Hens won't eat oyster shell, How to feed it?

thepick4uchicks

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May 23, 2020
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Also are you sure that they are not eating out of the ducks bowl?
You know they all like to use the same bowls. It’s either a favorites or a Monkey see monkey do thing with birds. I have trouble with mine even correcting food bullying and adding more feeders to prevent it and they still all want to eat from the same spot instead of spreading out and everyone going to different ones and having plenty they hoard around a particular one. I just don’t get the dummies sometimes.
 

Weeg

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Jul 1, 2020
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Also are you sure that they are not eating out of the ducks bowl?
My ducks and chickens have been separated since one of the Mallards when broody about 2 months ago. They would go in and mess withe momma while she was sitting. Should I be feeding all flock? We get our feed form the Local CHS and I can do further research there to see if they have a quality all flock. Thanks for the info, Avery
 

thepick4uchicks

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I used to feed a layer feed, but switched because it didn't have enough protein. SO now I feed scratch and peck flock starter, because it has 20% protein. The scratch and peck labels to be able to feed it to adult birds too. About half of my hens are 2 years old, the others the don't lay, are around 6-8 years old, because we have had survivors form previous flocks that got killed by predators. Could the thin shell be form age?
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Well all I can tell you is that according to what research and expert recommends when I looked at the bag it met the protein requirements. I’m not feeding it yet because my pullets aren’t laying yet but I will be because I feed Nutrena. Mine are still in grower feed. I feed a mix of Scratch and Peck right now with Nutrena because I had some starter grower left over from S&P and they love it so much that I just used it to transition to the Nutrena brand. It has really worked great. Nutrena is easier for me to get. That is locally when I run out. S&P I have to order from Chewy or Amazon and it’s just too expensive and I would rather support my local guy anyway. They are so helpful for Vet needs that I try to give him all the business I can instead of TSC etc. it just makes sense and he is only about four miles or less up the road from my house.
 

21hens-incharge

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I used to feed a layer feed, but switched because it didn't have enough protein. SO now I feed scratch and peck flock starter, because it has 20% protein. The scratch and peck labels to be able to feed it to adult birds too. About half of my hens are 2 years old, the others the don't lay, are around 6-8 years old, because we have had survivors form previous flocks that got killed by predators. Could the thin shell be form age?
Yes it could be the older birds laying thin shelled eggs.

Do check with your feed store about Pacific Pearl brand oyster shell. I swear by it.
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
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the hens OS doesn't even look touched. We have also been getting some really weak eggs, they broke in our hand when we are washing them. How do I get them to eat the calcium?
I agree it sounds like they are not eating enough oyster shell.

When you eat eggs, do you give the shells back to the hens to eat?
If you do not, you might try it--the shells of their own eggs will not be enough total calcium, but might help a little.

If you do feed eggshells and they eat them up, then maybe try sprinkling a pinch of oyster shell at the same time, to help them figure out what that stuff is good for.

Maybe put another dish of oyster shell in a different place, in case they're just overlooking the one. Sometimes a "new" thing will get their attention.
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
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Thin shells can be a result of older birds, if some of those are still laying.

You can try sprinkling a little feed or scratch onto the oyster shells to get them interested in the container, or conversely a little oyster on their feed for a day or two (it's a small amount so should be fine) to get them to try it out that way. Or some folks have had luck sprinkling it on the ground, with or without treats, to get them interested.
 

thepick4uchicks

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May 23, 2020
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My ducks and chickens have been separated since one of the Mallards when broody about 2 months ago. They would go in and mess withe momma while she was sitting. Should I be feeding all flock? We get our feed form the Local CHS and I can do further research there to see if they have a quality all flock. Thanks for the info, Avery
You mentioned that you used to put it in with their feed before and stopped because of a concern. My girls pick through their feed anyway. They are always going to do that to get what they want or need. I don’t see what it would hurt yours to go back to that practice if it was working and you were getting good egg shells that way.
 

BigBlueHen53

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Mar 5, 2019
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I did not see your answer when someone asked if the chickens could be eating the OS you feed to the ducks? The thin shelled egg could be from an older hen, or could be from a hen that just does not absorb calcium or use it efficiently, regardless of age. I had a pullet that laid thin-shelled eggs and had eggs with other issues. Those issues did not resolve over time, sadly. Fortunately I was able to determine which hen it was and removed her from the flock. Sometimes my girls gobble OS like it's candy, other times they hardly touch it. I guess they know what they need. I feed an all-flock formula since I have roosters, a few retired hens, and sometimes non-laying pullets or cockerels. It's just simpler. And maybe I'm lazy, lol. 😏
 

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