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Is it ok to use egg shells instead of oyster shell ?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by BruceAZ, May 21, 2016.

  1. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    [​IMG]

    How much calcium will your chickens need ?

    I thought from the feed with 4-5% would be sufficient for laying hens but i might need to add in oyster shell ? but instead of oyster shell can you just egg shell instead ?

    the same for grit-- if you hens are free ranging is there really a need for grit ?

    thank you
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Egg shells are useful for calcium, but they are not as readily absorbed and do not provide as much calcium as oyster shell -- if you are feeding layer ration this is not a concern, but if you are opting to follow a non calcium enriched feed program (not layer ration) then the choice of supplemental calcium is more important and egg shells will be insufficient as the sole supplement.
     
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  3. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    Thank you.

    also, if the chickens are free ranging there's no need for grit?
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    True, but offering oyster shell does no harm, and might help a very productive hen. Grit is optional if your birds have access to rocky bits in the soil. When in doubt, offer it too. Mary
     
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  5. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We use egg shells because they are a free resource we already have to use and because we want to provide enough calcium without having our eggs get too thick shelled that it makes hatching difficult. If you are not hatching then oyster shell is a better choice because it will make the shells very strong.

    If your hens have access to soil with grit in it them you don't need to provide store bought grit. We have a sandy soil below our topsoil and it works just fine. Sometimes I see larger grit in the chicken poop but there is plenty of fine grit for them, they are just choosing the larger grains at times. I don't suppose it hurts since they are making the choice about the grit size they use. I would only worry about grit that is too fine that it does not grind properly but then we feed pellets that have some fine grit texture to them when we wet it for ducklings so that may give them enough to break down the pellet feed.
     
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  6. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Any grit that is being passed to the poop is too small, that is why it was passed instead of retained... They need the larger insoluble grit that gets stuck in the gizzard and is used to grind up food, small sand like grit and/or grit that has been ground down below the optimal size is what is passed out of the gizzard and is mostly useless... Grit for adult chickens is not sand size or even that small, it's small rock size, about 5/16"-3/8" chunks for most adult chickens... Also the type of rock plays a role, as I said ideally they want insoluble grit for food processing, thus if you live in a region where there is a lot of limestone it's not optimal for food processing but it's a great calcium source... And if most of the rocks in your are 'rounded' and 'smooth' they are not going to be optimal for grits purpose...

    Can a chicken get grit from free ranging, sure if they have enough range and the ground provides suitable gravel and stones for them, this is fully dependent on location...

    I will state that for the literal few dollars it cost for a 50lb properly sized insoluble grit, it's cheap insurance they are getting what they need, and likely pays for itself over and over again due to better conversation rates of their feed since you optimized their grit...

    To be clear, this is not directed at anyone particular just an observation over the years, it never ceases to amaze me that many will spend money on premium feeds and treats without hesitation or a second thought, but are reluctant to spend $5 on grit that will last for months... For most small backyard flocks a 50lb bag of grit will literally last years, or at least it should, since I offer it free choice to my 100ish birds 24/7 and only go through a few bags of grit a year...
     
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  7. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To clarify, the pieces that I have seen in chicken poop are larger than commercial grit. I assume they pass it because it is too large, not too small. It is also more round shaped like tiny pebbles so I do not think it does much good inside the chickens and it just passes through.
     
  8. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    currently i'm feeding my hens this

    [​IMG]

    and when they are done with this 30lb bag.. I'm thinking of switching over to this

    i found some buyer's club that will sell feed in bulk for a pretty good price for organic, non-gmo, non-corn, non-soy,non-canola
    http://www.phoenixorganicfeed.com/prices.html


    it's still about twice the price ($27.45 for a 50lb bag) for layer feed if compare to non-organic from wal-mart ($12? for 40lb)

    but 2.5 - 3 .5% calcium is enough for laying hens?

    [​IMG]


    feeds at wal-mart

    [​IMG]
     
  9. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Maybe, but probably a little on the low side most layer feeds are 3.5%-4.5% give or take...

    I'm of the opinion that extra calcium should be offered 24/7 their bodies know full well when they need extra and they will eat it when needed and ignore it when not needed... And calcium is an on demand thing in chickens, it only takes their bodies minutes to have consumed calcium ready for egg production, so they can eat it as needed and it's for all intents instantly available to the egg they are making that day...

    Just like grit having the 24/7 free choice is cheap insurance...

    I have 100ish birds, about 60 or more layers and I might go through 2 maybe 3 50lb bags of crushed oyster shells a year, it all depends on what else I'm feeding as my birds are not on a strict commericial feed diet so their food calcium levels vary...

    It's only $9.97 at my local Walmart, it's not my chickens favorite feed (and I prefer pellets) but Walmart's open 24 hours is much more convenient than the feed store many times so it's one of the feeds in my rotation, I usually cut it 50/50 with Walmart's HOG 14 9 (that is pellets) when I use Walmart feeds...
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
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  10. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have not seen feed at our Walmart but they don't carry everything. We feed Purina Flock Raiser because we have ducks and chickens.
     

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