Do I have to give oyster shell?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by babsh, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. babsh

    babsh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Minnesota
    I haven't yet. They have been laying for about 2 months and the eggs have been fine. Is it already in their layer feed?

    Barb
     
  2. andehens

    andehens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 25, 2008
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    They really need a good source of calcium, especially if they don't free range and eat bug bones and so on. I give mine oyster shell free choice and surprisingly I need to refill their bowl a couple times a month. I bought a large bag from the feed store, its not very expensive and I expect it to last for a year! I've tried cuttle bone, they didn't like that and to buy little bags at the pet shop would get pretty pricey. I don't know if you can buy layer feed with oyster shell else where, here you cannot.
     
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ID/WA border
    Layer feed is about 3% calcium.

    It may not have oyster shells but it does have a substantial amount of calcium for the egg shells.

    The fact that your eggs are not thin-shelled is a very good sign. Making those shells just "drain" the hens of calcium when their feed is inadequate.

    Steve
     
  4. babsh

    babsh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    digitS' :

    Layer feed is about 3% calcium.

    It may not have oyster shells but it does have a substantial amount of calcium for the egg shells.

    The fact that your eggs are not thin-shelled is a very good sign. Making those shells just "drain" the hens of calcium when their feed is inadequate.

    Steve

    So is the 3% enough? Or do I need more?

    Barb​
     
  5. birdsofparadise

    birdsofparadise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 15, 2008
    North Kohala, Hawaii
    An old timer told me to grind our used egg shells finely and then add it back to the layer feed. He said as long as it was fine, he never had any problem with the hens getting a taste for eggs or eggshells and ruining their own product before he could get to them. Is he right? Would you have to boil or cook the shells somehow?
     
  6. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ID/WA border
    Here's what the USDA Board on Agriculture says: If your leghorn-type hen is eating about 120 grams of feed each day, they should have about 2.7% calcium in that feed.

    Calcium needs depend on egg production and how much the birds are eating. One good thing about having oyster shell available is that hens seem very capable in self-regulating their calcium intake. However, unless you have very, very productive egg-layers - a 3% calcium feed should provide all they need.

    Keep in mind that we may dilute the calcium intake by providing "treats" which often don't have the calcium levels sufficient for daily egg production. As an example, cornmeal has only about one-half of 1% calcium. If your laying hens are eating very much corn in scratch, even if their layer feed has 3% calcium, they will quickly become deficient.

    Egg shells back to the hens: Remember, they aren't 100% efficient. You can't give them one egg shell and expect that to be enuf for one egg. I've put them in the oven and dried them - then crumble and serve!

    Steve
     
  7. jjparke

    jjparke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2008
    Boise
    On the flip side of all this, my chickens actually lay quite thick shelled eggs. I can drop them from waist high on the lawn and they don't even crack. Does anyone know if I can somehow dilute their feed to thin the shells out a bit???
     
  8. mareview farm

    mareview farm New Egg

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    I mix a small handful of scratch into the daily feed of layer pellets, will this hurt the calcium absorption? I have a bunch of clam shells that I have smashed up, can i feed instead of oyster shells?
     
  9. FrontPorchIndiana

    FrontPorchIndiana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2008
    Indiana
    It depends on what you're feeding them. My layer feed specifically states that you do not need any other supplements. I don't feed oyster shell and my eggs are so hard you can barely crack them open.
     
  10. babsh

    babsh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Minnesota
    digitS' :

    Here's what the USDA Board on Agriculture says: If your leghorn-type hen is eating about 120 grams of feed each day, they should have about 2.7% calcium in that feed.

    Calcium needs depend on egg production and how much the birds are eating. One good thing about having oyster shell available is that hens seem very capable in self-regulating their calcium intake. However, unless you have very, very productive egg-layers - a 3% calcium feed should provide all they need.

    Keep in mind that we may dilute the calcium intake by providing "treats" which often don't have the calcium levels sufficient for daily egg production. As an example, cornmeal has only about one-half of 1% calcium. If your laying hens are eating very much corn in scratch, even if their layer feed has 3% calcium, they will quickly become deficient.

    Egg shells back to the hens: Remember, they aren't 100% efficient. You can't give them one egg shell and expect that to be enuf for one egg. I've put them in the oven and dried them - then crumble and serve!

    Steve

    Thanks! This was helpful. It sounds like mine are probably getting enough in their feed. I do give them their egg shells, so that might be just the little bit extra to compensate for treats.

    Barb​
     

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