Oyster shell for 18 week old birds - Advice appreciated!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by snmarchi, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. snmarchi

    snmarchi Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2016
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    I have been reading about when to offer oyster shells to young birds. Several people say to only start feeding layer feed when the first eggs appear. Others suggested to put it in a separate container, so they could just take it when they need it. My girls (at least I hope they are girls) are 18 weeks, and doing well but not laying yet. When I saw people posting the first eggs coming at 18 weeks, I decided to put in a small corner feeder with oyster shells. I read that it can cause internal issues if fed too early, so when my 5 chickens went wild and started eating it like crazy, I took it out.

    I would appreciate any advice you can give.

    Thanks!
     
  2. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wait until they start to lay, then switch to layer feed and offer crushed shell.
    You can also feed them their eggshells back to them, just crush them. I heat mine to 350 degrees in the oven to make them easier to crush & sterlize after sitting on the counter for weeks.
     
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  3. snmarchi

    snmarchi Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2016
    Centennial CO
    Thank you.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If you're feeding layer, you really don't need oyster shell. Layer is formulated with the extra calcium added in already.

    You can offer it, but is shouldn't be necessary.

    If you're feeding grower or all flock, etc, you can offer oyster shell. A lot of times it's a novelty and they eat a lot the first few days, but after that they settle down and just take what they need, which is usually a pretty tiny amount.

    I scatter mine on the floor of the run. Gives them something to do, scratching around and finding something to eat.
     
  5. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its good grit as well.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  7. tawnya0926

    tawnya0926 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 27, 2016
    Essex CT
    Oh no. After reading all this, I'm wondering if I'm feeding my chickens the right thing. I got them a couple weeks ago at 15 weeks and when I went to buy their feed, the lady there suggested I buy the one with oyster shells in it which I did. I'm still new to this. This is what they've been eating since I got them. Is this okay? They're free range as well.
     
  8. Mortenson1987

    Mortenson1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    I would only feed oyster shells if you get eggs that are soft shelled or shell less, if not laying yet then they don't need it. I add oyster shell only because I have ducks that seem to be prone to soft shells and shell less eggs, eggs like that are kinda creepy, lol... My hens, however, end up with extra calcium deposits on their eggs from time to time because they don't really need the Oyster Shells but eat them because they are there
     
  9. tawnya0926

    tawnya0926 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 27, 2016
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    Do you think I did harm by giving them early? I'm making the switch right now.
     

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