Making Eggshell Supplements: A quick and easy how-to (with pictures!)

Just over a year ago, when I made the decision to get my first “livestock” on the homestead, it was a big step.  Many homesteaders joke that chickens are a gateway animal into homesteading.  But after a lot of research into the care and handling of said birds, I quickly realised that it was ducks, not chickens that would be the best fit for our homestead.

Learning to care for and raise them has been more educational than most classes I took in college.  And I took a lot of classes in college!

I started, naturally, by googling whatever information I could find, and quickly followed up by accruing a hard copy library of books on the subject that may well rival the resources of the local Ag Extension. {Click here to view some of the books I researched in my Goodreads profile}

Our intent was purely to keep our ducks for eggs and as pets.  So our mission was clear from the beginning.

Starting with all female ducklings, we raised them with love through the summer, fall, and winter last year.  And come this Spring we were blessed with this abundant reward.

Those are fresh from the coop, homegrown duck eggs folks.  Yes, they’re unwashed.  In this rainy weather they’re mucky as anything.  And they’re beautiful.

But to get eggs that big, beautiful, and bountiful ducks need an amazing diet.  And amazingly one of the best things they can have in that diet is their own eggshells!

Sure, their feed is high in calcium. And we could supplement with expensive crushed oyster shells from the feed store.  But the healthiest, surest way to make certain they’re getting the calcium they need is to give them back what they’ve already produced.

So when we use eggs around the homestead, we save those shells:

As you can see from the pics above, the eggs stay unwashed until we use them.  That’s to preserve the natural bloom which protects them from bacteria getting through those lovely shells.  Before they’re used, we give them a quick washdown in the sink, and the shells get a rinse after they’re cracked open and used.

What we’re left with is what you see above.  About once a week (we eat a lot of eggs round our place) we get to the business of crushing them (see below).  By hand or by tenderizer (we’re vegetarians — what else would we use it for?), the beautiful shells become confetti, and get spread across a broiler pan.

When they’re crushed into bite-size pieces, it’s into the oven they go.  I usually preheat the oven somewhere between 325-350 degrees, and the shells bake for about 10-15 minutes, just long enough to kill any lingering bacteria.

The end result is what you see below:

These pearly golden beauties get crushed a little further and added to the feed bin.  Mixed with their homemade feed and fresh greens, they give our girls a complete diet rich in the calcium they need to keep providing us with those big, bountiful eggs!

(And yes, you can try this at home – just remember:  this diet supplement is for the birds!)


Essential Oils To Keep The Bugs (And More) At Bay

If you missed it this evening, don’t despair!

As the weather grows steadily warmer here in SE Texas, climbing into the 80s at night as we rapidly approach midsummer, and the rains and flooding we’ve seen so much of this year continue…

Well, we’ve been finding we’re not the only ones seeking shelter indoors.
Already this season we’ve met our first beautiful ribbon snake of Spring sheltering beneath my daughters’ strawbale archery target.  Only days later my eldest opened the coop to find a rat snake visiting and trying to set up housekeeping.  Seems it thought the room came with free board (read:  my market and personal supply of eggs)…

Inside the cats were beset with fleas!  If you’ve never had the pesky bloodsuckers (No, silly!  Not the cats!) for roommates, let me tell you they’re not the easiest tenants to evict.

And have I mentioned the mosquitos breeding in the floodwaters that have grown in size to rival small hummingbirds?  Due in no small part to my routine blood donations?

Yes, summertime in Texas can be something to contend with!

Fortunately all hope is not lost.  For every problem there is, after all, a solution.  And if we learn from these experiences we can arm ourselves to prepare to overcome them when (as they certainly shall) they replay themselves in the future.  And sometimes the future is tomorrow.

Forewarned is forearmed!

Here on the homestead we like to employ the safest, most naturally effective methods to make life more livable.  And for us that frequently means using Essential Oils.  To see which one I use, click here.

That’s why I got the word out and earlier this evening got down to the nitty gritty on which oils work best, what they work best on, and how to use them to combat even the most pesky bugs and other creatures!

In the class we covered topics like:

  • Repelling mosquitos
  • Deterring snakes
  • Healing bug bites quickly
  • Preventing pests in the home
  • The BEST oils for all of this and how to use them!

Using some of my favoutite and most useful oils like lavender, clove, cedarwood, and some AMAZING blends!

And the conversation’s still going!

Click on through here to read all about it!  Then message me and let me know which oils you’d like to try!