Grit for ducks. Can any sea shell do?

Oct 21, 2020
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Hi guys I have a question. Recently I've searched for calcium sources. I've been using egg shells, clam shells, oyster shells. But I still think I don't have a reliable source. I when to the beach today and found a ton of sea snail shells. Ive brought them home and am wondering if I can crush them and feed it as grit to the ducks. Any suggestions are appreciated.🐚
 

KaleIAm

Free Ranging
6 Years
Jul 13, 2015
3,215
9,375
701
Carnation, Wa
"Grit is insoluble. It stays in the gizzard and it's used to grind food. Oyster shell dissolves in the gut. Its job is not to do with digestion - it's to add calcium to the diet of laying hens."

Why do you feel that you do not have a reliable source of calcium?

I am unaware if you can use sea snail shells particularly, but I would not even if they were an appropriate source of calcium. My fear would be contamination. Unless you were able to autoclave these shells. My ducks got sick from playing in water wild ducks were in. So I'm very careful.
 
Oct 21, 2020
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Here where I live ground-up oyster shells are hard to come by. And 5 times the average price in the states. I have been hand grinding clamshells for the ducks, although the clamshells have been baking in the sun for a few months so I guess they're sterilized. Could I boil the sea snail shells?. Their huge, the size of large clams. I'll get some extra grit for the ducks now. They free range so they probably have some grit. I´ll put a photo of the sea-snail-shell later so you guys can see if it's worthy of duck consumption.
Also, I say I don't have enough calcium is because every time I put the ground clamshells or any other source of calcium the ducks gobble it up so quickly that nothing is left after a few seconds. Also, some ducks eat soo much that others don't get any. I have been having some softshells so I don't prevent the ducks from eating it. So I guess I need more calcium.
 

davez

Chirping
May 19, 2018
50
93
93
Illinois
I would pIck up some ground limestone road mix - very cheap and can be used for grit and a source of calcium. (Not the best - but it will supply some calcium, too.) Or brick leveling sand for grit - super cheap and good grit source.
 
Oct 21, 2020
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50
68
Hmm. I heard somewhere that it is really unreliable because some brands have additives that are very harmful to the health of birds. And also heavy metals.
 

davez

Chirping
May 19, 2018
50
93
93
Illinois
That could be possible - but It wouldn't be by design. Wild birds pick up whatever they can get a hold of and that would include road gravel. No one would want to poison them. Also, I'm not talking about a package you get out of your local home improvement store - I'm talking about going to a gravel yard or landscaping wholesaler and having them fill a 5 gallon bucket. I don't think you would find any additives in that material.
 

Ratchnick

Crowing
Oct 13, 2019
2,217
2,501
278
Anchorage Alaska
Oysters come from the sea. To my knowledge snail shells are also calcium carbonate. If you can't get calcium your idea is good. I would crush them to the size if a pea and boil for 10 minuets. I don't think there is high risk of disease transfer but you never know, plus a short bath in hot water will help remove any contaminates. (Some places are very polouted)

P.s. dead coral skeletons also work, so does crushed limestone.
 

KaleIAm

Free Ranging
6 Years
Jul 13, 2015
3,215
9,375
701
Carnation, Wa
Here where I live ground-up oyster shells are hard to come by. And 5 times the average price in the states. I have been hand grinding clamshells for the ducks, although the clamshells have been baking in the sun for a few months so I guess they're sterilized. Could I boil the sea snail shells?. Their huge, the size of large clams. I'll get some extra grit for the ducks now. They free range so they probably have some grit. I´ll put a photo of the sea-snail-shell later so you guys can see if it's worthy of duck consumption.
Also, I say I don't have enough calcium is because every time I put the ground clamshells or any other source of calcium the ducks gobble it up so quickly that nothing is left after a few seconds. Also, some ducks eat soo much that others don't get any. I have been having some softshells so I don't prevent the ducks from eating it. So I guess I need more calcium.
Thanks for the clarification, not living in the States and oyster shells being harder to come by. Your ducks behavior, and soft shells, seem to indicate that they need the calcium as well. Are they on a layer diet?

I'm unaware if boiling is enough to kill all dangerous pathogens on sea shells. It wouldn't surprise me if some could survive. Now I'm curious what sterilization procedure the oyster shell companies uses before selling it to us, and if it is to the standard I would expect it to be! Eek!
 

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