Sunday, January 3, 2010

Break An Egg!

Whenever we break an egg, the shell is saved in an open container for future processing. But although we eat eggs every day and I save them year round, it just isn't enough for what my hens will eat as I feed it to them year round too.

While working at the hospital, I mention to my colleagues that I re-cycle egg shells and feed them to my canaries. I further tell them that I need many more shells and that my choice hens who are privileged to get fresh hen egg shells are so happy and appreciative to have them. And feeding them egg shells means that their eggs will have a strong surface to support the development of a fertilized egg to a baby chick.

And are they ever amazed to learn that it only takes two weeks from the time a good egg is laid till the chick hatches. But if the shell is not strong, the chick inside dries out and dies inside the egg without any chance for life. If time permits, I pull up the blog and show them some canary pictures and explain the importance of not letting the various breeds become extinct.

Convinced then that this is a worthy cause and certainly sounds like something they can do, I make a direct request to please save shells for my hens so that all hens can have a plentiful supply so that when they lay fertile eggs, their eggs will have the same chance to produce healthy chicks.

After my plea, many will save them for me in an open container but a few want to package them tightly in used bread sack or Ziploc bags. If they want to put them in a tight container, they are instructed to place them on a paper towel and microwave 1 -2 minute or till they see a hint of browning inside the egg to prevent any residual wet egg white from spoiling.

Pat, a work colleague, recently had her vegetarian son staying with her for a week. Where she normally brings in a small bag of egg shells every couple weeks, she brought me this full large size bag collected during his short visit. Now I am wondering if I know any vegetarians??

Any that smell when I open them, are discarded. If the eggs have been microwaved, I give them another microwaving minute to make sure they are not contaminated. Here are some egg shells after microwaving.

The microwaved shells are then place in the food processor. I use any egg shell, some are even brown or bluish.

Once processed, the egg shells are ready for feeding. When I have plenty, I feed in separate dishes but when I am short, I top off the digestible mineral dish with a spoon of egg shells. The hens prefer the egg shells to purchased mineral grit and promptly clean the egg shells up each day.

Some of my bird friends, approach small locally opened restaurants and collect from them periodically. So far my friends have kept me well supplied. Another proof that you can't have to many friends!!


Unknown said...

I notice you do not mention anything about washing the eggshell before microwaving them???

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda
As you know, I have my own laying hens as my egg source. (Familiar with their own health & diet)
If I am to collect their shells, should the inner egg membrane be peeled out before processing and feeding?


Linda Hogan said...

I have been feeding egg shells for a few years now. I do not wash the eggs or peel out the membrane. I do let them air dry and I like to have the membrane as I use the browning of the membrane as a guide that I have microwaved them long enough.

When I was growing up, my mom feed egg shells but she baked them on a cookie sheet for a long time and the grounded them with a rolling pin.

Microwaving and food processing has made this easier and a lot faster.

I do smell the donated ones that have been sealed in a plastic bag just to make sure they were not sealed wet and thus contaminated by bacterial growth. Since I ask the donors to microwave before sealing in a bag, I have only had one batch that I threw out because they smelled bad.

Emily said...

Does feeding egg shells on a regular basis benefit male birds as well as hens? How often should it be offered?

Thank you, and Happy New Year!

Linda Hogan said...

Young birds benefit from the egg shells while they are growing but once the males are grown, I take the males off of it as it effects the quality of their song.

Young hens and old hens benefit year round as they store calcium for future egg laying especially during the three months prior to egg laying.

Anonymous said...

My grandpa used to grind Sea shells for his birds.


Anonymous said...

FYI: make friends with the dairy manager at your favorite/regular in Ga. they are required by law to throw out any carton of eggs that has so much as 1 egg cracked. Our manager saves them for my husband. Itest them by putting in water - if they float you toss them - then boil the rest for 20 minutes and run the whole egg through the food processor with a little wheat bread and some CeDe.Goes in my soft food for my budgies.

Anonymous said...

Howzit Gorgeous,

Long time no chat! Happy New Year to you and your family aswell as all the bloggers!

Egg shells are an excellent source of calcium and I dont even bother with grinding them, I simply wash them off under running water and then bake them in the oven for a little while. Then I feed the eggshells just like that. The hens nibble at the outer rims until the whole half is eaten! I like to give it fresh once or twice a week, and I also get mine from one of Shana's friends who bakes wedding cakes etc. So she uses a lot of eggs at a time and I always have a plentiful supply! This however is not sufficient for the hens, I found that liquid calcium such as Birdcare's Calciboost, is the cherry on the cake for good eggs...

My breeding season is now over, a few birds are still weaning but the majority of older birds are moulting wild and furious in the flight. I am pleased to say that I have a big variety of birds this year, Colours: Citron, Ivory, Citron Ivory, Ivory aswell as Citron Mosaic, and both Agate and Isabel along with all the mutations, Pastel, Opal and Satinette! My borders are looking great and the Fifes are superb this year. I managed to breed 7 rollers from one pair and about 12 Parisian Frills also from a single pair!

I cant wait for show season, but alas the summer snow has hit me full force. I think it must be my least favourite time of the bird year....

I was away on Christmas holidays for 10 days and what a difference in the birds when I got back, my brother in law was kind enough to look after the birds and my home while we were away. Oh well, just let me know if you want some Canarydown pillows lol!

Be good your SA buddy, Shawn

Linda Hogan said...

Shawn, Howzit Buddy?

Sounds like you had a great breeding season in South Africa!

I am sure all the gals will want to hear more posts from you as it isn't every day that someone addresses a female with Hi Gorgeous!!!

You are indeed a special friend and bright spot in my day!!

Egg Donors said...

Great Post.....

I found your site on stumbleupon and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

Thanks for sharing....

Unknown said...

Please body help me,
I have one pair of water slager canary. The problem is the female laying eggs but not in the nest,which made by her self, whole day she picking up grass,cotton and paper shred,and stay in day time in the nest but not stay in night time. After sunset she use to sit on the perch.I found early morning exactly downside of perches where she sits a broken egg. In first clutch given 5 eggs & all lost, given on the perch daily I saw found broken on the cage floor. Now again she given first egg & same happening. for your info my cage size L 36" H 24" b 18". Please help me why/ where is problem.
Thank you in advance