OS and Grit

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Lady Nilstria, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Lady Nilstria

    Lady Nilstria Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 12, 2009
    Greetings. ^_^

    To start, what is Oyster Shell, and what does it do? Why would chickens need it, and do some particular breeds need it more then others, and if so, which ones?

    Lastly, my hens have five acres of free range during the day, and plenty of little rocks and stuff to swallow for their digestion. Would I need to supplement with grit to make sure their system is working properly? I don't think I do, considering the sheer number of rocks, but I'm still curious.

    Thank you. ^_^
  2. birdsofparadise

    birdsofparadise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Kohala, Hawaii
    Oyster shell is just that - ground up oyster shells which are almost pure calcium. When chickens start laying, the calcium level in their systems drops radically. Unless supplemented in their feed (ie: Layer Crumbles) or by re-cycled egg shells (I toast and grind them to mix with feed), they will need the oyster shells.

    As for grit, the oyster shell itself is a good source of grit, but being free-range I am sure they are getting their share of coarse material to keep their craws filled.

    As for some breeds needing more calcium, it depends on their egg output, not the breed. Heavy layers of any breed will need more calcium in their diets.
  3. poultryone

    poultryone Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 13, 2009
    It never hurts to offer grit. While free-ranged hens don't necessarily need it as much, hens kept in a chicken coop or confined cage need a well-placed hopper full of grit at all times. It is necessary for proper food digestion.
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Oyster shell breaks down, grit does not.
    I only have one hen that I keep grit around for, because she's confined. The rest of my flock find plenty of grit on their own while free-ranging.
    Mine all get oyster shell free choice.

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