OK, now I'm scared. Oyster shell for babies? Is this bad?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MamaJohnson, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. MamaJohnson

    MamaJohnson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2009
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    My 4 and 5 wk old chicks are in a brooder with a dirt floor (a small greenhouse in my garden, actually). Ants, worms, spiders, etc., occasionally pass through and become treats. I put a bowl of oyster shell in there for the chicks to have as grit, but someone just told me they don't need it, that it might actually cause problems... [​IMG] I'm tryin' so hard to do it all right... [​IMG] Could I get a second opinion? Is oyster shell for my little ones actually a bad idea?
     
  2. stephhassler

    stephhassler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 30, 2009
    Eastern Iowa
    Well, I'm fairly new at this - only raised one set of chicks last spring and working on another set this spring. But, I do believe the chicks need grit - but I use sand and not oyster shell. I don't know if the oyster shell is bad for them, but they don't need it until later when laying eggs. They do need grit however, and you can simply use sand.
     
  3. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    Yes it is a bad idea. Wait until they are grown to offer them oyster shell. It is too hard on their tiny systems. They are still growing right now not preparing to lay eggs. Oyster shell is best around 20-22 weeks when they are getting ready to start laying. [​IMG]

    ETA: Every one is a newbie with chickens at one time or another, and ALL of us have made mistakes too! Don't feel bad. You want them to be healthy and that is never a bad thing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  4. sfw2

    sfw2 Global Menace

    Oyster shell and grit are NOT the same. Oyster shell is as source of calcium for laying hens. Too much calcium for chicks can be bad for their bone development.
     
  5. MamaJohnson

    MamaJohnson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Some day I'm gonna know everything!! HA!!!

    Ok sand - any specific kind? Is "play sand" OK?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  6. azelgin

    azelgin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I little bit of oyster shell is not going to hurt them, just don't feed them any more. Oyster shell is not a sustituite for grit. Not hard enough to provide the grinding action needed for seeds and other hard items. Grit needs to be stone. You don't want to give them oyster shell until they start laying. Too much calcium can cause problems for growing chicks.

    ETA. Looks like everybody hit the submit buttom at the same time.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  7. azelgin

    azelgin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I just throw mine a hand full of sand/gravel out of my gravel driveway. They'll pick out the size material that is right for them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  8. toletiquesbysam

    toletiquesbysam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2008
    Nebraska
    I don't have sand/gravel at our place that's small enough so I'm going to get Parakeet sand at TSC tonight!
     
  9. MamaJohnson

    MamaJohnson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Whew... Thank you for saying that - that makes me feel a little better! Never the less, I ran right out and removed the o.shell, telling my "sorry's" to the chicks at the same time! Poor things, to have such a clutz for a "Mommie"!
     
  10. MamaJohnson

    MamaJohnson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, and one more question - lets say all the bugs "get the word" and avoid the brooder for a while. If the chicks are only eating chick starter, but still have the sand/grit available, could that be bad for them, seeing as they might not be digesting anything other than the starter?
     

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