Are Oyster Shells necessary?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by johnsons-r-us, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. johnsons-r-us

    johnsons-r-us Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Eudora, Kansas
    [​IMG] Ok, newbie question. I have 9 hens that should be getting ready to lay in the next month. I got them as day old chicks. They free range from sun up to sun down, and have all summer, they go into their coop at dusk and I lock the doors. They have fresh water in the coop and out. I do provide layer crumbles, but I let them run out and give them as treats most of the time because they free rage. Do I need to get oyster shells also? Is there anyone here who has successful egg layers without them? Does it matter if the roos eat them? My chickens are never separated.
  2. Chef

    Chef Chicken Connoisseur

    Dec 16, 2008
    You will know when they start to lay if they need the shell. If the eggs are not hard or are very thin and brittle then they will need more calcium. Good luck!


    Edit: The roo's would be fine eating it.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  3. SunnyCalifornia

    SunnyCalifornia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2010
    Escondido CA
    I was using regular layer feed and for many months my hens laid nice thick shelled eggs. When I started noticing the shells getting a little thin, I started putting a cup of oyster shell out for them, and problem solved.

    My point is, that you can always add it in later if necessary.
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    You are probably OK without oyster shell. It is a supplement. If they eat layer and bugs then they are getting all the calcium most hens need. I have it but rarely give any to my chickens. And it is OK if roos eat some.

  5. johnsons-r-us

    johnsons-r-us Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Eudora, Kansas
    Wow, thank you! Quick answers. I was concerned about the roos eating them.....but glad that is not an issue. I'm guessing in the winter if they can't get the bugs they normally do and eat more layer crumbles I may have to add the oyster shells. I will wait it out....can't wait for that first egg! Hope I find it first. It sounds like many free range birds like to hide them.
  6. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2011
    SE Idaho
    Hi and [​IMG] It also depends on where you get your layer feed. I buy mine at a local feed mill where they mix their own blends. My chicks/chickens love it and have been very healthy! The owner told me that there is oyster shell in the layer mix already. He also said that young layers really don't need the extra calcium so suggested that I keep them on grower/developer until most of the flock is laying (I went to him to buy layer feed when I had 1-2 laying). [​IMG] If you have bought your feed locally, ask them or check the feed label for its ingredient list. Good luck and be sure to post pictures of that first egg! [​IMG]

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