At what age is it safe to start offering Oyster shell?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by claudicles, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. claudicles

    claudicles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 9 11-12 week olds and they are still in the brooder with regular trips outside while I slowly finish and fox proof the coop. I have been giving them some food scraps and greens but as they only have limited access to the ground I have to give them some sort of grit. I can't find chick grit and the only grit I can find is labelled oyster shell grit. I have been giving them sand which they seem to go straight for. The risk that people quote for excess calcium is both renal damage and skeletal abnormalities. Does that risk continue until they start to lay or does it go when they reach skeletal maturity? In other words, when can I use oyster shell as grit?
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hens don't need Oyster Shell until they actually start to lay eggs, when they will need tons of calcium. Too much calcium can damage their kidneys. So if you can not find grit than sand will do for now. They won't start laying til about 5 months or so old. They will eat as much calcium then as they need.

    If you are in a pinch to find grit, and can't find it at any feed stores, you can offer them aquarium gravel which is granite stones. That is prefered stone for the gizzard. You can get that at any pet supply place. However some of the stones will be too big for 3 month olds, but it will do til you can get grit. If you have to, order it on line. Many poultry supply places sell grit just for chickens. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011
  3. claudicles

    claudicles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2011
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    Thank you. If that is the case then I think I will keep going with the sand. I have quite a bit of aquarium gravel of various grades I could use (I have 22 fish tanks) but the sam=nd is clean and readily available.
     

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