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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by doghamstyluv95, Oct 8, 2007.
Im wondering because we don't give oyster shell and their eggs are perfectly normal.
I don't give it to mine either and their eggs are fine. I used to give it to the old flock just because someone told me they needed it. I think you're ok as long as the eggs seem sturdy. I DO give them crushed eggs shell from the eggs we eat.
I feel that it is not necessary for young pullets, however older hens can benefit from oyster shell. Malabsorption is common as hens progress in age, so they may not be able to produce as much calcium as necessary for egg production. When this occurs, they take valuable calcium from their bones to produce egg shells, which can weaken their skeletal structure causing more frequent injuries. We offer it free choice to hens and they seem to take only what they need, so I don't think you can go wrong by offering it.
The only negative I've heard about calcium supplements is about giving it to birds that are not of laying age. This can cause bones abnormalities from excess calcium.
Quote:Jody, Have you ever heard that sometimes eggs can be too hard, making it hard for chicks to pip? I heard that a couple of times from local breeders.
I've heard that as well from people, but have never experienced shells that are too hard to hatch from. I do know that if it is too dry, the membrane can get very stiff (almost rubbery) and difficult to pip through. However, gamebirds have very thick membranes and hatch just fine. I don't think oyster shell would affect hatchability at all.
If you're feeding a layer mash that's labeled as "complete," I'm sure you don't need to add calcium. But since my girls get a lot of scraps from the kitchen and the garden, I wanted to make sure they've got a source of calcium if their diet gets skewed from the "non-formulated" food.
FWIW, I have a little dish of oyster shells in my coop. As far as I can tell, my girls have never touched it.
I quit feeding oyster shells and just added D.E. to the feed. The shells are hard and not fragile.
I would say it depends on their diet!
IF you're feeding layer...you probably don't need it
IF you're free ranging...you probably don't need it.
I for myself keep it out. They take it when they need it. As for my hens, oyster shell consumption varies from zero to less than a pound/month. The amount they use is inversely proportional to the bug population! (lots of bugs= zero oyster shell)
Raise and feed them lots of pill and sow bugs. They have ALOT of calcium in their shells, usually live all over and help recycle your wastes.... aka Natural Composters
Because of the dogs that are allowed to run loose (despite our leash law) in our area, a dog catcher, a county mayor, and a county sherriff who will do nothing to inforce the leash law, I cannot let my chickens free range. Because of this, they only get the layer pellets, scratch grains, and table scraps that I give them.... and the occasional bug who commits suicide by wondering into the hen yard!! Beforfe I started feeding Co-Op layer pellets to them, I kept oyster shells out for the hens. And, they would eat them. But, since I started feeding the pellets to them they hardly ever touch the oyster shells. I did some reading on the feed bag, and it said that if hens were eating nothing but the pellets there was no need to supplement with calcium. But, if they were eating lots of additional grains and such, then a calcium supplement would be needed. So, I keep the oyster shells out for them. And, I have noticed that the more scratch grain and table scraps I feed them, the more oyster shells they consume.