Chicken Math is a condition that all keepers of chickens are afflicted with. It's just a matter of time. It means that we believe we only have four chickens, when in reality, we have a dozen. Or, we go into the local tractor supply to pick up "two" more and we leave with six. When a broody hen hatches her chicks, they don't count. Ask any chicken owner how many they keep. When they answer you, double that number in your mind and you will have the truth.
We must be a certain type of person to keep chickens. I live in the city, was never overly attached to birds (dogs and cats have always been my thing), and never thought I would keep what I was taught to think of as a dirty, stinky, messy animal. I never knew they had personalities and that some were cuddly. They even follow us around when we are working outside; especially in the summers. They are so curious!
My girls have imprinted on my family. They follow my dogs around, and even try to play with them. My boys were taught to leave the chickens alone, and they ignore the antics of my girls. However, they are protective of them.
So, I keep used chicken shells in a bowl on top of my refrigerator. I don't wash and refrigerate my eggs when I bring them in from the hen palace. They sit on the counter until I am ready to use them.
At that point, I wash the shell, crack it open, use what's inside, and throw the shell in a bowl. Here's why... they are calcium, gifted to me by my girls. When my bowl gets full, I push them down. When my pieces are overflowing, I take them out and run them through my Vitamix with a dry blade and store them in a jar. I now have free fertilizer for my tomatoes. When I get ready to plant, I will push it in the gound (as my grandma used to say) before I put my tomato plant in. As it disintegrates, it will feed my plant.
Have you ever grown tomatoes and had a black spot on the blossom side that grew and ruined your tomato? That's called blossom end rot. It's a calcium deficiency in the plant. The girls help my garden by supplying the tomatoes with calcium. They are so smart! I believe I have imprinted on them, too.
If you've got the room, and if you grow tomatoes, this is really a no-brainer. It's a winning solution all the way around. The inside of the egg gets used, the outside of the egg gets used, the tomatoes benefit from organic fertilizer, and there's no footprint left behind. I really like that part. It makes me feel self-sufficient, even if it's in a small way.
That's why I keep used eggshells in a bowl. Now I'm off to do some research for those TWO chickens I plan on getting next month.