Alternative to oyster shell?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Keeperofmunchkins, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. Keeperofmunchkins

    Keeperofmunchkins Songster

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    I have been feeding my flock layer pellets but have really wanted to switch to grower pellets with oyster shell on the side as most people seem to recommend, especially as I also have one rooster and one younger non laying pullet and at various times someone or other is always brooding or raising chicks. In the UK we don't have all flock feed, only grower or layer plus chick crumbles.

    However when I try to find oyster shell the vast majority of online retailers only sell mixed grit with oyster shell (I buy all my poultry essentials online as there are no stores that sell the products near me). Now, my chickens free range during daylight hours so they do not require grit and it seems that most of the contents of these mixed grit bags are grit rather than shell so do not seem worth it.

    Alternatively pure crushed oyster shell is much harder to find and is very expensive. So I was wondering if there is anything else I could provide for calcium, I. E. Some kind of supplement? And when people say oyster shell do they mean the pure stuff or the mixed grit?

    Another thing I would like to know is how much oyster shell do chickens get through? I have five small bantams and one large fowl hen. If I got a 1kg bag for example how long would I expect that to last?

    Just a bit unsure here.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    A 1 kg bag would last 5 layers about a year or more.
    It is a shame if they mix grit with OS. A rooster or non laying bird shouldn't be required to consume calcium if looking for grit.
     
  3. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Crowing

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    You crush the eggshells and feed it back to the birds as a source of calcium. When I feed the shells back to the birds I make sure to pull the membrane out, rinse them off really well, lay them on the heat vent to dry, then put in a plastic bag and crush them. Some people microwave them to make sure they are "safe" for them to eat.
     
  4. MissChick@dee

    [email protected] ~ Dreaming Of Springtime ~

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    1048BCD2-94E0-4EA1-9E66-F3A9F2D2F384.jpeg They eat OS as they need it. It’s not a every day thing. OS is for calcium for laying hens.
    Grit is different all chickens need grit they may only replace a few pieces at a time as the older grit gets ground up during digestion.
    One simple inexpensive way to add calcium to a chickens intake is to serve them back their own shells. There’s a few different opinions on HOW to do this. This is what I do with mine. I rinse the shells in hot water as I use them for cooking. I leave them on the counter to dry completely. Then I have a can I put them in. When I’m ready to use them I spread them on a sheet pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
    I use a food processor and grind them to a fine/course powder. I’ve been adding shells to my garden composter. OS here in the states is easily available so I can appreciate your struggle.
    *washing/baking ensures that ecoli is not present *
    Also...the shells will scrape the food processor’s cup. I use the same “ruined” cup just for shells.
     
  5. Shamo Hybrid

    Shamo Hybrid Songster

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    I don't know.... but chicken feed is killing me!! Just got back from the feed store and I'd about lost 10 years off of my life! Lawd have mercy, why do I owe these chickens!!!
     
  6. MissChick@dee

    [email protected] ~ Dreaming Of Springtime ~

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    *hands out milk and cookies let’s get ready for naptime*
     
  7. Keeperofmunchkins

    Keeperofmunchkins Songster

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    This is why I order online and have it delivered right to my door. :) Used to trek miles across town to the one place that sold chicken supplies and heft those massive bags around and it was no fun.
     
  8. Keeperofmunchkins

    Keeperofmunchkins Songster

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    Tha ks for all the replies. I will definitely try processing their egg shells! At least less waste that way. But I might as well go ahead with one small bag of oyster shell just for a trial since it seems to last much longer than I had thought!
     
  9. Shamo Hybrid

    Shamo Hybrid Songster

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    I was talking about the prices, lady! Killing ME!!

    But I'm strong as an ox, so carrying it was no problem. :p
     
  10. MissChick@dee

    [email protected] ~ Dreaming Of Springtime ~

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    I’ve found that OS lasts a long time. And my birds have a funny thing they do. Anytime I put fresh OS out it’s like they line up for something special. So when I clean out the feeder (once a week) I pick up the OS and put it in a different bowl...they act like they’ve been waiting all week! Lol
     

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