Egg shell hardness, diet, minerals?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Gypsi, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have noted that when the sand in my run disappears under scratched up dirt and the inevitable bird waste, the egg shells seem to get soft, so I can break an egg just in a gentle bump while carrying it in the house.
    It is more obvious if I offer oatmeal as a snack - so one of their favorite treats has disappeared, maybe to return if I find a calcium supplement (could I crush up my calcium citrate w d3 and magnesium and add it to oatmeal or water?). One egg laid the day after an oatmeal treat had no shell at all, just the inner membrane.

    I never supplemented calcium in the beginning, didn't need to, I feed Layena, the eggs were good with good hard shells, and as long as they only eat Layena, and the run has fresh sand, the egg shells are solid. But hens do like treats, I don't eat or buy dairy usually.

    I've been in such an egg dearth due to heat and I'm assuming imminent molt, that I bought eggs at the store last week for the first time in a year. And those shells are definitely harder than my hens. But then those would be the eggs that survived machine handling, hmmm...

    I offer swiss chard when I have it, broccoli when I have it. Romaine lettuce when I have it. (drought has nailed these in the garden), all have some calcium in them. They are presently having leftovers and melon for snacks, plus whatever bugs they catch free ranging. Today they got leftover roast chicken, torn in little bits, because I had about 3/4 of a cup of it, and they need extra protein if they are to lay eggs at all.

    Any tips? Or should I go buy some of those bird calcium blocks for them to peck on?
  2. wolftracks

    wolftracks Spam Hunter

    Nov 6, 2009
    Do you offer oyster shell at all?

    I usually have some here, but they hadn't touched it in a long time, so I stopped. Shells started getting supper soft here too, so I started them on it again and the shells are back to normal.
  3. pippsqueak

    pippsqueak Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 20, 2011
    Grants Pass
    My hens just started laying and I expected the shells to be soft or none at all but, they seem to be fine. I have been mixing crushed granite/ oyster shells into their feed to ensure they are thick shelled. I also have decomposed granite in their run which they scratch and eat. I do think that the oyster shells should be enough but, I think I read somewhere that too much treats can make the shells soft so they need to eat more feed and less treats. Maybe that might be you issue too? Hope this helps.
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Here are some other foods with calcium

    1. Spinach & Swiss Chard
    2. Salmon & Sardines (canned with bones)
    3. Mustard, Collard, Kale & Turnip greens
    4. Shellfish
    5. Blackstrap molasses (can cause runny stools)
    6. Corn Tortillas
    7. Yogurt
    8. Mozzarella & Cheddar cheese
    9. Milk, Buttermilk (goat's milk and cow's milk)
    10. Basil, thyme, dill seed, cinnamon, and peppermint leaves
    11. Romaine lettuce
    12. Rhubarb
    13. Almonds, Peanuts & Brazil Nuts
    14. Black Beans, Dried Beans (Cooked)
    15. Sesame seeds
    16. Fennel
    17. Cabbage, Bok Choy, & Chinese cabbage
    18. Summer squash
    19. Green beans
    20. Garlic
    21. Tofu & Soybeans
    22. Brussel sprouts & Broccoli
    23. Oranges (Some people do not feed citrus to chickens)
    24. Asparagus & Okra
    25. Crimini mushrooms
    26. Foods Fortified with Calcium: Some Orange Juice, Breads, & Cereals
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you offer oyster shell at all?

    No - the feed store told me my feed had what they would need. Do I want an oyster shell block, or liquid to add to their water?​
  6. pippsqueak

    pippsqueak Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 20, 2011
    Grants Pass
    Oyster shells come in a bag just like the grit. It should be on the same aisle as the feed is on.
  7. thekid

    thekid Chillin' With My Peeps

    get oyster shell call tsc they have it pretty cheap for a 50lb bag
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Whenever our egg shells get a little too thin for my comfort, I know two things. 1. They've been fed too many scraps and it is displacing enough of their layer feed to make a difference. 2. I have never had to buy oyster shell yet, although I'm not opposed to doing so. I just feed them back their egg shells and within two day, their shells are back to being rock hard. If I felt I didn't have enough egg shells, I'd go buy some oyster shell.
  9. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 28, 2011
    Oyster shell is awesome! My girls love it and their shells are super strong!
  10. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have tried cleaning and feeding back eggshells at times, with some success, but it would be easier to use a supplement I didn't need to clean first. And I made the mistake of capping the bottle of washed and crumbled eggshells. I don't think my hens will eat anything that smells that bad. Going to get a little oyster shell. I don't have that many hens.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by