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How to make oyster shell edible for quail.

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Sill, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. Sill

    Sill Songster

    Dec 30, 2013
    Tempe, AZ
    If you have quail, and especially coturnix quail you know they have a high calcium requirement due to their high egg production rivaling the most productive chicken breeds. Regardless of what you are feeding, your quail hens probably need more calcium than the commercial feeds can give them, and their eggshell quality will start to suffer. If you are getting eggs that crack or break easily or even eggs with no shell, then your quail hens need more calcium. You can grind the egg shells from eggs you use and feed them back to your hens but often this is not enough.

    A trip to the feed store will reveal bags of oyster shell. Most will sell smaller bags in the 5-10 pound range, I've bought them for around $6 for a five pound bag. Sure it will last a little while, but see if they have it in a 50 pound bag.


    I can get a 50 pound bag for $14 at my local feed store! Oyster shell does not go bad, will not get buggy, so why not get a large bag?

    Then you get it home and open the bag and realize the pieces are chicken sized. How are our little quail hens going to eat those?

    There are two ways of making them edible for our quail.

    One is sifting, which is good if you have chickens too.

    Go to the thrift store and buy a strainer/colander with holes small enough to pass chunks and powder through it. Don't use one your significant other wants since the oyster shell will eventually ruin the finish. This one has holes small enough to get quail sized pieces.


    Make sure before you start to work with the oyster shell you put on a dust mask.


    And plan on doing this outside with the breeze blowing the dust away from you. This is a very dusty job and you don't want the dust going in your lungs or getting in your eyes.

    Now sift the oyster shell with your strainer over a large bowl.


    The small stuff will be suitable for quail to eat. The large stuff left in the strainer is great for your chickens. You will end up with about one part quail sized to 5-7 parts chicken sized particles of oyster shell. Store it in a convenient location so it will be ready to use daily.
    1 person likes this.
  2. Sill

    Sill Songster

    Dec 30, 2013
    Tempe, AZ
    Don't have chickens and want to make all the oyster shell quail-edible-sized? Go to your local thrift store and get a blender. Trust me you don't want to use your significant other's favorite margarita blender for this! [​IMG] The oyster shell will wear out the blades and if it's plastic will cloud the plastic quickly. I got this for $4 at my local Goodwill.


    Again do this outside while wearing your dust mask. Blend small enough batches so the blender can process it easily. You will end up with a good bit of powdered oyster shell with small bits but also some larger pieces that are too big.


    Put the contents back through your sifter/strainer and any big pieces can go back into the blender with the next batch to pulverize. Since this process makes a mess I tend to do the entire 50 pounds at once so I don't have to do it again for a long time. So don't forget your a bottle of your favorite brewski, it's a dusty job and you got to stay hydrated! [​IMG]


    In the end you will end up with a plentiful supply of oyster shell that is sized perfectly for your quail hens to give you lovely eggs for a long time.

    Before... After
  3. Coturnix Quail

    Coturnix Quail Songster

    Jul 3, 2016
    Thanks! This helped alot, but I don't have a nearby feed store and I was planning on feeding my 3 week old Pharoh Coturnix's fruits and stuff, but I hear you need grit? Would crushed and baked eggshells work instead?
  4. eHuman

    eHuman Songster

    Mar 14, 2016
    Egg shells are a good calcium suppliment.
  5. Kusanar

    Kusanar Crowing

    Apr 30, 2014
    Roanoke area, Va.
    Eggshells could replace oyster shell, but not grit. I would think that some course sand might work ok for quail grit, but I don't have any birds yet.

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