How do you serve your Oyster shell?

Nariah01

Songster
Apr 17, 2016
108
761
196
I am a new chicken parent and am trying to figure out the best way to give my new girls their Oyster shell. Should I mix it with their Grit or serve it by itself? Also how will they know to eat it? I am just trying to figure this all out as they are my first chickens. I currently give them a flock raiser type feed because I prefer the higher protein then what can be found in layer pellets. And I wanted to start giving my girls the extra calcium from the Oyster shell as I have a few that are about to start laying. Any and all help is appreciated!
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
Jul 26, 2016
4,910
8,713
561
Connecticut, USA
I am a new chicken parent and am trying to figure out the best way to give my new girls their Oyster shell.  Should I mix it with their Grit or serve it by itself?  Also how will they know to eat it?  I am just trying to figure this all out as they are my first chickens.  I currently give them a flock raiser type feed because I prefer the higher protein then what can be found in layer pellets.  And I wanted to start giving my girls the extra calcium from the Oyster shell as I have a few that are about to start laying.  Any and all help is appreciated!
On the bag of oyster shell, It says to mix 1 pound of shell to 20 pounds of feed. I would also serve in a container near the feed, especially if they free range. Because they eat a lot less feed when they free range.
I feed a layers feed and serve on oyster shell on the side free choice. GC
 

Dmontgomery

Songster
Apr 1, 2014
839
597
222
Longville, La
I put the oyster shell in a seperate container next to the feed and water. I don't mix it in with the feed. They take what they want, when they want it. I have a mixed age flock that free range up to 12 hours a day. They come and go in the coop/run area to pick at the feed throughout the day.
 

BuffOrpington88

Songster
Mar 20, 2012
1,395
217
236
Hi! I just put it in a small hanging feeder like this one that is available to them all the time. When I used to feed grit, it would go in a container separate from the oyster shell. They will eat what they need when they need it. Good luck!
smile.png
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,551
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I'd always just put in a separate container. They took what they needed. I feed my mixed flock (roosters, chicks, pullets who aren't laying yet and layers) All Flock or Starter/grower so I don't have to mess with separate foods for separate groups. They eat whatever they want anyway and it would be a losing battle to keep the chicks out of the layer feed, etc. So having that separate oyster shell was the best way to make sure every chicken got what they needed. Sure, the roos and the chicks would sometimes peck at the oyster shell, but it was more curiosity than hunger so they didn't eat it like the layers did.

Recently I noticed their oyster shell feeder was getting low. I have a can that I dump the oyster shell into so I can just get it out by the scoop, but it was low too...oh oh! So I went out and bought another bag, and I plopped it on a log out by the run until I could get it into the can. I also promptly forgot I did that - must have walked past that bag a hunnert 'n' eleventy times gathering eggs and letting the chickens out to free range, but for some stupid reason never got around to dumping it into the can. I noticed last night that the chickens had pecked a hole in the bottom side of the bag and the ground around the log had shell scattered all around. I also noticed that the girls were quite happily going over to pick up a little here and there. So what the heck? If I don't need to mess with all that lifting and dumping and transferring, I ain't gonna!! So now the oyster shell will just stay sitting on a log where they can help themselves. The hole is at the bottom side of the bag, so it should self-feed very well. Yep, I'm lazy. Yep, they're used to it. And yep, left to their own devices they can take care of their own needs pretty well!
lau.gif
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
Jul 26, 2016
4,910
8,713
561
Connecticut, USA
Yea I forgot to mention, keep the oyster shell and granite grit separate. The oyster shell will dissolve in the digestive tract in a day or two. The granite grit could last many days. I keep the oyster shell near the feed, and the granite grit under the raised coop. Easier for hens to remember which is which? In my opinion.
400
GC
400
Oh yea the 1.3 quart pails are about $3.00 at TSC
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
Jul 26, 2016
4,910
8,713
561
Connecticut, USA
Yea I forgot to mention, keep the oyster shell and granite grit separate. The oyster shell will dissolve in the digestive tract in a day or two. The granite grit could last many days. I keep the oyster shell near the feed, and the granite grit under the raised coop. Easier for hens to remember which is which? In my opinion.
400
GC
400
Oh yea the 1.3 quart pails are about $3.00 at TSC
I drill a couple of oblong holes 1/64" in the bottom to drain moisture. GC
 

GabbyFringette

In the Brooder
Mar 28, 2016
12
0
22
I just crush mine up (I use a mortar and pestle but you can probably use any grinding method) then I mix it into the scratch and soak it. My birds love their food wet!
 

Nariah01

Songster
Apr 17, 2016
108
761
196
I drill a couple of oblong holes 1/64" in the bottom to drain moisture. GC

Thank you for all the help, I'll have to look into those pails you have next time I go to the feed store. Right now I have it in a little two tiered bowl because it was all I had at the time. But It also makes sense putting the grit and shell separate and in different places. I will give it a try!
 

Nariah01

Songster
Apr 17, 2016
108
761
196
I'd always just put in a separate container. They took what they needed. I feed my mixed flock (roosters, chicks, pullets who aren't laying yet and layers) All Flock or Starter/grower so I don't have to mess with separate foods for separate groups. They eat whatever they want anyway and it would be a losing battle to keep the chicks out of the layer feed, etc. So having that separate oyster shell was the best way to make sure every chicken got what they needed. Sure, the roos and the chicks would sometimes peck at the oyster shell, but it was more curiosity than hunger so they didn't eat it like the layers did.

Recently I noticed their oyster shell feeder was getting low. I have a can that I dump the oyster shell into so I can just get it out by the scoop, but it was low too...oh oh! So I went out and bought another bag, and I plopped it on a log out by the run until I could get it into the can. I also promptly forgot I did that - must have walked past that bag a hunnert 'n' eleventy times gathering eggs and letting the chickens out to free range, but for some stupid reason never got around to dumping it into the can. I noticed last night that the chickens had pecked a hole in the bottom side of the bag and the ground around the log had shell scattered all around. I also noticed that the girls were quite happily going over to pick up a little here and there. So what the heck? If I don't need to mess with all that lifting and dumping and transferring, I ain't gonna!! So now the oyster shell will just stay sitting on a log where they can help themselves. The hole is at the bottom side of the bag, so it should self-feed very well. Yep, I'm lazy. Yep, they're used to it. And yep, left to their own devices they can take care of their own needs pretty well!
lau.gif


Nice they found it themselves when you forgot, its ok to be lazy I have my moments too. I am feeding in a similar fashion as you are, I don't have a rooster yet but plan to get one so I figured it would be easier to just stick with one plan. Instead of putting these girls on layer and then switching back to flock raiser once we get new chicks or a rooster, just seemed easier to leave them on flock raiser and provide oyster shell for the calcium. Its reassuring to know that they will figure out that they need it and seek it out. I always wondered how they figured it out but hey maybe its just instinct?
 

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