How to supplement calcium to grower (for laying hens)

Oct 2, 2020
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When my pullets (16-18 weeks) get to laying, how many eggshellsshould i pulverize per 25 pound bag of 1 percent calcium grower?

To add, I have been mistakingly feeding them layer feed for the past month and a half or so, so I am switching to grower for the next few weeks until they start laying. Until then, I am giving them some boiled eggs as snacks to increase their protein. Should I not add eggshells to the grower when they start laying (as they already have had a ton of calcium from the pre-maturely-given layer)? Should i just not give layer at all? what is the healthiest option for my chicken?
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
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Egg shells are a great source of calcium for rapid absorption, but hens also need a slow release form of calcium so you should also provide oyster shells. Pullets and hens will learn to manage their own calcium intake so it is important to provide calcium in an additional container that they can access at all times, free of choice. I do not have any research for my mixing methods, but I tend to mix 3-4 parts crushed egg shells with one part oyster shell. You can start providing this now, but do not mix the calcium with their feed. If they have free choice calcium available, you can always feed them grower feed or an all-flock feed if you'd like. Many folks with mixed-age flock or flocks with roosters don't use layer feed since too much calcium for growing chicks or roosters can be bad for their health. If you have an all-hen flock and they are all laying, you can then switch to layer feed and they might not even need to extra calcium, but still it is good to leave it available if they so choose.

What you choose is up to you. I personally always provide free-choice calcium, but I have fed my flock all types of feed. Sometimes I have neighbors give me feed as payment for eggs, and when I buy feed I avoid all feeds that have a mill-by date that is older than two months, so often I make my feed choice purely one the freshest available. I'd prefer not to use layer feed at all, but this winter my neighbor gave me two bags of layer feed. Even though only 2/18 of my flock are laying. I ended up mixing the layer feed with some grower feed to dilute the calcium a bit for the rest of the flock, but you don't want to leave the feed sitting around because after 3-4 months post-milling, the feed drastically reduces in nutritional quality.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Until then, I am giving them some boiled eggs as snacks to increase their protein.
What is the protein percentage of the grower?

Should I not add eggshells to the grower when they start laying
Best to have calcium supplements in a separate feeder.
OS and eggshell can be mixed in any ratio.
I use a couple of these:
full
 

svh

Crowing
Dec 24, 2019
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@aart. I like that OS feeder ! Mine is a stainless dog bowl, screwed to a piece of 2x10, on the floor.

They don't scratch it out, but EVERY day I have to clean the straw and wood shavings out of it.

Sometimes it is so buried, I have trouble finding it !!! This will be on tomorrows endless list of "things to do".
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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@aart. I like that OS feeder ! Mine is a stainless dog bowl, screwed to a piece of 2x10, on the floor.

They don't scratch it out, but EVERY day I have to clean the straw and wood shavings out of it.

Sometimes it is so buried, I have trouble finding it !!! This will be on tomorrows endless list of "things to do".
They've worked out very well.
Was handy but a bit tricky to ziptie(reusables) jar to HC.
Once in while a bit of bedding gets kicked in.
Watch out for sharp edges around the opening, file/sand them down or they'll get bloody.
 

Cryss

Eggcentric
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I just use a spare feeder in the run. for my oyster shell. I also have a small hamster feeder hanging inside the coop with oyster shell, and a second one with granite grit.
 

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