Hens not eating oyster shell

Jenjens

Songster
Jun 5, 2019
199
278
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IL
Hello!

I don't know what to do. I have 4 hens and 1 rooster. I stopped the layer feed (they are only 1 years old) and switched to an all flock because I love my rooster dearly and don't want to harm his kidneys. The problem is, they won't touch the oyster shell. I have offered it to them many different ways, but they won't eat it. They do love eggshells but I only have 4 hens so they don't get that much, and it is just not enough. I am getting very thin shelled eggs, barely a shell eggs, and they are breaking them when they go into to lay. I also have been finding messes on the floor in the morning that is orange.

Does anyone have any tricks to get them to eat it? I have put it in their food, threw it with their scratch and now have it mixed with some grit in a container in their coop. They don't touch the grit either, but we have a sandy backyard so there is also little rocks that I assume they eat.

I have decided to buy laying crumbled again and do half and half with the all flock. I am also fermenting but keep dry food in their coop as well.

Has anyone tried this and do you think it will be okay for my big boy?

Thanks!
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
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This problem has never come up here!
I do have only one brown Leghorn hen, who was laying thin shelled eggs, and when I moved the oyster shell feeder from the back of my coop to a spot right next to the door to outside, her shells improved. Apparently she didn't go back there often enough to get adequate oyster shell for her needs.
Feeding egg shells can't make up for their need for calcium, so true. They may need the oyster shell even if eating layer feed exclusively anyway.
I can't imagine a 'bad batch' of oyster shell, but maybe? Could your bag have something growing on it? Seems far fetched, but try another bag, and return that one.
Obviously they need layer feed if they won't eat their extra calcium supplement, but it's very strange.
Try putting it in a new location and a different feeder, and a new bag of oyster shell.
Your rooster will have to cope, but it seems so odd to me too.
Mary
 
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Jenjens

Songster
Jun 5, 2019
199
278
133
IL
That is a marvelous idea of moving it outside by the coop entrance. I do that now at night so the birds eat their dinner before bed time. I will give that a try and see how it goes. I think having it there all day so they can see it might help.

Thank you!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Jul 3, 2016
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I have decided to buy laying crumbled again and do half and half with the all flock. I am also fermenting but keep dry food in their coop as well.

I think this is a pretty good compromise, yes there's still higher level of calcium but less than if it was only layer feed.

Other thing you can try is to isolate the roo at breakfast time, then add some oyster shell on the fermented feed, like 1-2x a week. Once most of the shell has been eaten the rooster can come back out. I do mini bowls of ferment like that for birds that have shell problems that won't eat the oyster shell and it works pretty well.
 

texsuze

Songster
8 Years
Dec 17, 2012
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Texas Hill Country
I would get a new bag of oyster shells and put some in a small bowl (that won't tip over) somewhere near their food. Continue to use the crushed eggshells (I zap them in the microwave for a minute, then crunch them into various size bits) and add them to the oyster shell bowl. My girls seek out the oyster shell/eggshell supplement. I, too, use Flock Raiser due to the age and laying differences of my flock of 6 hens.
 

Jenjens

Songster
Jun 5, 2019
199
278
133
IL
Hi texsuze. I have tried that and they didn't seem to even want the eggshells after it was "tainted" them with the oyster. What are wrong with my girls?

Update: They still won't touch the stuff. Had another cracked egg due to weak shells. I am going to try to add a little more layer and see if I can make a perfect mix. Thanks again everyone
 

humblehillsfarm

Crowing
Mar 27, 2020
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My hens won't eat free choice oyster shells either, despite folks on here stating to me in one thread that it was unlikely. I recently switched all of mine over to grower feed but had saved years worth of egg shells and they love those. I have isolated my roo and chicks and threw a small handful of oyster shells in with a bowl of feed and some of it was eaten by doing that, but when I through it out with scratch grain they didn't eat it.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,801
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WA, Pac NW
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My hens won't eat free choice oyster shells either, despite folks on here stating to me in one thread that it was unlikely. I recently switched all of mine over to grower feed but had saved years worth of egg shells and they love those. I have isolated my roo and chicks and threw a small handful of oyster shells in with a bowl of feed and some of it was eaten by doing that, but when I through it out with scratch grain they didn't eat it.

I think some are always happy to eat it, and other birds don't ever want it, no siree. If most of your hens aren't eating it but need it, yes putting some in just the hen's feed should work pretty well to ensure they eat at least some of it.
 

Jenjens

Songster
Jun 5, 2019
199
278
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IL
Well now things are getting weird. They aren't interested in eggshells anymore either. they would chow down on eggshelIs before. I don't know what to do! They are laying soff shelledeggs on the coop floor now and I am pretty sure they are eating their eggs or its getting soaked up by the bedding. They also sleep on a shelf (their preference) and I keep finding messes up there as well. What about supplements? Anyone?
 

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