Feeding Oyster Shell Freewill?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TurtlePowerTrav, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

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    I am offering oyster shell free will but they don't seem to be consuming it. They put it in their beak and bite down on it and spit it out like a rock. Should I crush it up into smaller pieces like crumble/mash size like their feed? Or will they eventually eat it as normal size pieces? I have 2 pullets that are giving me soft shelled eggs and one giving nice hard shells. Still waiting for the other 3 to lay first eggs. Suggestions please.
     
  2. sparrker

    sparrker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oyster shells are calcium. Chickens need calcium for hard shelled eggs and will only consume them if their bodies tell them they need it. Are you birds free range, do you feed them scraps? Are you feeding them layer feed or still grower. layer has some oyster shells in it. You can try feeding them eggs shells that have been baked/microwaved and the crushed. I know there are other stuff you can feed them like greens that will harden their shells. If I can find it i'll post it.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    A chicken can get calcium through a variety of plants. Yes, Layer formula is already loaded with calcium carbonate. Thus, I'd not be particularly concerned if they are ignoring the oyster shells. If your egg shells are hard enough, I'd rest easy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  4. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've seen it in different grinds. If they have grit available, they can grind up the bigger pieces fine. If they're still "young" in egg laying, it may well take them a while to get the urge for it. Once our small bag of oyster shell is gone, we're going to switch to simply feeding them back their own shells. I save them, dry them out and store them in a bag. When I get a bunch, I throw them in the food processor and grind them up...not to powder, but a bit finer than I can crush them by hand. Calcium recycling at it's best!

    We have to shallow cans attached to the legs of the coop...one with grit and one with oyster shell. We keep them topped off and they take what they need when they need it.
     
  5. sparrker

    sparrker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here are some other good sources of calcium that you may find more to your liking. There are more out there too


    1. Spinach & Swiss Chard
    2. Mustard, Collard, Kale & Turnip greens.
    3. Blackstrap molasses (can cause runny stools)
    4. Corn Tortillas
    5. Basil, thyme, dill seed, cinnamon, and peppermint leaves
    6. Romaine lettuce
    7. Rhubarb
    8. Almonds, Peanuts & Brazil Nuts
    9. Black Beans, Dried Beans (Cooked)
    10. Sesame seeds
    11. Fennel
    12. Cabbage, Bok Choy, & Chinese cabbage
    13. Summer squash
    14. Green beans
    15. Garlic
    16. Tofu & Soybeans
    17. Brussel sprouts & Broccoli
    18. Oranges (Some people do not feed citrus to chickens)
    19. Asparagus & Okra
    20. Crimini mushrooms
    21. Foods Fortified with Calcium: Some Orange Juice, Breads, & Cereals
    22. Dairy products-yogurt, milk, etc
     
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  6. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

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    They have only been laying a week. I think they will start eating the oyster shells I have in a qt feeder. I am not feeding layer feed. I have a really good roo I don't want to possibly develop any kidney issues. I know some feed them layer but I am choosing not to. They are going to stay on start and grow with free choice shell. Also I do free range them during the day. They will get the hang of things. Maybe I will crush up the shell so it is a little more fine. They are about the size of a corn kernal. Thanks everyone.
     
  7. sparrker

    sparrker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So you have 5 hens and two are laying soft shelled eggs, none from the other 3. And your still feeding start and grow so your roo doesn't have kidney problems? I am sure alot of us don't cater to our rooster's. If your really concerned about the rooster then seperate him and feed him the start and grow. Your hens are the one's producing eggs. Even if you need your rooster for fertile eggs for hatching or are eating/selling your eggs you will need hard shelled eggs. Those hens need their calcium.
    Edited to add: Chickens absolutely love cabbage and it is cheap this time of the year. Good source of calcium
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  8. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

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    I have 6 pullets and one roo. They are pets with the benefit of eggs. The have the oyster shell in a feeder in the coop and I have a flock block, which they have been eating on. They are getting the calcium, had 3 eggs in 2 days and none soft shelled. YAY! It would be too expensive to build another enclosure just for my roo. And they have all imprinted on him. And I am raising 3 more chicks to integrate in in the late winter, trying to keep everyone on same feed is just easier than separating according to feed. Like I stated in earlier post they have only been laying for one week now. Everyone has their own way of raising their chickens, this is how I do mine. That is the great thing about this site, is learning what works for each flock. And as long as no one is being neglected or treated badly, there is no real wrong way. [​IMG]
     

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