We are always looking for ways to reduce waste and save money on our homestead. Using eggshells for both of these purposes may be one of the best kept secrets out there. Let’s dive into how to make eggshell powder and how to use it!
Eggshells are a great source of calcium and the uses of egg shell powder are plentiful. From homemade tooth paste, to a calcium boosted smoothie, or a supplement for your chickens or family dog, learning to make your own eggshell powder has so much to offer.
Benefits of Eggshells
We talk a lot about chickens and eggs around here, but what about eggshells? Eggshells are made up primarily of calcium carbonate (around 90%). Calcium carbonate is the same material that makes up our bones, teeth, and nails.
Calcium is an essential mineral and contributes to several key functions of health. Specifically, as one ages, calcium deficiency can be responsible for issues like loss of bone density and osteoporosis. It’s important to consume calcium in balance with other vitamins and minerals.
But the beauty of eggshell powder is that, because it’s food based, it has been found to be just as easily absorbed by the body, if not more easily absorbed than calcium supplements.
If you are looking to add some extra calcium to your diet and especially if you aren’t able to consume dairy, making eggshell powder may be just what you need!
How To Make Eggshell Powder
Thankfully the process to make eggshell powder at home is so easy. All you need are eggs shells, along with a pot of water, a pan, and something to mash or blend your dried eggshells. This could be a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder, food processor, or blender.
To make eggshell powder, first you need to collect eggshells. If you are storing them over the course of many days, you will want to store in the refrigerator or even freezer. Because we use unwashed chicken eggs from our pastured chickens, we have stored them in a bowl on the counter for a few days without any problems.
To sanitize your eggshells, bring a pot of water to boiling on the stove and immerse your egg shells in the boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
Next, strain out your eggshells and place the strained shells on a cookie sheet.
Place baking sheet with cleaned eggshells in the oven. Cook at around 200 degrees for 20-25 minutes until eggshells are completely dry.
To use your dried egg shells, mash or blend until a powder is formed. I use a mortar and pestle to mash by hand if I need a coarser egg shell powder for giving as a supplement to our chickens. If I need a finer powder, a coffee grinder, food processor, or good blender will be better options.
How to Use Eggshell Powder
We first started making eggshell powder ourselves as a calcium supplement for our laying hens. In the past, we’d given our hens a free choice ration of oyster shells. But when that recently ran out, we thought, “Why are we buying something from the store when we have a perfectly good source of calcium right here?”
However, there are several other great uses for eggshell powder as well!
Eggshell Powder as a Nutritional Supplement
If you are looking to add a natural source of calcium into your diet, eggshell powder is a great option. A ½ tsp of eggshell powder contributes roughly 400-500 grams of calcium.
The most common way I’ve seen to include egg shell powder is in smoothies but you could also sneak it into other prepared dishes. Especially when ground into a finely ground powder, a little added in will likely go unnoticed.
Eggshell Powder for Natural Skincare
I was recently talking to a friend who was telling me how eggshell powder is a staple ingredient in their homemade toothpaste. While making our own toothpaste is still on my list of diy skincare products to tackle, adding eggshell powder is a common ingredient in many homemade, natural toothpastes as well as other skincare products.
Eggshell powder & Apple cider vinegar can help with irritated skin and bug bites. Simply mix eggshell powder in some apple cider vinegar and apply to the irritated skin area for quick relief.
Eggshells mixed with honey has been known to help exfoliate skin and eliminate dark spots. You can check out this article for more.
Eggshells mixed with sugar as a natural sugar scrub to exfoliate skin, remove dead skin cells, and keep skin moist.
And as we discussed above, making your own eggshell powder is a key ingredient in homemade mineralizing toothpaste.
Eggshell Powder for the Garden
Calcium is an important part of the soil and can be a great amendment to your garden. A finer eggshell powder is best for this application so that it can be more quickly absorbed and used.
Plants need calcium. So, making sure to amend your soil in the early spring will help ensure it has time to be absorbed and used. Eggshell powder can also be a helpful resource for starting robust seedlings.
Eggshell powder can even act as a pest deterrent in the garden. The smell of eggshells is known to keep deer, as well as pesky slugs, snails, and cutworms out of your garden!
Eggshell Powder for Chickens
We learned from our post—Can Chickens Eat Cheese?—that egg laying hens need a sufficient amount of calcium in order to produce healthy eggs. However, they aren’t able to produce that calcium on their own. Normally they would have gotten it from scratching, pecking, and foraging in the ground but we also like to give them a supplementation option in case they aren’t able to get what they need.
When giving eggshell powder to chickens, it’s best to do it as part of a free choice system. Give it to them apart from their regular feed in a separate bowl or pile in their coop. That way, if they need it, they can have it. If they don’t, they will leave it alone.
It’s better to give a coarse ground egg shell powder to chickens as this form will pass through their body less quickly and actually be absorbed better this way. Also, they will likely waste less when there are bigger egg shell particles. For this, we just do a quick grind with a mortar and pestle and away we go.
Will giving eggshells to chickens cause them to eat their eggs? Actually, we find the opposite. A chicken pecking at an egg is often a sign of calcium deficiency. Giving this extra source of calcium can be beneficial in preventing them from pecking at eggs.
Eggshell Powder for Dogs
Eggshell powder can be a helpful calcium supplement for dogs as well. To give it to them, simply sprinkle a bit of eggshell powder over their food. Check with your vet to see if this would be helpful for your specific dog and how much.
How Long Will Egg Shell Powder Store?
As long as the eggshells are completely dried in the drying step and remain free of moisture, eggshell powder will last for a year or even longer!
How to Make Eggshell Powder
1. Place collected eggshells in a pot of boiling water. Boil for 5-10 minutes to let sterilize.
2. Drain eggshells from water and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
3. Cook in a 200-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are completely dried.
4. To turn into a powder, either run through a coffee grinder, food processor, or high quality blender. For a coarser eggshell powder, use a mortar and pestle and mash to desired texture.
Have you tried making eggshell powder? What are your favorite uses?
- Place collected eggshells in a pot of boiling water. Boil for 5-10 minutes to let sterilize.
- Drain eggshells from water and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
- Cook in a 200-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are completely dried.
- To turn into a powder, either run through a coffee grinder, food processor, or high quality blender. For a coarser eggshell powder, use a mortar and pestle and mash to desired texture.