Originally Posted by birds4kids
There is more than one way to skin a cat and more than one way to feed a chicken, they are like feathered omnivorous goats, they will eat anything as long as that anything isn't toxic and includes reasonable protein ans calcium levels, you will get eggs. If the eggs have thin shells get them more calcium, if the egg production falls off and you don't see a "stress" cause try giving them more protein.
Goats are some of pickiest eaters you can raise. I don't know how the wives tale, " goats will eat anything" came about but it is far from the truth. lol
As for thin egg shells, Yes a eggs is made up of about 94 to 97 percent calcium carbonate but calcium is only one thing that makes for strong egg shells.
Protein, Adequate levels of lysine and methionine is need to produce good egg shells. When pullets begin laying, there is an increase in protein, vitamin and mineral requirements per day due to deposition in the egg. If dietary protein is too low or the amino acid requirements are not met, poor egg production and hatchability will occur.
Edited by Chris09 - 2/6/16 at 9:02am
Calcium, The egg shell is composed primarily of calcium carbonate. The pullet's requirement for calciumis relatively low during the growing period, but when the first eggs are produced, the need is increased at least four times, with practically all of the increase being used for the productionof eggshells. Inadequate calcium consumption will result in decreased egg production and loweregg shell quality.
Hens store calcium in medullary bone, a specialized bone capable of rapid calcium turnover. As calcium stores are depleted, bones become brittle. In severe cases, hens are unable tostand. The condition is known as caged-layer fatigue. Birds on the ground or on litter floorsrecycle calcium and phosphorus through consumption of feces, and do not have caged-layer fatigue.
Calcium can be supplied in the diet as either ground limestone or oyster shell. Particlesize affects calcium availability. Usually the larger the particle size, the longer the particlewill be retained in the upper digestive tract. This means that the larger particles of thecalcium source are released more slowly, and this may be important for the continuity of shellformation, especially in the dark period when birds do not ordinarily eat.
Periodically, dolomitic limestone is offered to the feed industry. However, dolomitic limestone(which is used in the steel industry) should never be used in poultry diets. Dolomitic limestonecontains at least 10% magnesium, and this complexes with calcium or competes with calcium forabsorption sites in the intestines. The consequence of feeding dolomitic limestone is inducedcalcium deficiency.
Young birds should not be fed a high calcium layer diet because the calcium/phosphorus ratiowill be unbalanced, resulting in increased morbidity or mortality.
Phosphorus, The nutritional role of phosphorus is closely related to that of calcium. Both are constituentsof bone. The ratio of dietary calcium to phosphorus affects the absorption of both these elements;an excess of either one impedes absorption and can reduce egg production, shell quality and/orhatchability.
In addition to its function in bone, phosphorus plays a primary role in carbohydrate metabolism,is active in fat metabolism, and helps to regulate the acid-base balance of the body
Vitamin D, Vitamin D is required for normal calcium absorption and utilization. If inadequate levelsof vitamin D are fed, induced calcium deficiency quickly results and egg production decreases.
Feed grade vitamin D comes in two forms, D2 and D3. In most animals, both are equally potent. In birds, however, D3 is substantially more active than D2. In poultry diets, therefore, vitamin D must be supplied in the form of D3.
Magnesium, Magnesium is needed for healthy bones, proper nervous system functioning, and energy metabolism.
Fat, Dietary fat is a source of energy and of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid. A deficiency of linoleic acid will adversely affect egg production. Dietary fats also serve as "carriers"of fat-soluble vitamins, and some fat is necessary for absorption of vitamins. In fact, impairmentof the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) is the most serious consequence of a dietary deficiency of fat.