Oyster shell absolutely necessary?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Moselle, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. Moselle

    Moselle Songster

    Jan 17, 2008
    5 of my 7 pullets have started laying now (23 weeks old) - their shells have been nice and strong from the very first eggs. I'm feeding them Purina Layena. Is oyster shell necessary? Should I just mix a bit in with their sunflower seed snack in case they want some, or keep it in a separate container?
  2. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    Quote:We very seldom give our chickens oyster shell, they free-range eating plenty of grass and vegetables along with their feed so they must be getting everything they need. No soft shell eggs.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2008
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Leaving a small bin of it where they can eat it free-choice (hens have been shown to have a self-regulating calcium 'appetite', i.e. if their bodies need it they will seek it out and if they don't need it they will not so much) is the simplest and most bet-hedging option.

    Or just their own eggshells, dried and crushed up, fed the same way.

    It is probably easier to prevent soft shells than to cure them once they happen, plus once they start happening you can get into egg-eating issues that can persist even once the shells harden back up.


  4. Dar

    Dar Crowing

    Jul 31, 2008
    I have alsobeen doing a lot of reading about egg binding...and apparently the calicum helps with the prevention of binding
  5. spook

    spook Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    North Central Florida
    Most animals do have self regulating abilities with minerals and foods. Not with chickens, yet with cattle, the dairy cows in the barn have acess to 4 bins of powder minerals and salt block also tag fed grain. After they learned what these items were, you would find a cow early in pregnancy licking one type vitamin, later in pregnancy getting more magnesium and potasium, they had a higher incidence of milk fever prior to and during calving without these minerals available.
    So why couldn't we allow them to eat what they need.

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