Oyster shell and scratch?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by paddyg84, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. paddyg84

    paddyg84 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do I really need to feed my hens oyster shell or scratch? I have them on layers pellets and some mixed grain as a treat. Will this give them enough nutrients?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Oyster shell - Are their egg shells thin or weak? If they are, offer oyster shell on the side. If the egg shells are fine, you don’t need to offer it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with offering it on the side. If they don’t need it, they just won’t eat it and it will last forever.

    Scratch – Their Layer is feed is a balanced diet. It’s really all they need. Scratch is just grains. I don’t know what mixed grains you are feeding, but whatever it is, that is scratch. There is no legal or dictionary definition if what grains go in scratch.

    Are the mixed grains you are feeding messing up their balanced diet? It depends a bit on what grains you are feeding, but as long as they can clean that up in 15 minutes or so once a day, you are not messing up their balanced diet by feeding that scratch. Their regular feed contains various minerals, vitamins, and other things they need that those grains don’t provide.

    I personally like to offer vegetables, greens, kitchen scraps, things like that, especially when forage is thin in the winter, but really all they absolutely need is the Layer.
     
  3. paddyg84

    paddyg84 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks very much for the advice. The grain I give them I think is just oats and corn by the looks of it. I just throw them a wee bit when I go down to check on them. I can't tell you yet how their eggs are as I've only had them 4 days and they haven't laid yet but will take ur advice and if their eggs are fine il not bother with oyster shell.
     
  4. pbjls

    pbjls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I always suggest offering the oystershell free choice. It is cheap and does not go bad. ridgerunner had it right on. the mixed grains you are givieing them is scratch. If they have room to range then you are doing fine. If they don't have room to wander much then I would also suggest gritt. the gritt is eatten and stored in the gizzard. the muscles in the gizzard use the gritt(small rocks) to grind the feed and scratch.
    This is the birds first line of defense for gut issues and aids in digesting the feed.
     
  5. paddyg84

    paddyg84 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hadn't thought of gritt, do I mix that in their feed? They do have a run but at the moment it's quite small so gritt probably be a good idea.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  6. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member

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    Offer the grit free choice like the oyster shell. I put it into a chick feeder.

    There is a smaller size grit for chicks. Giving baby chicks Chick grit helps cure and prevent past butt.
     
  7. paddyg84

    paddyg84 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good advice there thanks very much. I have four hens and I'm not sure but I reckon they are approx 15 weeks old. Will buy some gritt and oyster shell at the weekend. I assume its ok to mix them?
     
  8. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member

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    Yes, they will take what they need.
     
  9. cinch920

    cinch920 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Exactly. I like to offer oyster shell free choice. They take it when they want it. Helps with the thickness of egg shells. I will toss them some scratch when I go do my chores in the evening. Just to give them some other stuff to peck around it.
     

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