Is there such a thing as too much oyster shell?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JLS, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

    May 29, 2009
    My Coop
    I have been mixing oyster shell with my layer pellets. I have not been measuring how much I mix in. Mostly I do it by sight...approx 95% layer pellets 5% oyster shell. Should I be measuring the amount of oyster shell? Can I give them too much? If so, how I will I know if they have had too much? So far the eggs are smooth and the shells are hard.
  2. davidb

    davidb Songster

    Dec 15, 2008
    north east Georgia
    I can grit and shell in the pen with mine all time, they wont eat any more than they need , I put mine in a container to keep from wasting as much
  3. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    If you are feeding layer pellets, you do no need to mix in oyster shell and it could be too much, as there is already calcium in the layer pellets. I keep a separate pan of oyster shell available at all times anyway, like davidb, they will only eat it if they need it, and are very good at taking care of their needs. For instance, right now my hens are molting, not laying, and they have not touched the oyster shell in weeks. When they start eating oyster shell, I am going to be a happy camper, since I know eggs will come soon after.....
  4. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Our feed store in Abilene used to sell it in Zip Lock bags. 3 lbs for a $1.50 or something like that. I put it in a little rabbit feeder and set it by the coop. They probably didn't touch it for 6 months, then all of the sudden it was half gone. Then a few months later they ate the rest. Just give it to them free choice. They'll eat it as they need it.
  5. Rock N' Faverolles

    Rock N' Faverolles Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    This is just speaking from my experience, but I used to feed layena feed and also had a pan of oyster shell for them. Everyday I'd get at least two soft shelled eggs or very thin shells. I couldn't figure out why, but eventually I checked the Purina website and it said you don't need to add oyster shell because the feed contains all the calcium they need. So I took the pan of oyster shell out, and the soft and thin shelled eggs stopped immediatly. My birds apparently didn't know what 'enough' was. And all my birds were on free range as well.

  6. cap1717

    cap1717 6 chooks, 1 slave. . . me!

    Jun 12, 2009
    I have seperate feed containers for grit and oyster shell. . . . one of my girls is laying eggs that are extremely tough shelled. . . they are, in fact, hard to crack, but I figure that is just normal for her, she is fine and healthy and happy!
  7. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    I'm not sure how too much oyster shell would lead to soft shelled eggs. Oyster shell is put out to make thicker, stronger egg shells. Too much should have symptoms of calcium overdose and possibly egg shells with excess layers of calcium and bumps from deposits on them.

    Chickens will not over eat free choice oyster shell or grit unless they don't have enough feed. If they run out of feed they'll go looking for other things. So long as they have free choice feed and you stay on top of refilling the feeder it shouldn't be a problem. Mixing it in does risk them eating too much or too little and when you mix things into their feed they may decide to start picking through it for what they need and dump what they don't all over the ground. You can end up with alot of wasted feed.
  8. Rock N' Faverolles

    Rock N' Faverolles Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    Quote:My birds had self feeders and never ran short of feed and they were free ranged. I have taken this off the Purina website:

    "Over-supplementing with oyster shell should be avoided since too much calcium in the diet can lead to the same symptoms as a calcium deficiency and include weak or soft shells and reduced egg production."

  9. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    I used Purina's Layena crumbles, then switched to Layena pellets. My birds hated them, and refused to eat them. they tried to get everything from free-rangng. I didn't have oyster shell, because Purina Layena was a complete feed. But, this only works if they are eating it. Mine actually starved themselves when faced with only Layena pellets. Shells got thin, and then disappeared, leaving me with shell-less eggs, and at one point in the summer, almost NO eggs. I switched back to crumbles. They started eating, and laying again. But still, if they had had oyster shell free choice through it all, they would not have had the soft-shelled problems. I have one bird who is just now recovering from soft-shell egg-binding peritonitis. This might be a coincidence, but I still wish I had offered free choice oyster shell all along.
  10. Rock N' Faverolles

    Rock N' Faverolles Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    This is my last message on this thread, because I am not trying to argue with anyone. All I have said is what happened to me. My birds ate layena crumbles and had access to oyster shell. They consistently layed soft shelled eggs. I removed the oyster shell from their pens, and did NOTHING else different, and the soft shelled eggs stopped. You be the judge.


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