Providing a sufficient diet is always the best priority when raising a chicken flock to ensure their health and development. So, are baby chick and adult chickens’ feed the same? Since mature chickens can consume eggshells, can baby chicks eat eggshells too?
Can baby chicks eat eggshells?
No, you should not feed eggshells for baby chicks. Baby chicks require their distinctive diets to fit their growing demand. Therefore, that chickens can eat eggshells does not mean baby chicks can consume it too.
Let’s read on to have a more specific understanding of this problem.
Why should your chickens consume eggshells?
Eggshells are a great calcium source for female chickens.
We all know hens require a different diet from other chickens before and during their laying eggs. To be more specific, they need to consume a higher calcium content to form their eggshells and promote their laying egg process.
If your female chickens are not provided enough calcium, they can encounter a couple of health problems such as:
Firstly, chicken eggshells will be weak, thin, and easy to crack or be pierced.
Do you know what the material of eggshells is? It is created by roughly 100% pure calcium, so that is why calcium is considered the most important substance which contributes to chicken egg formation and sturdiness. (Source)
When laying hens are fed with calcium-deficient diets, they will produce low-quality eggs. In addition, since the eggshells are thin and weak, they can be accidentally broken with light pressure during the laying process.
These things will reduce the number of eggs and have negative impacts on your profit earnings.
Secondly, your chicken hens will find it more difficult during their laying of eggs.
Precisely, chicken hens have to incubate their eggs for a long time until they hatch, so the laying process takes a lot of energy of chicken hens. That is the reason why they need to be given more calcium to support and enhance their laying of eggs.
Further reading: Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Chickens
When will a chicken eat eggshells?
Though chickens can eat eggshells, it does not mean that you can feed them at any age. It is very crucial to note that eggshells are just suitable for laying chickens over 6 months old.
Since these chickens are out of their mineral reserves during their laying eggs, they need to consume a higher calcium demand to ensure their egg development.
On the contrary, baby chicks and younger laying chickens do not need to consume that much calcium content. A high-quality diet is able to provide their calcium demand sufficiently.
Feeding eggshells to chickens properly
Using eggshells is one of the most economical methods to supplement your chickens’ calcium demand. Here are some steps that you can refer to create your own calcium supplement:
Step 1: Collecting and Drying
Firstly, you need to collect a moderate amount of eggshells that is enough to reserve and feed your chicken hens for a time. You can save them after using, purchase at the stores, etc. The ideal quantity is about 15 – 20 eggshells.
Then you should rinse, dry them and move to the next step.
Step 2: Baking in the oven
The eggshells have membranes that help to keep them in shape and strong. If you dry eggshells in the oven, it is not necessary to remove the membrane. You just need to break the eggshells into many pieces to make sure that they are completely dried.
Additionally, keep in mind to warm up your oven for about 10 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius before baking your eggshells.
However, in case of having no oven, you should remove the remaining membrane to make it easier to crush the eggshells after then.
Step 3: Baking in 10 minutes
Your baking tray should be placed at the oven center and baked in 10 minutes. After the time ends, you need to take it out and have a test.
It will be ok If your eggshells are easily broken apart by slight pressure. In the meanwhile, they should be baked further if hardly broken, about 2 – 5 minutes.
Step 4: Crushing the eggshells
You can put the eggshells on any surface or into a bag to crush them. A rolling pin will help to crush the eggshells more efficiently.
However, if you do not have a rolling pin, it is not a problem. You can use any kind of bottle to crush the eggshells. The eggshells will be ready when they are smoothly ground.
Step 5: Feeding your chickens
You can feed your chickens with original crushed eggshells or mixed with other regular feed.
However, it would be better to mix the eggshells with other regular feed to impede them from recognizing the flavor. You can mix about ¼ eggshells with ¾ regular feed to create a perfect meal for your chickens. (Source)
Can feeding chickens with eggshells lead to any negative results?
A lot of people worry that their chickens can learn bad habits like eating their eggs after being fed with eggshells. In fact, it can but it will not if you have the proper methods.
- Firstly, you need to grind the eggshells very smoothly. It makes it difficult for chicken hens to recognize the eggshell pieces while consuming them and prevent them from eating their eggs.
- Secondly, you should mix the eggshells with other regular feed of chickens. As we said, chickens can easily identify the eggshell flavor if they eat pure eggshells.
In conclusion, if you are wondering whether or not baby chicks eat eggshells, the answer is NO. All the information about the reasons as well as some essential and vital notices mentioned in this article can be a useful reference that you can rely on.