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calcium

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Dinosaur Feed, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. Dinosaur Feed

    Dinosaur Feed In the Brooder

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    What are some ways you get calcium into your chickens

    I use oyster shell and limestone. I'm wondering if there are any other inexpensive ways to get calcium into their diet.
     
  2. Junochick

    Junochick Songster

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    Crush up egg shells and feed them back to the chickens.
     
    2Fast2Curious likes this.
  3. Dinosaur Feed

    Dinosaur Feed In the Brooder

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    We do that too but it isn't enough calcium. We make our own feed so we need to add calcium since we do not add vitamin supplements to our feed. Limestone and oyster shells work well but would like to see if there are other natural options that people have come up with.
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

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    Oyster shell is cheap, and some crushed egg shells can be added too. Mary
     
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  5. Titan Farm

    Titan Farm Chirping

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    Calcium carbonate, most feed mills will carry it and its not that expensive.
     
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  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

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    Since you are already providing oyster shell and crushed egg shells, you likely don't need additional calcium.
    What makes you think you need to add more?
    Of utmost importance for egg shell quality is the ratio of calcium to phosphorus as well as adequate vitamin D3 and magnesium. The ratio of Ca to P needs to be about 10:1. If that ratio is skewed either higher or lower, it can negatively affect shell quality.

    If you mix your own feed and don't add a vitamin/mineral mix, I'm curious what your ingredients are and how do you know they are getting those essential nutrients. What are your protein sources?
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
    Folly's place likes this.
  7. Patinas

    Patinas Songster

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    I'm a big believer that chickens know what they need and when they need it so I go at this with the belief that making sure they always have access to OS is all I need to do. I feed starter/grower year round with OS on the side and my flock lays gorgeous hard shelled eggs.

    I don't want to force the calcium on them so I do not feed any other calcium source other than the OS. There are times they don't need a lot of calcium like when they are molting and if they aren't laying as often such as during the winter which is why I have chosen to not feed layer feed. Lots of folks feed layer feed year round with OS on the side and their flock is just fine so it comes down to personal choice. I just chose the options that make the most sense to me and learning to trust the hens will eat what they need.
     
  8. WindRanch

    WindRanch In the Brooder

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    Question: You said there needs to be a correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus as well as vitamin D3 and magnesium. In looking at the tag from our feed mill, I don't see magnesium on the list. Might there be some other name it goes by?

    I am concerned because we've had a few (only a few) eggs that have super soft shells and one had no shell, only the membrane.

    Also, I'm researching how to improve their (layers) diet. Limestone is something I'm reading about. Everyone keeps referring to Calcium Carbonate and "Limestone". I even read someplace that the limestone at a hardware store is the one to use. Went by today and found "Limestone Type S - Hydrated Lime". Is that the type to feed to chickens? ...or what? Amazing how much info there is on "Limestone"!! Thanks!
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

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    Do you not have access to layer feed or do you not feed it because you have a mixed flock of layers and non-layers?
    Layer feed is already 4% calcium. That is a huge number considering it is a single mineral making up that much of a feedstuff.
    There is likely no magnesium added to the recipe as a supplement because the primary ingredients of grains and legumes already contain sufficient magnesium for the intended animals.
    Limestone is calcium carbonate (CaCO3), egg shells are CaCO3, oyster shell is CaCO3.
    Calcium carbonate is 40% elemental calcium. So, 1,250 mg of calcium carbonate contains 500 mg calcium (Ca).
    Hydrated lime is extracted from limestone and contains calcium oxide, magnesium oxide and chemically combined water. Type S hydrated lime is an ingredient in mortar.
    I would be very hesitant to add limestone in any form if you are already feeding layer feed.
    First of all, calcium is only one of many factors that affect shell quality including disease, stress, temperature, water quality, etc. Diets containing both deficient and excessive levels of calcium can negative affect shell quality.
    Well over a century of exhaustive research into poultry nutrition is contained in that feed bag. When there are problems of any kind, especially egg shell quality, I always recommend going back to basics. Eliminate all other things in the diet other than a chicken feed formulated for your birds. Feed no supplements, treats, scratch or anything other than a complete feed and often, the problems disappear.
     
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  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

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    Egg shell quality is both diet and related to individual factors with the individual hen. Her age, health status, and genetics all matter.
    Mary
     
    WindRanch likes this.

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