Chowing Down On Oyster Shell

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Oregon Blues, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    5,532
    183
    273
    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Just a heads up. My ducks are powering down the oyster shell.

    They need it. They are laying a lot of huge, hard shelled eggs for me.

    This time of year, keep an eye on that dish of oyster shell and make sure you keep it topped off. They must have calcium in to put all that calcium out.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,979
    1,950
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Good reminder! I keep one in the night pen and one in the day pen, sometimes one in the garden if they will be there for a while.

    Oh, and I toss peas into the oyster shell bucket to be sure at least some of the ducks are getting some. Does it seem that some of your ducks help themselves to the shell more often than do others?
     
  3. OldGuy43

    OldGuy43 Chillin' With My Peeps

    On this topic with your permission, a question; Does it do any good to get ahead of the game with oyster shell? Is there any reason not to start early?
     
  4. wildpeas

    wildpeas Chillin' With My Peeps

    560
    13
    123
    Mar 18, 2012
    Port Orchard, Wa
    Another question on this topic: If you feed a layer pellet do you feed oyster shells in addition?
     
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    5,532
    183
    273
    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    I keep oyster shell out 365 days a year. They will eat it if they need it and ignore it if they don't need it.

    Amiga, I don't know who is eating it or if some eat more oyster shell than others. I just keep filling the dish. If there is always oyster shell, then anyone who wants it can have it. I've never seen the drakes eat it, but I suppose they might when I am not looking.

    A couple of weeks after egg laying started we went from 1 dish of shell every month to 1 dish of shell every day.

    I do have one Appleyard who will stand by my feet and dig into the oyster shell as soon as I put fresh out, but that is the same girl that follows me into the coop so she can get all the cat food as soon as I fill the feeders. First bird gets all the goodies.
     
  6. wildpeas

    wildpeas Chillin' With My Peeps

    560
    13
    123
    Mar 18, 2012
    Port Orchard, Wa
    Thanks!
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,979
    1,950
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks recommends starting with extra calcium about a month before they start laying. When I first read that, I felt dumb, wondering how I was supposed to know when that might be.

    I made a lucky guess, though, when the girls started playing "hop on top" that they were gearing up for reproduction, so that's when I started putting out the oyster shell. Once the first egg was laid, I started them on layer ration as well.

    I give the ducks layer ration plus oyster shell free choice. It seems to work out well. As I may have mentioned, there were some soft shells last summer and fall, but I hope that the weeks-long rest the runners have been taking will clear that up.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by