Ducks won't eat oyster shells and the eggs are getting thin

TheMauveDuck

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2016
115
12
46
My two year old Pekin ducks refuse to eat their oyster shells. The shells are fairly new to their diet because they had strong rock hard eggs in the past but after one became egg bound we started feeding them small dishes of their egg shells. They ate some of them but we never worried because their eggs were still healthy. A week or two ago we started noticing their egg shells were getting thinner then usual, so we bought some oyster shells. I know-we should've bought them a long time ago. Anyways I've been putting out separate dishes of oyster shell and the girls won't even touch it. They'll put their beaks in it and dig around but then dismiss them as rocks and leave. At some point they get tipped over anyways. Their eggs are getting thin to the point that when they're laid they dent from the floor. They really need to eat them but I don't know how to give it to them in a way that won't make the boys want to eat it too.
 

sallysinnamon

Songster
9 Years
Dec 4, 2010
85
28
116
south eastern
I've mixed some with the food before to make sure they ingested some. Could you try that? Not a half and half ratio but enough that when you look at the food you can see oyster shell here and there?
 

TheMauveDuck

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2016
115
12
46
At this point I'll try anything, but I worry that the drakes might eat some too and the girls have a habit of inhaling their food. I might try putting eggshells and the oyster shells together, that's what we are going to do with the chickens if they don't eat them because they gobbled down their egg shells, to bad the ducks can't take some notes from our hens.
 

quackingdom

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 10, 2015
637
518
252
I don't think it's a problem for the drakes to have some, but maybe I'm wrong. However, you could separate them during feeding if necessary. I just feed my ducks crushed eggshells instead of oyster shell. Sometimes they eat it, sometimes they don't. Usually only the girls who are laying will eat it.

Maybe they just need to get used to it. Every time we introduce new foods, our ducks shy away, or the bold ones taste it and spit it out.
 

TheMauveDuck

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2016
115
12
46
Thanks for your help
big_smile.png
the drakes were eating the shells yesterday lol we're half way there
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
11 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,221
2,832
551
Southern New England
I get calcium citrate tablets and crush them up, and if there are soft shells, 80 to 100 mg extra calcium in treats (like peas) daily for several days. If I know who is laying the soft eggs, I may give her more like 125 for a few days. I suspect that such a short period of time, even if the drakes get some, ought not to affect them negatively. I have talked to a couple of vets about it and they did not indicate that I should get too panicky about the occasional boost of calcium for every adult in the flock.
 

Duck Drover

Songster
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
1,427
189
169
Washington
I agree that if your flock is so calcium deficient your drakes will not get too overloaded with a temporary calcium boost. It is something that results in long term damage, usually from feeding a layer pellet to drakes. It certainly won't have any short term effects so they should be able to cope with the extra calcium for a short time to get your hens in better condition as you work on getting them a supplemental source of calcium that they will use as needed. Just be mindful that the drakes could have trouble if you were to feed them a layer pellet or too much calcium from another source long term.
 

Rugerman

Chirping
Oct 28, 2017
23
14
54
My two year old Pekin ducks refuse to eat their oyster shells. The shells are fairly new to their diet because they had strong rock hard eggs in the past but after one became egg bound we started feeding them small dishes of their egg shells. They ate some of them but we never worried because their eggs were still healthy. A week or two ago we started noticing their egg shells were getting thinner then usual, so we bought some oyster shells. I know-we should've bought them a long time ago. Anyways I've been putting out separate dishes of oyster shell and the girls won't even touch it. They'll put their beaks in it and dig around but then dismiss them as rocks and leave. At some point they get tipped over anyways. Their eggs are getting thin to the point that when they're laid they dent from the floor. They really need to eat them but I don't know how to give it to them in a way that won't make the boys want to eat it too.
My ducks shells were getting soft too. I put out oyster shells in a pan also mixed with their food. I also give them 1/2 cup of mealworms and dry puppy food. We throw in the pond. Which they love! Both are high in protein and calcium. It seems like the shells are getting better.
 

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