Calcium help & food

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by boboshortbus, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. boboshortbus

    boboshortbus In the Brooder

    Jul 8, 2016
    Pennellville NY
    I need help with some extra calcium for my moms flock, I started doing my own flock because I got attached to helping her chicks when she was out of town. Some of her chicks need more calcium due to there eggs soft spots I noticed this week.

    I want to learn the best ways for my own chick flock so this doesn't happen. My chicks are 8 & 9 weeks old now.

    What's good calcium sources?
    Whats not good for my flock to eat?
    What's good treats?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    What's not good is giving extra calcium to 9 week old chicks. You should wait till at least 18 weeks or whenever you start getting eggs. to switch to layer feed.
    You can offer oyster shell in a separate container earlier than that. They won't eat it if they don't need it.
  3. As said, don't offer the extra calcium until they are laying, at that point 'layer' feed has additional calcium added and if that is their primary diet then that should provide them with suitable levels of calcium...

    If you are feeding them another food or you feel they might need some extra calcium get some crushed oyster shells and offer it as a side, they will self regulate their calcium intake if given the option... Crushed limestone can also be used as a calcium source...
  4. For your mom's flock they should be getting a layers feed which has calcium already in it. Also give a container of crushed oyster shells free chiloice. You can put crushed eggshells in a container for them too WITH oysters shells. Eggshells can't be a replacement for oystershells though. Feed no more than 10% of their diet in treats. So if a hen eats half a cup of feed she can have about 1 tablespoon of treats. Foods like leafy greens and herbs can be fed free choice though. Avoid spinach which can cause calcium deficency though. As far as your flock their still too young for calcium. It can cause kidney damage to consume calcium at a young age. The best way to prevent a deficiency is to all I said above when your hens begin to lay at 4-5 months old.

  5. They can if you have enough, but you generally won't have enough if you simply use your own eggs...

    I beg to differ on this, unless you are feeding copious amounts of spinach every day it's not going to cause a problem, like almost all the so called 'don't feed' items moderation is key not prohibition...
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  6. You might be able to feed enough eggshells to supply a hen with calcium. But from what I've read the problem is that hens can't eat enough eggshells to get the calcium. Im not sure if this is true? It just seems safer to have both options to ensure they get enough of whichever they need. And their are certain foods that make the absorption of calcium difficult. But you are right you would have to feed your hens alot to cause problems. Any food eaten in excess will cause some sort of damage. I was just pointing out that she may want to avoid it.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016

  7. They can get their calcium from egg shells if you have enough shells, their bodies are very, very good at calcium extraction, it's almost instantaneous in fact... The calcium they ingest is literally available for egg production within minutes... The problem is that calcium is used for other things over and above egg shells, so recycling just the egg shells produced by your chickens is not enough, you would need a 2nd source to keep up with demand...

    Personally for how cheap oyster shell is, I can't be bothered with collecting, crushing and baking the egg shells...

    On the flip side spinach is loaded with vital nutrients and high protein amounts, so although it 'could' prevent absorption of some things it also provides many other things... Also the spinach like many other dark green leafy vegetables will improve yolk color, something highly desirable to many...
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  8. Judy925

    Judy925 In the Brooder

    Oct 23, 2016
    Corona, CA
    I was rummaging through my pantry one day and found a box of Cream of Wheat cereal that was hiding behind the pasta. The label says it has 20% of a person's daily requirement for calcium without milk. I am not what you would call a math genius but I kinda figured that if 3 tablespoons of that stuff gives creatures a LOT bigger than chickens 20% what must the percentage be for those little guys? So I've been adding the Cream of Wheat to her feed. At first she tossed the food around to avoid the cereal, but now she eats it like it's not even in there. Between the cereal and the gazillions of snails she eats (I propagate succulents to make custom arrangements so I have thousands of plants and pots all over the place, and the snails have met their match!) I think she is probably getting a decent amount of her daily requirement. And if the amount of calcium she gets has anything to do with how many eggs she lays, well, she hasn't missed a day laying an egg since she started.

  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    % of human RDA can't be accurately translated to % calcium content in a foodstuff. Most grains are well under 1% calcium. Wheat is very low in calcium. Cream of Wheat is wheat.

    There have been several studies of snail shells as a calcium supplement.
  10. Chickenl0v3r

    Chickenl0v3r Hatching

    Jan 28, 2017
    Do any of you know if reptile calcium is good for chickens? I have recently lost my little lizard, and he left a small container of reptile calcium, since I don't know what else to do with it, I am thinking of feeding my girls some. I have heard that it helps boost their shells, but I do not want so cause any harm to them! Plz give me suggestions. Thank you!!![​IMG]

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