Layer feed vs. oyster shells

Jennyhaschicks

Songster
11 Years
May 3, 2008
1,048
7
181
Maine
I guess I am a bit confused maybe.
If I add crushed oyster shell into the grower pellets is that the same as feeding them layer pellets? Is the oyster shell for added calcium or is it like a grit?
What would you recommend?
 

keljonma

Songster
12 Years
Feb 12, 2007
1,705
13
171
8A East Texas
Oyster shell is provided to give extra calcium to laying birds. Younger birds shouldn't be given oyster shell. Oyster shell shouldn't be added to the feed, but given separately. The laying hens will eat only what they need, so if you add it to their feed, they may bill out and waste oyster shell and/or feed.

Granite grit is used as grit to help male and female birds of all ages digest their food.
 

Jennyhaschicks

Songster
11 Years
May 3, 2008
1,048
7
181
Maine
thank you to the both of you. I thought I understood all of this feeding stuff, but then I question myself.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
22,507
13,004
641
Florida
My Coop
I give my girls oyster shells in a separate dish and grit in another dish as free choice. They take what they need. I didn't give them the oyster shells until they started laying.
 
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CUDA

Songster
11 Years
Mar 4, 2008
1,272
35
181
Michigan
Quote:So according to you then, my best option for feeding hens & roosters is to feed finisher to all and offer hens oyster shell.

and that's sufficient for the laying hens?

If you have mixed sexes, and ages in the same pen, it is the best way I have found to not feed the extra calcium to young birds, and roosters that don't need it. If you provide oyster shells, and give them plenty of sunlight, they will lay nice thick egg shells for you without layer feed.
 

dlhunicorn

Human Encyclopedia
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
4,870
44
251
I keep my very young birds (up to three months) separate (so they are unable to get the feed or supplements offered to the other birds)... I also have silkies which tend to start laying much later than other birds.
After that I just offer the layer feed in a separate feeder (in my case mixed cracked grains are mixed in / figured in wiht the nutritional profile so I would not want them diluting their feed by picking those out which is why I separate the first two/three months) .... I have never seen my roos or young birds eat the layer pellets. My adult girls do though and in addition to that eat the oystershell.
It is not an "either/or" situation IMHO as calcium absorption can be influenced by many things and the oystershell is there for those times the girls need that extra (despite having layer pellets available)
 

Squeaky

I squeak, therefore I am
11 Years
Jul 5, 2008
227
4
121
Albuquerque, NM
Hi,

Does anyone know what goes into those starter, grower, finisher, and layer pellets?

I know that layer feed has more calcium than, say, grower feed, and that starter feed is ground up so as to make it easier for chicks to eat... but... are there ingredient lists?
 

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