Sunday, April 21, 2013

How to Meet the Calcium Needs for Chickens (and Compost Worms!)

Chicken and Worms Require Calcium in their diets.  Here is how I provide them Calcium on the cheap!  ( I know, but I could not resist!) 

Did you know a  chicken egg’s eggshell is a whopping 94 percent calcium carbonate! - A chicken, when suffering from a calcium deficiency will show signs first in their egg production - i.e. soft shells, malformed shells and even missing shells. Not a good thing.

Most folks supplement their chickens diet by buying and feeding limestone, oyster shells or buying expensive feed with calcium supplements added.

I choose to re-cycle egg shells to supply my chickens and compost worms their calcium.  I save my egg shells and I ask family and friends to save their egg shells.

About once a month, I take the egg shells and bake them on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees and I bake them for about 20 minutes. I let them cool a bit, place them into my food processor, give them a few twirls until they break down and look like wheat bran.  (You never want the chickens to know egg shells taste good or you could have trouble with them eating their eggs. Grinding or breaking them into very tiny pieces does the trick.)

While recycling my girls shells (and a few of their distant cousins!), I get to save a little money and at the same time, I am keeping my girls healthy.  It's a win-win!

Even compost worms require calcium in their diet!  How on earth do worms get calcium into their diet and better yet, how much do they require?  I have read quite a bit on what to feed my compost worms and from what I understand, a worm dispels any abundance of calcium by "Calciferous glands that release calcium carbonate to rid the earthworm’s body of excess calcium"

Click here for a really neat information sheet on worms from Penn State.  I am sure you'll find it very interesting!

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