Are oyster shells necessary?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickenalice, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. chickenalice

    chickenalice Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 12, 2010
    I feed them layena feed. one just started laying and her eggs/shells have been perfect.
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I don't provide layer feed. There are too many chickens of different ages in my flock. plus some ducks. I give everybody grower/finisher, and provide crushed oyster shell free choice.
  3. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Quote:Good for your chicken. The layer feed has the calcium she needs so oyster shell isn't necessary. It is when you have a mixed flock--like gryeyes--or not feeding layer that you need to feed oyster shell or some other form of calcium supplement. Chickens can also get calcium from their environment--where I grew up the substratum had a lot of limestone so most farmers didn't feed a calcium supplement to their free-ranging hens.
  4. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    Mine have gone weeks with me needing to go out and buy some and have had especially hard shells on their eggs. I do provide it free choice sometimes, and sometimes I mix it with the layer feed I use. But I'll soon be switching to grower/finisher like Linda. Mine are free range and have a run, which has rock-like soil so they get plenty of it, plus they're free range, and free range chickens don't tend to need it. But to be safe I offer it. Where are your chickens housed, and do they have a run or are let out at all? You really don't NEED to with layer. But I do anyway.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010
  5. chickenalice

    chickenalice Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 12, 2010
    They are in a 14 ft diameter pen and they go out every day. so I don't need oyster shells for grit?
  6. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

    Sep 1, 2010
    Oyster shells (or other Ca sources) are different from grit. Grit is rocks used to grind their food in their crops, if they go outside they will likely get rocks from the dirt there. Oyster shell (or other Ca sources) break down easily and do not assist in grinding food they are digested and the Ca used to make/strengthen egg shells. (as well as other body tissues) All chickens need grit to grind food if they are eating non-soft foods. (either from nature or given free choice) Only layers need extra Ca, and as was said earlier however you choose to give it.
  7. kla37

    kla37 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    Hillsborough, NC USA
    I give my chickens free choice oyster shell, but they don't seem to ever touch it. They eat layer crumbles, so I guess they get the Ca they need from that. Just being extra paranoid I guess! Kassaundra, I LOVE your tag line! yeah for chocolate! [​IMG]
  8. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2010
    Pacific NW
    I just free range. They seem to be getting plenty of calcium, magnesium, etc. She lays often and with strong shells :)

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