Before oyster shell....

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ChickenCat, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. ChickenCat

    ChickenCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2009
    craig county, VA
    what was fed to the chickens to harden shells? I have not fed oyster shell the first time and the girls' egg shells are very good. they free range from daylight til dark, we have alot of limestone outcroppings they feed over, all the scraps from the house and garden, Dumor layer feed in their house ( which they only enter to sleep or lay an egg). What did the folks 100 years ago feed their chickens to strengthen the egg shell?
  2. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    I don't believe they fed them anything and they sure didn't get extra calcium in the feed. I am also sure they didn't get as many eggs as we do but if you had enough hens, you had plenty of eggs. It wasn't unusual for someone to have a flock of 200 chickens at one time, just for meat and eggs.
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    100 years ago they would eat all the ones that laid bad eggs.
    People now try to "save" every bird, when CULLING is the best way to improve a flock
  4. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I doubt that my grandma's ever bought oyster shell, but I do know they threw the eggshells back out to the hens and neither one of them ever even bothered to crush them.
  5. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    My father, age 89, said they fed back the egg shells when he was a kid. One of his jobs was to crush them up before feeding them.
  6. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    It's the high egg production of modern layers that results in problems, ChickenCat.

    An eggshell has 2.2 grams of calcium in it. A leghorn-type hen eats about 110 grams of feed each day. Some hens are kicking out an egg a day for months! And, she canNOT convert all the calcium in her feed to eggshells - her digestion is not that efficient.

    Grain may have less than 1% calcium but the laying hen needs 2 grams per 100 grams just to make her 1 eggshell each day - let alone what her body needs amount to. If she doesn't get the calcium for the egg, she pulls it out of her bones. The result: "layer fatigue" - a crippling disease.

    You may be fortunate to have "limestone outcroppings" and the birds are getting calcium as they eat things from that soil. Don't know . . .

  7. cphilip

    cphilip Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 19, 2009
    Clemson SC
    There are written references of feeding Oyster shell to poultry going well back to the mid 1800's that I have read and probably ones I don't know about going much further back. As well as feeding animal of crushed bones and, of course, the egg shell. Poultry is a long domesticated animal and the knowledge of discovery seems to predate a lot of science we normally think about. I imagine hit on by accident or by trial and error. But lets not forget the many thing developed long ago like Bronze and Steel... and lets not forget the availability of shellfish and bones has long been there. It would not surprise me to find Oyster Shell being fed to Poultry back about as far as even BC.

    Here is a small article which talks about feeding poultry from 1879. It is a hoot of a read
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009

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