Worms eat all kinds of things. Surprisingly, yes – they do also eat crushed egg shells, and in fact, benefit greatly from doing so!
It’s easy to assume that egg shells can cause worms pain and injury.
However, if you want to add shells to your worm bin or worm composting system, you just have to be careful about how you prepare them.
Let’s take a closer look at this curious side to worm composting.
Can worms eat and digest egg shells?
Yes, worms like to eat and can digest egg shells. The egg shells MUST be crushed into a powder-like form before given to earthworms in order to avoid causing your worms potential injury.
Before you put them in your worm bins, you need to take special care with these food scraps.
Worms love these treats and they are good for them – but they need our help.
If worms encounter an eggshell which has been disposed of carelessly, then it is likely that there will be casualties in the compost bin!
Please keep reading to find out how to carefully manage eggshells and other food scraps for your worm farm.
Do egg shells kill worms?
Eggshells can kill worms if not treated properly. It’s rare, but think about those sharp edges – they aren’t the ideal additions to worm composting or any kind of worm farm.
Not just for being a sharp hazard, egg shells that aren’t ground down in your worm bin or farm will take an age to compost and worms eat foods generally that are decomposing.
Eggshells can kill worms if left untreated. But, we can take a little time to prepare them in order to prevent causing any injury and/or death to worms who are eating their way through the composting material. (more on this in a minute)
We know that eggshell is both delicate and strong.
By nature’s design, eggshells are meant to be breakable by the small beaks of chicks from the inside.
They are created strong enough to support and protect the life inside. Relatively speaking, eggs can withstand enormous pressure.
They are some of the hardiest kitchen scraps. But, when they do crack and break, we also see how immensely brittle they are and razor sharp at the edges.
Here lies the danger to our working worm friends in the compost bin!
Those sharp edges can seriously wound and cause the death of worms who have a thin skin cover, a soft fleshy interior and only have a very thin membrane lining their digestive tract.
Even small amounts of this worm food could cause serious damage.
Death becomes an inevitable consequence to worms succumbing to a brief encounter with untreated shell as they try to move their tender bodies over or pass through/over it.
Of course, if they succeed in breaking off a piece of egg shell or discover a small enough fragment to put in their mouth and eat, it’d be much like you or I eating a razor blade – not pleasant!
Therefore, let’s take a look at how you can safely prepare shells for your worm compost bin.
How do you prepare egg shells for worms?
Preparing eggshells for worms and your worm farm is not difficult and requires little time and effort:
- 1. When you use eggs in the kitchen, save the shells on the side for your composting worms.
- 2. The interior of the shells will usually dry off naturally.
- 3. Then, individually or in groups, they need to be broken down and smashed into a powdery form suitable for distribution into the compost bin.
- 4. The best way to do this is with a mortar and pestle.
- 5. Some people even use a food processor to blend shells for worms! The choice is yours, but a good pestle should do more than enough.
While you can normally throw small amounts of other food scraps safely straight into your worm compost, eggshells are a different kettle of fish.
If you don’t have a compost bin or worm bins of your own, then distributing the powder on your soil surface in a thin layer is just as efficient.
But if it rains, and powdered shell has simply been deposited on the surface, it can form a paste which in turn can clog the soil and make it difficult for worms to work through.
A simple solution, which demands us taking a little more time, is to rake or dig in the egg shell powder.
In the compost bin, mixing powdered egg shell matter is also advisable, rather than just placing it in a heap on the surface of other composting materials.
You won’t always need to move the powder to the bottom of the compost, as worms will take care of this themselves.
However, mixing in egg shell material, rather than just depositing it on the surface, ensures that more worms have easier access to a fair share.
Mixing the textures of decomposing material as you deposit it also makes for more air and moisture to be circulated as well as to create more even spread of valuable nutrients for you to collect and use at the end of the composting process.
The benefits of adding egg shells to your bin for vermicomposting
There are several benefits to adding eggshells to composting bins for vermicomposting.
For one thing, your average worm community and red wigglers will be healthier for it!
First of all, recycling materials is obviously good for the planet.
In this case, a naturally formed material can be reused in the composting process whilst aiding in the healthy survival of worms and adding valuable nutrients to our soil.
Worm castings and compost enriches our soil which naturally invigorates plant life.
Plants in photosynthesis channel carbon dioxide and oxygen through the atmosphere to sustain life – and plants help feed us and other animals as well as provide a beautiful environment for us to enjoy!
Eggs are rich in calcium, protein and more.
The same reason you eat eggs, is the same reason you should add eggs and eggshells to your compost bins.
Worms will love working through their bedding to nibble the odd bit of power.
So, next time you crack an egg, or its original inhabitant does, make sure to pulverize the shell then add the powder to your compost bin and help perpetuate the life cycle!
Yes – it might seem weird, but popular composting worms, including red worms (wigglers) and nightcrawlers will happily eat eggshells alongside coffee grounds and other food scraps.
You just need to make sure your eggshells are in a safe form for them to digest i.e. ground down into a fine powder before going in your composting bin.
The soft external skin and soft internal membranes of the digestive tract of worms would most likely be easily ripped up by shells and so, it is up to us to help!