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Egg Shells

egg shellsIf you took a look in my Kitchen Compost Crock, no matter what day of the week it was, you'd probably find coffee grinds (with the filters) and egg shells. In fact you could even rename my crock, the coffee grind and egg shell holder and that would be okay with me.

These are the ingredients that get me going in the morning and these are also the ingredients that get my compost pile going.

Now you've probably heard people say that you should never put meat or fats in your compost bin because they'll attract little critters and I agree with that. But I know some people who actually wash their egg shells before adding them to their compost. In my opinion, those people are crazy people.

I just toss mine in there and I'm done. Most of the time, I'll bury the crock contents under some leaves to keep the yard looking neat. But this time I wanted to get a few pictures first.


  1. Amy said...
    I was reading that I should wash my egg shells (which I really don't want to do!) in order to avoid attracting bears to my compost. Every spring and fall we have trouble with black bears - last year one ripped apart my very solid black plastic composter. I can still see the puncture marks from his teeth :) I wonder if washing them really makes any difference. I eat an egg every morning, but compared to all our fruit and veggie scraps and coffee grounds their a pretty negligible part of the compost.
    Anthony said...
    Bears!?! I guess I have the luxury of being lazy but if you have bear problems, please do what they suggest. I thought I had a hard time with my woodchuck, I can't imagine worrying about bears.
    OldRoses said...
    Do you crush your eggshells before adding them to your ocmpost? I throw mine in whole but they don't seem to be breaking down completely. When I topdress with compost, my beds are covered in pieces of eggshells.
    Anonymous said...
    I didn't crush my eggshells last year, and now I keep digging them up everywhere. They are slow to break down. Our family seems to produce a lot of eggshells and tea bags.

    This year, I started saving our shells separately and drying them (unwashed). I read several suggestions that scattering them around plants deters slugs. And I sure do have slugs (not bears, thankfully). Worst case, it does nothing and the shells break down faster.

    My 11 year old daughter enjoys grinding them up with a mortar and pestle for me.
    R. Joe said...
    I'm a little more anal retentive with my egg shells, I suppose. All year long the wifey and I rinse and collect them after meals until we fill an old soup container from chinese take-out. Then they are placed on a cookie sheet - or in the toaster oven - for 20 minutes on 220(F) to kill of any dormant salmonella.

    When they come out they're crushed using our mortar & pestle and placed into an old coffee can. It takes us about a year to fill up the coffee can but come spring it serves two purposes.

    First, in early spring when you first notice the birds starting to become active, place some of the crushed egg shells near a bird-feeder and watch them come pick at it. The crushed shells make for great gullet-gravel and the steady supply of the enriched form of calcium helps encourage them to build their nests nearby.

    The other half of the coffee can gets deposited into the new season's first compost pile to be added to the various garden beds in the yard.

    If you were just going to compost the egg shells I'm sure you could skip the steps of baking them off but it really does help them crush much more easier once they've been dried out anyways so it's up to you. Not all that much more work once you get into the routine of it.

    The only problem I have now is my backyard is quickly becoming a aviary, lol.
    Anthony said...
    I don't crush my shells, but I do turn my compost a lot so they wind up in small pieces anyway. I don't notice them when I spread the compost so I'm guessing they're breaking down.

    R Joe,
    You get the overachiever award of the day. Wow, that sounds like a lot of work to me but if that's what you're into, then go for it.

    Didn't consider the salmonella part although I know that there's less risk of that with organic free range eggs. So I should be fine. Thanks for the comment
    Ki said...
    I just throw the eggshells in the garden bed and stomp 'em. Trouble is the birds pick up little pieces and pretty soon the shells have disappeared!
    Anthony said...
    Hi Ki,
    Yes, I notice the birds making off with my shells sometimes too. I don't really mind.
    Kathy said...
    We raise our own chickens and save the shells to crush and give back to the chickens to peck. They need the minerals to make strong shells. (Some people actually buy chicken grit for this purpose, if their chickens are free ranging.) However, if they taste raw eggs they learn to bust open the eggs that have yet to be collected from the coop, so yes, we microwave them for a minute or two before crushing them and throwing them over the fence. And, I agree, child labor is best for this task, but a mortar and pestle isn't necessary. (If I had one, I'd let them use it. More fun!)
    j.f.d said...
    For years i collect a few weeks worths of eggshells and then grind them up in my spare mini food processor. In 30 seconds they have been turned into the consistency of sand. Then I just spoon my bounty to the plants that benefit the most. very easy and no waiting around for the eggshells to break down.
    Anonymous said...
    So I have a whole carton of eggs that have long past expired. Is it okay to put an entire egg, (whites, yolks and crushed shells) into the compost?
    Anthony said...
    I would not compost a whole carton of rotten eggs. That would stink!
    Anonymous said...
    We have had something--maybe a raccoon that has killed some of the fish in our backyard pond--in central Iowa. Our backyard has a chain link fence surrounding it.
    [Raccoon & opposum have been in my neighborhood. We are now trying to keep predators away by using coyote scent.]
    If I put crushed up egg shells in my compost will it attract even more predators to my yard?
    karen said...
    We eat 3-5 eggs a day but don't eat the yolks. Can we throw the cardboard egg cartons with all the yolks and shells on the compost pile?
    michelle said...
    I have been trying the composting thing with egg shells potato pilling and coffee in a coffee can.I have it all filled up new and I put it outside.Now what?Help!Any Ideas?
    Anthony said...
    I would not compost whole eggs or even just egg yolks. You'll attract animals to your bin and they will smell bad.

    Michelle, add that coffee can and about 2-3 more coffee cans full of shredded newspapers or shredded leaves to your compost bin and you'll be off to a great start.
    53yearoldRN said...
    Great ideas every one gave for composting egg shells! Extra egg yokes, or even expired whole eggs, can be used to make an excellent deer repellent spray for garden plants. (Actually buying fresh eggs and making this spay is MUCH cheaper than buying commercial deer repellents.) Mix 20% egg with 80% water, mix/shake well and strain solution with a sieve before putting in a spray bottle; rinse the spay bottle and sprayer with water after use. I apply the homemade deer repellent once a week and my flowers finally look great. However,this egg based deer repellent may not be the best option in bear country !
    Wurmwelten.de said...
    I am amazed to see so many opinions on eggshells in the compost heap. However one thing has not been adressed clearly yet. Do salmonella survive in the compost? Lets assume that there are salmonella in/on the eggs. Further I would propose that most compost heap do not achieve the recommended 70°C for a full 21 days. So, is there a danger?

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