee when out camping and boiled coffee is the only option.
Rinse the shells to remove membranes before adding the crushed shells to the coffee pot. Adding rinsed and crushed eggshells to boiled coffee also settles the coffee grounds to the bottom.
Make Eggshell Powder Supplements
When eggshells are made into a powder, they’re edible! A bio preparation made from the eggshells of chickens is a natural source of calcium and other essential nutrients including strontium and fluorine — all of which have a positive effect on bone density.
Extensive clinical research studies indicate postmenopausal women, as well as women suffering from senile osteoporosis, benefit significantly when prescribed eggshell powder supplements. Clinical participants reported the supplement reduced pain and swelling and increased mobility.
Make Eggshell Paint “Bombs”
If you are an aspiring artist, eggshells filled with acrylic paint are wonderful tools for creating masterful abstract art. When using an egg, tap it on the top to release the egg and keep the elongated portion intact.
Place empty rinsed shells in an egg carton and fill with acrylic paint in your choice of colors. Now for the fun. Place a large canvas on an easel outdoors and pitch your paint bombs at the canvas. The results are random, bold, and brilliant splashes of color.
Make A Face Mask
Wash eggshells, and remove the membrane. Place eggshells in a mortar and pestle and crush or blitz them in your food processor. Whisk the pulverized eggshells together with one egg white.
Apply the mixture to clean and dry facial skin for an invigorating facial mask that tightens skin and reduces the appearance of fine wrinkles. Allow the mask to remain on the face for 15 minutes or until the mixture dries. Remove the residue with a splash of warm water and pat dry.
Improve Your Dog’s Health
For strong bones and a thick, lustrous coat, dogs require an adequate amount of calcium in their daily diet. To boost your pet’s calcium intake, consider providing them with powdered eggshells.
Wash eggshells to remove the membrane. Place the shells on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove, cool, and place the eggshells in your food processor to pulverize to a fine powder.
Soothe Skin Irritations
Wash three eggshells well, removing the membrane. Crush the shells in a mortar and add to a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar. Place the mixture in an airtight glass container and let the mixture soak for a few days. To control acne flare-up or to heal and soothe dry, irritated skin, dip a cotton ball in the mixture and dab on the troubled area twice daily.
Make Eggshell Sidewalk Chalk
Next time you use up a bunch of eggs for an angel food cake or a tasty frittata, save the eggshells. Did you know that eggshells are loaded with calcium carbonate and makes eggshell chalk a great money-saving alternative to store-bought? Making homemade chalk is a lot of fun for children and a great way to utilize eggshells.
- Hot water
- Food coloring.
- Wash eggshells to remove the membrane, allow them to dry, and crush them. You can use a mortar and pestle or drop them in your food processor.
- For each tablespoon of pulverized eggshells, you will need a tablespoon of flour, and a few drops of food color.
- Place shells, flour, water, and food color in a bowl and mix well to the consistency of a thick paste.
- Form the paste into a thick tube and wrap in a paper towel to dry for 3 to 5 days before using it.
Benefits Of Raising Chickens
Recent disruptions in the United States economy are causing shortages in the supply of fresh eggs to local markets. If you are new to homesteading, now is the perfect time to consider adding a flock of chickens to your animal family.
A healthy adult lays an egg approximately every 25 hours, providing more than 300 eggs a year. A small flock of 5 to 6 hens will supply more than 30 eggs a week — plenty to meet the needs of a family of four.
Should you decide to increase the size of your flock, selling fresh organic eggs at the farmers market is an excellent source of supplemental income. And chicken manure is a fine fertilizer. Add it to the compost pile or til into the soil.
It’s gratifying to know that the eggs you feed your family are organic, and fed and raised in humane conditions. As an additional bonus, backyard chicken eggs contain as much as 33 percent more vitamin A, 25 percent more vitamin E, and over 75 percent more beta carotene than store-bought eggs.
- Eggs From Farm to Table, United States Department of Agriculture
- Backyard Chickens, CDC – Center for Disease Control
- Eggshell Calcium in the Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis, United States National Library of Medicine