Egg shells for Martins

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Spiderman
Posts: 758
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

I have never put out left over egg shells from the kitchen before this year. Tried the crushed oyster shells, even crushed them finer into almost sand but no takers.

But the chicken egg shells are a different story. Had a bare spot in the yard with just dirt. Broke the shells into small pieces, put out 6 egg shells. There are 10 or 12 Martins at a time feeding on them as l'm walking away.

If you have the time you should give it a try.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
PMDavid
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Boyce,Louisiana
Martin Colony History: Second year trying to attract martins. This year I am getting rid of the wooden house and showing something they are used to seeing.
Offering 2 trio grandpaws w/2natural gourds under each and C.Abare gourd rack w/16 natural gourds. And one rehabbed 16 compartment Coates original with two natural gourds.Lots of lookers,a few overnighters and daily activity cruising and looking. All gourds have a rain canopy and wire perch.2019 7 pair moving into 2020 almost double pairs from 2019. Still have most of the month of March to go for new arrivals and April.

WOW ! That’s pretty cool. I had considered when I get some established birds installing a raised platform next to my gourds for eggshells,say maybe 8-10 ft high.
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

The females will chow them before egg laying. Also they feed them to the babies as their bones develop. They love the eggshells! Good luck! :)
Sharon from southern Illinois
pmlover
Posts: 806
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:30 pm
Location: OH/New Concord

dont forget the scrambled eggs also lol
2015 69 pairs 418 eggs 396 fledged
2019 I have 148 openings now
2016 100 pairs 600 babies fledged added another t-14 and have 126 openings now
2015 Jun 24 360 babies and 58 eggs also found one that had died
2017 632 babies 11died and 20 were killed by hawks
2015 74 pairs and 9 eggs 5/14
2010 3pairss
]JOINED PMCA JUNE 6,2018
2018 651 babies 5 hawk kills 11 floater kills 25 died in houses and 610 fledged

2014 80 pairs 283 babies 282 fledged one died
handyman315
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 11:03 am
Location: SW Ohio
Martin Colony History: Colony established May 20, 2017 after three unsuccessful years. Persistent and aggressive Tree Swallows plagued the site, but beyond learning - and practicing - to control them, was the return in 2017 of a 2016-SY-M previously unable to find a mate. As a handsome ASY-M, he brought along two females and a swagger that soon put the Tree Swallow issue to rest. As the anchor pair, he and his mate hatched all six of their eggs into fat and healthy babies into what settled in to be a three-pair, flourishing new colony with up to 11 birds total, including 3 SY-M trouble makers.

I've tried platforms to get my PMs off the ground (I worry about hawks), but they won't touch them, but crunch the eggshells up very finely on the concrete driveway with my feet after the eggs are well sun baked and dried and the PMs flock to them, along with the Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows. Maybe it's the grit, maybe it's the calcium, but whatever it is they want them.
2019- 19 Nesting Pair Fledged 84 babies. The Pattern is Full.
2018-ASY-M Arrived April 6, Despite Snow & Cold, Joined Soon by Mate & Two Adult Pairs, Season of 11 Nests W/48 Babies
2017-FIRST-YEAR LANDLORD! :grin: Resident SY-M from 2016 Returned (as ASY-M) on May 20. At Least 11 Resident PMs, with 13 Fledged from Three Nests and Operated a Daily Flying Circus :grin:
2016-Late-Arriving SYs, Resident Lone SY-M, Unable to Find Mate
2015 & 2014-Many Visits
Spiderman
Posts: 758
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

Ours are eating 6 egg shells a day. I started mixing the whites from the boiled eggs and they ate them too.

They wouldn't go for the scrambled eggs. Not sure what the difference was with that.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
handyman315
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 11:03 am
Location: SW Ohio
Martin Colony History: Colony established May 20, 2017 after three unsuccessful years. Persistent and aggressive Tree Swallows plagued the site, but beyond learning - and practicing - to control them, was the return in 2017 of a 2016-SY-M previously unable to find a mate. As a handsome ASY-M, he brought along two females and a swagger that soon put the Tree Swallow issue to rest. As the anchor pair, he and his mate hatched all six of their eggs into fat and healthy babies into what settled in to be a three-pair, flourishing new colony with up to 11 birds total, including 3 SY-M trouble makers.

Eggshells might be one of my biggest PM successes as a second-year landlord, i.e., they devour them, and yes, they do in fact feed them to their babies; I've watched them with binoculars, and my egg shells are really disappearing now that several pairs have babies.

They still prefer them crunched into fine pieces on the nearby concrete driveway, and will not go to the elevated feeder. The Barn Swallows join in as well, especially in late afternoons.
2019- 19 Nesting Pair Fledged 84 babies. The Pattern is Full.
2018-ASY-M Arrived April 6, Despite Snow & Cold, Joined Soon by Mate & Two Adult Pairs, Season of 11 Nests W/48 Babies
2017-FIRST-YEAR LANDLORD! :grin: Resident SY-M from 2016 Returned (as ASY-M) on May 20. At Least 11 Resident PMs, with 13 Fledged from Three Nests and Operated a Daily Flying Circus :grin:
2016-Late-Arriving SYs, Resident Lone SY-M, Unable to Find Mate
2015 & 2014-Many Visits
Hanover Bill
Posts: 596
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

Mine love the egg shells taken off my bed & breakfast platform, and I am hoping it will help to train them to take supplemental feeding as well. So far I have had no luck with supplemental feeding, but they readily take the egg shells.

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2860
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I must be lucky because mine always take the oyster shells. They are cheap and I have a raised try. Fill it up before egg laying and they use it all season.
2020 47 of 52 cavities with nest (5/29)(HOSP Count 7)
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1619
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Parent martins will take crushed small egg shell pieces back to the cavity for their young. Calcium in the egg shells help build strong martin egg shells as well as replenish the females own calcium in their bones. It is also an excellent source of grit for martins.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
TheSmiths
Posts: 314
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 1:02 pm
Location: Western KY
Martin Colony History:

Tried to attract PMs since 2004; began a more ernest attempt in 2014.

2018 — 3 pairs: 1 ASY pair & 1 SY pair in the Trio; 1 SY pair in a supergourd on the gourd multi-rack.

2019 — 6 pairs

Current housing consists of two modified Trio M12Ks at 20' and a round gourd rack at 20'.

We also provide housing utilized by bluebirds, Carolina wrens, house wrens, Carolina chickadees, and tufted titmice. We have housing for great-crested flycatchers and northern flickers but usually have to close them due to starlings.

We have both eggshell and oyster shell in a tray ~5' off the ground. We've not seen any kind of bird use it. I put some eggshell on the edge of the road (dead end street) where we often see birds pecking; I think it remained there until the rain eventually washed it away.
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 761
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:05 pm
Location: Brooks, Wi (McGinnis Lake)
Martin Colony History: 24 Super and Excluder Gourds on two gourd racks, all SREH. Full occupancy. My philosophy is to maximize fledge % with existing cavities rather than adding gourds to grow colony, thus providing opportunities for new colony expansion. Fledge over 100 nestlings yearly from 24 gourds. Band nestlings in cooperation with state university. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

A readily available source of calcium is critical to females for properly formed eggs. Calcium depletion is possible if the female of any avian species does not replentish the calcium that she loses when egg shells are deposited on the egg. Any source of calcium is better than none.

I used egg shells many years ago until I read a research article in the Purple Martin Quarterly which compared egg shells with oyster shell as a source of calcium for purple martins. To make a long story short, providing oyster shell to martins resulted in more eggs and more chicks when compared to egg shells.

With only 24 gourds, the martins here consume two 1# coffee cans of oyster shell on a raised platform during their stay here. Egg shells are better than nothing, but apparently not as good as oyster shell.

Produce as many martins as possible.

Ed
Dave Duit
Posts: 1619
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2019, 54 pair with 218 fledged youngsters. 83 total compartments available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified trio metal house units, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Good point Ed. I put out both oyster and eggs shells for the martins. I go through about 2 gallons of eggs shells per season.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Jim Beatson~SC
Posts: 226
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:54 pm
Location: Sumter, SC
Martin Colony History: Started 2000
All natural gourds. Access ports and clinger SREH.
32 of 32 gourds occupied 2018

I offer crushed eggs shells and pullet-sized crushed oyster shells on a sand pile in the corner of my garden near the gourd racks. The Martins and other birds eat them during egg laying time and feed them to the young.
Jim
BillieJR
Posts: 668
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Where do you guys get your oyster shells at? I've only used egg shells.
Billie from south central Wisconsin
vman
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:42 pm
Location: wisconsin
Martin Colony History: have not had martins for last 20 yrs. trying to re establish a colony
2018 1 asy pair fledged 2

Billie, you can get oyster shells at fleet farm, probably farm and fleet in your area, but they sell them in 50 # bags for 10.00. However, we put out shells for our one pair but they never looked at them, for that matter, we've not seen them touch the egg shells either,not sure why.
Jim
TheSmiths
Posts: 314
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 1:02 pm
Location: Western KY
Martin Colony History:

Tried to attract PMs since 2004; began a more ernest attempt in 2014.

2018 — 3 pairs: 1 ASY pair & 1 SY pair in the Trio; 1 SY pair in a supergourd on the gourd multi-rack.

2019 — 6 pairs

Current housing consists of two modified Trio M12Ks at 20' and a round gourd rack at 20'.

We also provide housing utilized by bluebirds, Carolina wrens, house wrens, Carolina chickadees, and tufted titmice. We have housing for great-crested flycatchers and northern flickers but usually have to close them due to starlings.

Ours is a 7 lb bag of Nutrena NatureWise Oyster Shell. According to Blain's Farm & Fleet website, your local store has four of the 7 lb bags in stock for $5.79 each. I've read some brands are extremely dusty. Nutrena isn't bad but it still makes me sneeze.
BillieJR
Posts: 668
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Thanks! I assume these shells keep well over the winter if I were to get some now - I mean - they don't "spoil", right?
Billie from south central Wisconsin
Spiderman
Posts: 758
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:19 am
Location: Gladewater, Texas

I put them in a zip lock freezer bag and store them in the freezer during the off season.

That way I have plenty on hand when the Martins are here.
2008 - 33 PAIR - FLEDGED 96 YOUNG
2009 - 51 PAIR - FLEDGED 166 YOUNG
2010 - 45 PAIR - FLEDGED 146 YOUNG
2011 - 33 PAIR - 128 HATCHED, 97 FLEDGED
2012 - 37 PAIR - 119 HATCHED, 101 FLEDGED
handyman315
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 11:03 am
Location: SW Ohio
Martin Colony History: Colony established May 20, 2017 after three unsuccessful years. Persistent and aggressive Tree Swallows plagued the site, but beyond learning - and practicing - to control them, was the return in 2017 of a 2016-SY-M previously unable to find a mate. As a handsome ASY-M, he brought along two females and a swagger that soon put the Tree Swallow issue to rest. As the anchor pair, he and his mate hatched all six of their eggs into fat and healthy babies into what settled in to be a three-pair, flourishing new colony with up to 11 birds total, including 3 SY-M trouble makers.

Crushed oyster shells will not spoil, and should keep without any special handling; however, as I mentioned, my Martins will only eat (chicken) egg shells, that do need special handling to avoid spoiling if kept long(er) periods. Some landlords boil them.
2019- 19 Nesting Pair Fledged 84 babies. The Pattern is Full.
2018-ASY-M Arrived April 6, Despite Snow & Cold, Joined Soon by Mate & Two Adult Pairs, Season of 11 Nests W/48 Babies
2017-FIRST-YEAR LANDLORD! :grin: Resident SY-M from 2016 Returned (as ASY-M) on May 20. At Least 11 Resident PMs, with 13 Fledged from Three Nests and Operated a Daily Flying Circus :grin:
2016-Late-Arriving SYs, Resident Lone SY-M, Unable to Find Mate
2015 & 2014-Many Visits
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