Organic oyster-shell ????

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by UtePassChickens, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. UtePassChickens

    UtePassChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2016
    I understand the importance of calcium in a laying chickens appetite.. I use calcium in my gardening as-well. Can I use my 100% Organic Oyster-shell that i use in my garden, in the coop as well? it is powdered so i figured if i sprinkle all over the run they will pick up as needed??? think it would be okay to use? it is 100% organic ?
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    What is the non organic version of Oyster shells. [​IMG][​IMG] Synthetic.

    The organic movement is sometimes just a fad. To each his own. But to answer your question, any oyster shell is fine. I use the crushed type myself, because it is easier for chickens to pick up. It also provides grit for them. A bag of crushed shell lasts me a long time, and it is priced reasonably.
    I have other funny but true organic stories as well. [​IMG]
  3. UtePassChickens

    UtePassChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2016
    lol! by organic i assume they are avoiding the exxon and bp method of fishing! but in my garden i only use ORMI approved products i dont make myself...
  4. DrPatrickBiggs

    DrPatrickBiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2015
    Interesting question!

    You can use that to supplement your birds’ diet. The fact that it is in a powdered form complicates things a bit. I would not recommend putting it on the ground and then expect the chickens to find it. I suspect that if you pour it on the ground, then it will just get trampled into the bedding. Plus, adding oyster shell to the ground could change the pH of your soil, which could allow for potentially harmful bacteria growing in your coop area and causing health issues for the birds.

    A supplemental feeder would be a better option. However, supplemental oyster shell is usually in larger chunks that the chickens can pick out and grind down over time in their gizzard. The hens will still get some of the pulverized oyster shell out of a feeder, but it will move through the hen fairly quickly in a powder form, which is not exactly what we want to happen with an oyster shell product. It’s impact on egg shell strength will be smaller than if you fed a large particle oyster shell product. I would recommend using a larger particle oyster shell product for your hens instead of the powdered form.
  5. UtePassChickens

    UtePassChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2016
    much thanks! i'll add a bit to their food, I am more concerned about the additional calcium for egg production than the grit....I hope my thinking is right...please advise if otherwise...I live at about 7500' elevation in the valley at the base of pike peak, so under the natural mulch of the run, it is all black dirt and crumbling mountain..mostly granite. I figured they get all the grit they need from their local environment. we have 5 chicken at this time, plan on expanding to 8-10 this next spring and our run is about 33' long by 17' wide by8 to 12' high.(coop is within these boundary). Actually expanding the coop right now - kinda excited i am utilizing a large hydroponic drain table for the roof, to catch rain and snow which will drain into their water buckets then overflow out to the run.
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I agree with Dr. Biggs that a powdered form of calcium is a problem. The advantage of using crushed oyster shell in addition or in lieu of layer feed is that it is large particle that they can pick up easily when they feel the need for additional calcium
    DON'T add it to their food. You don't know how much you are putting in there in relation to what is already in the food.
    If they're all laying, they should be getting a layer feed that is about 4% calcium. If not all laying, they should have a grower or all flock feed that is about 1% calcium.
    The crushed oyster shell is to supplement for productive layers if feeding layer or for those laying in a mixed flock if a 1% calcium feed is provided.
    Excess calcium for non layers needs to be processed by the kidneys and can cause problems with the kidneys and other organs. A chicken can still have 2 of the original 6 kidney segments functioning and continue to look healthy and lay eggs. It is when one of those remaining 2 segments fail, they can die within 24 hours.
    My warning is to be careful with adding calcium to food or indiscriminately spreading it around.
    Calcium doesn't increase egg production. It replaces the calcium lost from the medullary bone each time they use it to build an egg shell.
    The granite would work in lieu of grit if they can access it. If however, the granite chips are covered with soil and mulch, it may not.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  7. UtePassChickens

    UtePassChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2016
    thank you very much! will eserve it for my gardening needs! I use an organic laying pellet made by RanchWay feeds out of fort collins, so no need then for me to worry, plenty of granite gravel from dust to football sizes for them to choose from lol! They have quit laying for the winter...whats your take on adding lighting? I found a $16 little led solar shed light that would extend the light in the coop at least for about another 4-5 hours a night....kinda a torn on the whole natural cycle thing with chickens but honestly havent a clue to make an educated decision on it...Luvin your advice, so figured would ask for more!! lol
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    If they've stopped laying, switch to a grower feed that doesn't have the high levels of calcium in layer. Layer feed is for actively laying birds only and can cause serious health issues if fed to non-producing birds.
  9. nappybutbald

    nappybutbald Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2014
    Stone Mountain
    Not only do i use oyster shells in a tin for them to consume at will but i also bake the egg shells we use at home by baking them and then grinding them up in a processor and mixing it in with their food works out fine for us and yes lol they are organic cause everything we feed them is organic grown.
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Pay special attention to what junebuggena wrote.
    As for lighting, I make sure they have completely recovered from molt before I start increasing light. A chicken will never lay all the eggs she was born with. I don't have a problem with a longer productive season but I make sure they are in great condition with optimal nutrition. The annual rest period is very important to rejuvenate the oviduct.
    I posted the following in another thread but since you're looking to be educated about light, I'll repost it for you.

    Light exposure to the retina is first relayed by the optical nerve to the nucleus of the hypothalamus and from there to the epithalamus an area of the brain that coordinates biological clock signals. Fibers from there descend to the spinal cord and then project to the superior cervical ganglia, from which neurons ascend back to the pineal gland. The pineal gland translates signals from the nervous system into a hormonal signal.

    When light periods are shorter, the gland produces serotonin and subsequently, melatonin. That's the hormone that affects the gonads for sperm production in males and ovulation in females. An increase in melatonin causes the gonads to become inactive.
    Photoperiod, in relation to day vs. night, is the most important clue for animals to determine season. And by extension, when to reproduce.
    Cold really has very little to do with egg production. The same thing happens whether it is a cold or warm climate.
    As light lengthens, the gonads are rejuvenated. The duration of melatonin secretion each day is directly proportional to the length of the night because of the pineal gland's ability to measure daylength. Besides reproduction, it also affects sleep timing and blood pressure regulation.
    So as the light period increases, in relation to the dark period, it stimulates reproduction and - voila - EGGS.

    In addition to the day vs. night thing stimulating production, I wanted to add a few thing relating to light.
    Chickens don't have to see the light. Blind chickens can also detect a change in day length. Light penetrates the skull and thereby is still detected by the pineal gland.

    Chickens detect light in a broader wavelength than humans.
    Humans detect light in a range of about 400-660 nm.
    Chickens detect light from about 300-750 nm.
    Human's peak response to light sensitivity is from 550-560 nm.
    Chickens have 3 peaks of light perception at 440, 550 and 610 nm.

    Spectrum wavelength determines the color of the light.
    Humans have retinal cones that detect red, yellow and green.
    Chickens have an additional double cone that is thought to allow tracking of movement.
    This may be the reason chickens can see the slightest movement of prey (bugs) or predators from afar that we may miss.

    Red light at about 650 nm penetrates the skull and eventually the hypothalamus at somewhere between 5 and 50 times more efficiently than blue, green or yellow/orange.
    This makes red light vital for stimulation sexual maturity and egg production.
    You've seen the sky at the horizon at dawn and dusk and have no doubt noticed it appears red because red penetrates the atmosphere greater than other colors of the spectrum.
    So birds outside at dawn and dusk are stimulated more than those locked in the coop at those times without exposure to big openings to the east and west.

    Incandescent light is good at producing light in the red spectrum.
    CFLs, while efficient, produce little red light.
    LEDs produce the most efficient light per watt used and, depending on phosphors used, can be designed to output in virtually any spectrum desired.
    You can look for LEDs in the 650 nm range.

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