feed ingredients

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by misterhandsome, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. misterhandsome

    misterhandsome In the Brooder

    Jul 3, 2011
    Kemptville, Ontario
    I've read a lot on the egg laying page about eggs with soft shells and the need to feed calcium to laying hens, especially if they're on grower feed. Two of my girls are laying but the other four are not so they're all on grower. I have no problems at all with soft shells.

    So that got me to wondering if maybe the ingredients that go in feed are different between Canada and the US. I'm pretty sure all animal feed is regulated in Canada, but don't know if that's the case in the US. Then I got to thinking if it has to do with breed....maybe some purebred birds have a gene the predisposes them to soft shells. Though I was told the two that are laying are EEs, I'm pretty sure they're heinz 57.

    So...my question is are there differences in feed ingredients between Canada and the US that might account for shell softness?

  2. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Quote:No, not really.

    Regardless of the advice here where almost every shell problem is blamed on lack of calcium, shell-less eggs are usually the result of other causes. Sometimes the egg doesn't spend enough time in the shell gland, either the hen laid the egg early for some reason (stress or disturbances), or a previous egg was retained for too long allowing the next less time in the shell gland. Some birds can have defective shell glands, and yes, some breeds, or lines, can be predisposed to certain shell problems.

    Young hens generally don't have problems with thin shells or other shell problems caused by lack of calcium. Calcium for shell generation is taken from what the hen eats (what is in the gizzard at the night when the shell is being formed) and from the hen's own bones. Her bones will act as a reservoir for calcium until it can be replaced. Birds that free range also pick up calcium from plants and minerals in the earth, especially limestone, but if you do not give adequate calcium with the feed though (typically around 5% or the ration) the hens may eventually deplete their own calcium reserves.
  3. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    I had somebody PM me and ask for further info which is worth repeating here:

    http://www.isapoultry.com/en/Inform...tock/Oviposition times and shell quality.ashx

    From the above article:

    A reminder of Shell Formation

    During shell formation the bird first uses the calcium contained in the digestive tract, it is
    dissolved by abundant secretion of Hydrochloric acid. When the quantity of calcium is
    insufficient, the bone reserves are used (the calcium is deposited and the phosphorus
    eliminated by the kidneys). It has been demonstrated many times that birds which are forced to
    use their bone reserves, produce eggs of poorer shell quality.
    Shell quality depends on the quantity of calcium remaining in the gizzard at lights on for
    brown and the ability for white birds to access to soluble form of calcium after lights on.

    How to improve shell quality

    All methods that help to increase the quantity of calcium stocked in the gizzard have a positive
    effect on shell quality (strength and colour) and help to ingest a soluble form of calcium after
    lights on.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2011
  4. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Fresh dandelions are a good source of calcium. Once for ounce, they are richer in calcium than milk. I am sure it is digestible and very available to use in shell formation. and they should be in abundance on most peoples lawns and property. i never use chemicals on the lawn and they provide a large supply of dandelions. In fact. I am trying to cultivate them.

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