Do I NEED crushed oyster shell?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Nebraskagirl, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Nebraskagirl

    Nebraskagirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    449
    22
    108
    Jul 12, 2012
    Our female just started laying for the first time ever. Her shells on her eggs are nice and hard. I have never used oyster shell as a supplement and I give them flock feed not layer feed. Should I use oyster shell anyway or wait?
     
  2. ducklover87

    ducklover87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,166
    42
    141
    Aug 7, 2012
    I've never used oyster shell with my ducks and there egg shells are very hard and sometimes really hard to break. But I also use a layer feed with mine. Do they ever break when she lays them? If there isn't any cracks or breaks in them I don't think you'd need to use the oyster shell.
     
  3. Nebraskagirl

    Nebraskagirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    449
    22
    108
    Jul 12, 2012
    So far she has laid two eggs ever and both appear to be nice and firm, even the very first egg was firm with no breaks. Maybe I should switch to layer feed? Or just keep doing what I am doing? This is so confusing......
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,584
    6,671
    721
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I put out Oyster shell and i use an all flock feed too, but if your duck needs calcium to make her egg shells and she isn't getting it form feed and forage then it will come out of her bones, which i don't think is a good thing, oyster shell is inexpensive and goes a long way, I just put it in a separate bowl and they use it as needed.
     
  5. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,735
    117
    188
    Nov 16, 2012
    I guess it is one of those things...it can help, and it usually won't hurt. Broccoli has a lot of calcium...you could give egg shells, or other calcium laden veggies and such, and then if you start to see thin eggs then start giving the calcium...or get a little and just sprinkle some on the food. I think it's very possible that these animals don't need all the calcium we give them...then again chickens and such today lay way more eggs than they used to.
     
  6. greatblueheron

    greatblueheron Out Of The Brooder

    25
    1
    24
    Sep 30, 2012
    I'm not an expert but what I've been told is that if you use a good layer feed that should suffice. I would use the hardness of your eggs as an indicator. I've also heard if you do feed oyster shell to not mix in their feed. Not sure why that is. Thanks for asking this question because I've been curious what other folks do as well.
     
  7. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,735
    117
    188
    Nov 16, 2012
    I also like the idea of getting a back of all flock, and a bag of layer pellets and mixing them...that way they get the extra protein, and but also the extra calcium...I think that will be my next feeding trial. The 2 mixed. I like the size of the eggs when the chickens are getting higher protein, but I don't like worrying about whether they are getting enough calcium...
     
  8. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,215
    143
    243
    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Oyster shell is pretty cheap. I think I paid $8 for a 50lb bag. It can't hurt. I have a big variety in ages in my birds, youngest is 1 day oldest almost 1 year so for me it is easier to provide oyster shell on the side than have to seperate everyone for feeding. Young ducks/chickens can't eat layer as it's bad for them so I am now feeding starter to everyone (its the only other thing available here) and they have a bowl of oyster shells. I also give rinsed, crushed egg shells. They all prefer the egg shells but they go fast. The way I look at it is I'd rather have it than have to deal with problems that can result in soft shelled egg laying.
     
  9. ducklover87

    ducklover87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,166
    42
    141
    Aug 7, 2012
    Ya I know what you mean when mine first started laying I had the same questions. I have Pekins and ive been getting an egg a day from my females since they've started laying and have had no problems with cracks or breaks except when I drop them [​IMG] then it's a horrible mess to clean up. I'd say just judge by the eggs you get or if you find that your still not sure maybe buy a bag and see if that changes the eggs or anything and if you see no difference then I'd say you don't need it.
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,584
    6,671
    721
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    They thing is they are not going to eat more than they need, The oyster shell /grit container is no where near the feed bowls and i see my girls randomly going over an eating of it. If you wait till you see thin shells then what is her body doing? I really don't think it is wise to wait. I just started mixing my feed half layer half all flock and i am still seeing my girls eating OS, but I won't go to all layer because I have drakes/gander and roosters and don't think they need the extra calcium. And they can get calcium in other veggies but we don't know if it is enough to keep their bones healthy, I buy kale romaine lettuce and collards for my flock for the extra calcium and still see them eating the OS. just my 2 cents.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by