How Often to Feed Egg Shells

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MesMama, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2015
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    I've been saving our shells to feed back to my flock to help them get enough calcium and they gobble them up :D Question-how often can I give them the shells? We probably use 2-3 eggs a day on average, weekends are more, so do I give them every day, every other day?
     
  2. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its harder for hens to process "already processed" calcium that it is to process oyster shell. If I remember correctly, you need to offer twice as much in eggshell as you would oyster shell.

    You can keep eggshells available to them 24/7. They'll only eat what they need. If they're gobbling them up, they may be low on calcium now or consider them a treat in which they need to get all they can while its there. Are you feeding layer pellets? Usually if this is all you feed, there should be enough calcium for good egg production. If they get to free range or get extras in treats/scraps, their needs will be different but they know it, so let them control it. [​IMG]
     
  3. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2015
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    Thank you! So, I am feeding a regular feed, not the pellets (sorry I don't know the terminology for the feed lol) it has the fines and then seeds etc. and it has pieces of oyster shell in it. It's Scratch and Peck Layer feed. I also have oyster shell out all the time for them and just started the egg shell thing in the last couple weeks because their shells were kind of thin and getting some weird looking eggs. They are free range inside of about an acre of fenced in pasture and they do get scraps, strawberry tops, little pieces of bread, BOSS, pumpkin, watermelon rind, leftover scrambled eggs (which they LOVE, kinda funny hehe!)
     
  4. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, is the calcium in the pellets already processed? Is that what you mean? So it's better to offer oyster and egg shells?
     
  5. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should have said layer feed. It doesn't matter if it's pellet or crumble. I'm not quite sold on the scratch and peck feeds yet though I hear they've gotten better at binding the supplements to the grains rather than have them sink to the bottom of the feeder as powder. If their shells are thin and you're getting weird eggs, try to determine if they are coming from one or more chickens. If it's just one, a hen may be having a reproductive hiccup, which is normal, or she could be having a real issue. Only time will tell. If its more than one, I would say it's a diet issue, not necessarily a calcium issue. It could be they're lacking in nutrition because of the amounts of extras they get. If your problem persists, take away the treats and only give them chicken feed (with grit and calcium, of course) and see if they improve.
     
  6. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Processed by the chicken. I know it sounds funny but the chicken's body was designed to break down calcium from other sources and refine it into eggshell. It's just harder to break it down again. In the pellets, oyster shell process is simply ground up and compressed into a pellet with the rest of the food.
     
  7. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2015
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    I really try to not give a lot of treats, I mean they get the egg shells daily, but other stuff too. Like yesterday I gave them 10 strawberry tops and the egg shells and that was all they got. Some days all the extra they get is the egg shells. But yeah I'll definitely watch the treats, I guess I didn't think about the treats keeping them from eating their feed, I just thought it was all good for them?
     
  8. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2015
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    Oh! I had no idea about that :eek: So are pellets better to feed? They waste SO much of the S&P layer feed :/ We did make them one of those 5 gallon bucket feeders and it's better, but they still don't eat the fines :(
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I am another who thinks egg shells don't provide quite as much calcium as oyster shell. I offer it in a separate container and they eat layer feed, just nibbling on the oyster shell when they need to. But I do like to boil up any older eggs I have in the fridge, crush 'em up shells and all, and give those to the girls a couple of times a week. Granted, with a lot more chickens I probably have more older eggs - eggs that I don't want to sell because they are more than 2 weeks old.

    For me the bonus of doing this is that they get the egg shells, but they also get the protein from the eggs and I like that this time of year since many of mine are currently molting. I have never had a single "egg eating" issue doing this. What I toss in their pen has no resemblance to what they are leaving behind in the nest, so it hasn't caused any bad habits. I usually boil them up and when they're cool I put them in a plastic grocery bag, twist it shut and pop it back in the fridge. When I'm ready to feed them, I tuck that bag into a second grocery bag so I have a double layer, lay them on the countertop, and start "smushing" with my hands. Once the shells have been cracked, it's like kneading bread. Doesn't take long and they are all crushed up and ready for the girls. They love 'em.
     
  10. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2015
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    That's a great idea Blooie! Mine are molting as well and so that's why I added the BOSS in there for a snack every few days. But I like the boiled egg thing too! I just got some new oyster shell yesterday finally, had to order it...rural Iowa lol! The stuff I got from the local farm store just looked weird, like white grit? They don't really eat it. The stuff I got actually LOOKS like oyster shell LOL
     

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