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Poultry Grit and Oyster Shells??

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Do I need to feed my chicken poultry grit?

Also, I heard that you can feed your chicken (chicken eggshells) opposed to oyster shells.

Is that a reasonable substitute?

Thanks for the love

post #2 of 28

1)  Yes they need grit.  If they free range they might find it on their own.  Caged?  Get them a tray of grit

2)  No.  Bad idea, you don't want them to get the idea shells are for eating as they will eat the eggs they lay.  Get them some oyster shell.

post #3 of 28

Grit is a good idea unless you only feed poultry feed and nothing else.  If they don't free range and you feed things other than poultry feed it is a necessity.  They won't be able to digest many foods without grit.  Free ranging chickens do find some of their own grit but it's still good to put out some just in case.

Yes you can feed egg shell.  Think about it...  Humans even have trouble putting together the food in stores with where it comes from.  A chicken is not going to figure it out.  Just crush the egg shells and they'll have no clue what it is.  Some don't even crush them.  They just let the shells dry and throw them out with the rest of the treats.  I would still provide some oyster shell or other calcium supplement though.  Unless you eat enough eggs you can leave a pan of shells out constantly I wouldn't rely on only egg shells.


Edited by Akane - 3/1/09 at 3:15pm
post #4 of 28

With layer feed and not too many treats, the hens shouldn't really need another source of calcium. I feed Flock Raiser to the layers so having supplemental calcium is very important.

If I was relying only on egg shells, I'd need to be getting them from someone's hens as well as my own. They don't have 100% efficient digestion so they can't turn 1 egg shell back into 1 egg shell.

Since they do have oyster shells free choice, I usually throw the egg shells away. But, if they go back to the hens, they get crushed and mixed up with other kitchen scraps.

I must have the most "gravelly" soil to be found in any backyard. I don't bother with buying grit and just make sure the hens can get out once a day. During times when snow covers the ground, they either have grit or I won't feed things like whole grain.

Steve

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post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much you guys are great!!!  That was very helpful

post #6 of 28

Thanks for asking the question I was wondering the same thing ..

The feed store told me all I needed was egg maker is there enough calcium in egg maker that I wouldn't need to add more?
Cheryl

Live your life in such a way, that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan Shutters..and says 'Oh S**t...She's Awake!'
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Live your life in such a way, that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan Shutters..and says 'Oh S**t...She's Awake!'
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post #7 of 28

1 rule of thumb to think about is what do your eggs look like? If your hens are laying eggs with a lot of pumps on them (like little pimples) or you notice miss shaped eggs. You need the extra calcium, oyster shell or grit.

The unusual shapes or pimples are caused by weak shells in the hen before she lays. If the egg breaks inside her before she lays she has to create an extra layer of calcium to go around the egg where it is weak or where it broke. This extra layer causes the bumps and thick bubbles/bands around the eggs.

Rule 2: if your egg shells are real thin or easy to crack open you may need some.

Rule 3: Look at your eggs through a bright light (like you are candling them) if your shells show a lot of lighter spots, meaning the light goes through them easier in a lot of places, you need to supplement.

Thin eggs shells are not good eggs to hatch because the thin-ness let bacteria into the eggs.

I learned this from a poultry professor at U of F years ago. Plus many other things, but these rules have never failed me to get good quality eggs and to help the hens when they need it.

We feed our chickens a layer pellet, fresh veggies and peanut or alfalfa hay. We also let them out to graze as often as possible (we have a hawk and owl problem). I still have a pan filled with oyster grit for them to eat when ever they want and one 4LB bag last us a few months for a pen of 30 Large breed hens.

Hope this helps you figure out what you need..

Lucky to have: a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful sons, 3 horses, 21 fainting goats, 2 Maremma LGD's, 3 spoiled house dogs and 1 cat. Purebred pens of Blue Andalusian, True Ameraucana, Bantam Mottled and Lavender Cochins, Heritage RIR, Buff Orpington, Welsummer, Marans, BLR Wyandotte, Dark Brahma, Cream Legbars, Cayuga ducks and Black Spanish Turkeys. (and more in the incubator).

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Lucky to have: a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful sons, 3 horses, 21 fainting goats, 2 Maremma LGD's, 3 spoiled house dogs and 1 cat. Purebred pens of Blue Andalusian, True Ameraucana, Bantam Mottled and Lavender Cochins, Heritage RIR, Buff Orpington, Welsummer, Marans, BLR Wyandotte, Dark Brahma, Cream Legbars, Cayuga ducks and Black Spanish Turkeys. (and more in the incubator).

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post #8 of 28

Mixing the 2 terms "oyster shell" and "grit" leads to confusion.  Grit usually means rocks - no nutrients for the diet in rocks. Oyster shell doesn't work too well as "grit" in chicken gizzards since it is quite soft but it does provide a lot of calcium in their diets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by denimangle 

Thanks for asking the question I was wondering the same thing ..

The feed store told me all I needed was egg maker is there enough calcium in egg maker that I wouldn't need to add more?
Cheryl


Cheryl, you are going to have to name the company that makes the "egg maker." ADM, Blue Seal, and Land o' Lakes (Purina), all sell something called "Egg Maker." Walmart even has an Egg Maker but you said feed store not big box. I've little doubt that local mills also sell products they call egg maker.

Usually "complete" does mean "complete" and what they are saying is that the addition of scratch feeds dilutes the ration enuf that they are no longer complete. ADM does sell an Egg Maker Balancer with 20% protein made to be fed with their scratch grains.

None of those websites seem to have the nutritional analysis for those products - altho' we could probably tease it out of the Purina site. We could assume that they would meet the minimum standards set by the gov'ment.

Steve

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post #9 of 28

If you give them free choice access to oyster shell and grit, you cannot go wrong.  If you do not give them free choice access, you might go wrong.  Your choice.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #10 of 28

digitS' :

Mixing the 2 terms "oyster shell" and "grit" leads to confusion.  Grit usually means rocks - no nutrients for the diet in rocks. Oyster shell doesn't work too well as "grit" in chicken gizzards since it is quite soft but it does provide a lot of calcium in their diets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by denimangle 

Thanks for asking the question I was wondering the same thing ..

The feed store told me all I needed was egg maker is there enough calcium in egg maker that I wouldn't need to add more?
Cheryl


Cheryl, you are going to have to name the company that makes the "egg maker." ADM, Blue Seal, and Land o' Lakes (Purina), all sell something called "Egg Maker." Walmart even has an Egg Maker but you said feed store not big box. I've little doubt that local mills also sell products they call egg maker.

Usually "complete" does mean "complete" and what they are saying is that the addition of scratch feeds dilutes the ration enuf that they are no longer complete. ADM does sell an Egg Maker Balancer with 20% protein made to be fed with their scratch grains.

None of those websites seem to have the nutritional analysis for those products - altho' we could probably tease it out of the Purina site. We could assume that they would meet the minimum standards set by the gov'ment.

Steve


The brand is Pilgrims 16% lay feed , Made by Pilgrims Pride.
It says feed as sole ration.
Cheryl

Live your life in such a way, that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan Shutters..and says 'Oh S**t...She's Awake!'
Reply
Live your life in such a way, that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan Shutters..and says 'Oh S**t...She's Awake!'
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