Is it OK to use seashell beach sand for a calcium source?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by KeithinWoodstock, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. KeithinWoodstock

    KeithinWoodstock Out Of The Brooder

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    There is a beach I visit just south of St. Augustine that has beautiful orange sand. It is coarse and made of a kind of crushed shell. Any thoughts on using it as a calcium source or grit for mature chickens?
     
  2. happyhens120

    happyhens120 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My only thought would be the natural salt found on beaches... don't know if that would be potentially harmful or not?
     
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Oyster shell is cheap, so why experiment?
     
  4. KeithinWoodstock

    KeithinWoodstock Out Of The Brooder

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    Don't want to experiment: hoping to hear from someone with successful experience (all replies are appreciated though). And if it's safe, then free is better than cheap.
     
  5. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd be ultra concerned about pollutants in sand that gets washed in from the sea. You may be on the side of FL not affected by the BP oil spill, but no doubt the sand concentrates whatever washes up. Not to mention, many cities along the coast still pump out their sewage into the ocean. Eww..

    Yes, the bivalves that are connected to make commercial oyster shell for layers DO absorb toxins since they are filtration feeders, but mostly in their flesh. What they put down in their shell matrix is nearly entirely made of calcium. But sand strait from the beach? You also don't know how much of that sand is calcium carbonate, so if you are using it as a calcium supplement, it may not meet the needs of your birds.

    Grit and calcium are two different things, also. Grit goes into the gizzard to help grind up food. Calcium is dissolved after being eaten (meaning it CANNOT grind up food in the gizzard). So they need to have both offered.
     
  6. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    If you're sure it's mostly shell sand then just rinse it well before putting it out. It'll be fine once you've reduced the salt content.
     
  7. KeithinWoodstock

    KeithinWoodstock Out Of The Brooder

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    Good point, stacykins. I hadn't thought about other pollutants, dissolved or solid, that might end up in my chickens. Not worth it to me, even as a long shot.

    Thank you all for the input. I'd call it a day on this thread.
     
  8. KeithinWoodstock

    KeithinWoodstock Out Of The Brooder

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    end of thread
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011

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