Is shell grit necessary?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Fierlin1182, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Fierlin1182

    Fierlin1182 powered-flight

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    Our chooks, maybe a few times (five max.) a year, lay those soft eggs that break all over the nest. My mother was recommended shell grit to give them, but I was just wondering if it's really necessary, seeing as we feed them layers' mix, they free range and are usually A-ok. Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    ray's two cents :

    Our chooks, maybe a few times (five max.) a year, lay those soft eggs that break all over the nest. My mother was recommended shell grit to give them, but I was just wondering if it's really necessary, seeing as we feed them layers' mix, they free range and are usually A-ok. Thanks! [​IMG]

    If they are getting layer feed then they probably have enough grit and calcium from the feed.​
     
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Whenever you see those soft-shelled eggs, it means their regular diet or some stressor in their development is causing a lack of calcium...usually it's the latter reason and their regular amount of calcium isn't enough to get them through the crisis~be it molting, poor health, poor nutritive absorption, etc.

    Having some OS around is a good idea and feeding their shells back to them is also a good idea. A bag of OS is extremely cheap and lasts a long time, so it's no big thing to have some available to them in hard times. I just plunk the bag in the corner of the coop and rip open the top...they will eat it when they need it, most generally. During molt and into the winter when they are actively regrowing feathers while also using extra nutrition to keep warm, I'll go ahead and add it right in their feed.
     
  4. Fierlin1182

    Fierlin1182 powered-flight

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    Okay, thanks! That's a good idea, leaving the bag open in the coop. My only concern is that other birds might eat it - our chickens free range, so the coop door is always open. We've had to be very careful with feeding, due to pigeons, parrots, all those other birds that like to come down and share. [​IMG]
     
  5. vnploveschickens

    vnploveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    The chickens are really pretty smart. I have a separate bowl of oyster shell for the hens that want it...and they just know!
    Some hens just need more calcium than other hens.

    The boys and the younger chicks may look at it and peck at it, but don't really eat it.

    Good luck, keep us updated !!!
     
  6. cbohn80

    cbohn80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    all you need to do is recycle their shells, that will give them plenty of calcium besides whats in their food. if you really want you can breed mealworms very easily with stale cereal and fruit scraps in a rubbermaid container. birds love them and they're high in protein and calcium.

    if you want to try this just put bran flakes in a tub with a lid. occasionally add an apple core or something for food and water supply. buy mealworms from a pet store (do not get superworms, they are altered to not mature.) throw them in the tub and in a few days or weeks they will start to morph into a beetle. the beetles will lay eggs and give you more worms. they are geat composters too. you can feed tem any table scraps you have and their litter can be put into the garden. just watch how much moisture you add so it doesnt turn moldy
     
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    all you need to do is recycle their shells, that will give them plenty of calcium besides whats in their food.

    In normal circumstances, this is true. But if those egg shells are already thin and softer, feeding them back will only add that little amount of calcium to their diet...and produce the same kind of shell once again.​
     
  8. cbohn80

    cbohn80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sorry but i disagree. if you feed layer pellets it should already have enough calcium. recycling the shells will provide plenty of extra calcium. i've been doing this all year since i got my birds and have only had one shell-less egg and thats because the bird just started laying.
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    We'll have to agree to disagree.... [​IMG]

    I've been raising chickens for 35 years, not just a year....during molting and winter stress, the calcium found in typical layer rations may not be enough for heavy laying breeds. Birds that do not typically lay every day will not experience the same calcium loss of a bird that lays consistently. As someone whose flocks consistently produce well and far past the typical production age, I can tell you that a calcium boost is just what the doctor ordered at this time of year.

    Also wouldn't hurt to add extra proteins.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  10. Nonny

    Nonny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm curious... if the chicken only lays the very occasional egg like this and all teh others are fine, then how can it point to a lack of calcium? Surely such a lack would show up as recurring shell issues rather than just one every couple of months? Or there something I'm misunderstanding about chicken physiology?
     

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