Oyster Shell Equivalent?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Juise, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2011
    I am going to be switching all my chickens over to flock raiser when my new chicks become integrated, and I have been told that I should also then offer oyster shells on the side for my layers.

    First of all, do I need to make these inaccessible to the younger chickens?

    And also, is there something I could give them instead of oyster shells, like their own eggs shells, or otherwise?

    And P.S. Is this still a necessary addition for free ranging birds?

    Thank you! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I've done the same for a few batches of chicks and have never seen a chick take any oyster shell. Not that i don't know they don't, just have never seen it.

    Instead of buying oyster shell, lots of folks give the eggshells back to the chickens -- crushed, ground up, microwaved to cook any egg still left -- I've seen a number of methods talked about here. I don't have a lot of chickens and even feeding flock raiser, I doubt I've ever spent $20 on oyster shell in a year.

    You could try it without oyster shell or other calcium supplement. i guess you'd know it was a problem if you started getting problem eggshells.
  3. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2011
    Thanks! So I can give their egg shells in lieu of oyster shell and it is the same supplement?

    It's not that I don't want to supplement, just wondered whether or not it was necessary for free range birds, and it isn't the cost, it's just that we're vegan aside from our own chickens' eggs, so oyster shell is not something I want to buy unless there was no other choice.
  4. marxmail

    marxmail Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2012
    Sparks, Maryland
    We eat oysters here in Maryland and I am wondering if putting out the real oyster shells for them to peck would do any harm?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  5. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2011
    I would imagine that you treat them the same way you do egg shells, microwave them a couple minutes to kill anything on them, and crush them up. Is the "oyster shell" bought for chickens not real? Maybe someone else can tell you for sure.
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Try looking up Aragonite. I understand not wanting to use oyster shells.

    The chicks won't overindulge in the calcium supplement from my experience. They will taste it though and maybe eat a tiny amount.

    I like to give a supplement since if they have weak eggshells the shell can break inside the hen. You can try just giving them their calcium back but I have noted that even when I do that they still like to eat the oyster shells. To each their own.
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    The shells will need to be small flakes, so I don't know how you can do that manually as I have never tried. Yes, they are real oyster shells.
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

  9. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Here's a list of other sources of calcium:

    1. Spinach & Swiss Chard
    2. Salmon & Sardines (canned with bones)
    3. Mustard, Collard, Kale & Turnip greens
    4. Shellfish
    5. Blackstrap molasses (can cause runny stools)
    6. Corn Tortillas
    7. Yogurt
    8. Mozzarella & Cheddar cheese
    9. Milk, Buttermilk (goat's milk and cow's milk)
    10. Basil, thyme, dill seed, cinnamon, and peppermint leaves
    11. Romaine lettuce
    12. Rhubarb
    13. Almonds, Peanuts & Brazil Nuts

    1. Black Beans, Dried Beans (Cooked)
    2. Sesame seeds
    3. Fennel
    4. Cabbage, Bok Choy, & Chinese cabbage
    5. Summer squash
    6. Green beans
    7. Garlic
    8. Tofu & Soybeans
    9. Brussel sprouts & Broccoli
    10. Oranges (Some people do not feed citrus to chickens)
    11. Asparagus & Okra
    12. Crimini mushrooms
    13. Foods Fortified with Calcium: Some Orange Juice, Breads, & Cereals

    Also Vitamin D and magnesium help with the absorbtion of calcium.

  10. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2011
    Thank you guys! I will look into that, I appreciate the links.

    As to breaking the shells into small flakes, I don't know if it would work with oyster shell, but after baking the shells I crush them a little with my hands, they are very brittle after heating, then give them a few quick pumps in our small blade grinder.

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