Oyster Shell? Or, is it Not Needed due to the Feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Brian, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. Brian

    Brian Songster

    Sep 30, 2007
    Jacksonville, ORegon
    I was reading the brochure for the laying ration, and it says that it includes the oyster shell. Looks like I won't have to add it then. Agree?
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    At times the layer feed calcium is just not enough for the hens to lay with a good hard shell. Especially during times of physical stress like cold winters and really hot summers. I keep oyster shell out in the hen house at all times. If they need it they eat it. If they don't they ignor it. It is the same way that sometimes your body craves certain things because you have a mineral deficiency. They know what they need and will peck and eat feathers if they don't get it. Poorly shelled eggs are a sign they are really missing something in the diet.
  3. equinity

    equinity Hatching

    Feb 11, 2008
    My debeaked chickens refuse to eat shell grit (refer to my long winded post in the Egg Laying and Chicken Behaviours section) but their shells are very thin...the only way they will eat a bit of it is if it is all mixed up in a mash of veggies and bread etc but even then thye still try and avoid it! Is there anything else they may be deficient in, or is there another way to give them calcium?

    Thanks [​IMG]
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    You may need to get something more pulverized. De-beaked birds can not eat the same as their non-mangled brethern. You could try crushing the shells more and using the more dust like bits to mix with yogurt to get it in them.
  5. pattycake

    pattycake Songster

    May 7, 2007
    fingerlakes, ny
    I use a layer ration and my chickens still eat about a half cup of oyster shell a day.

    Nevertheless, my shells have been noticeably thinner recently. I think it's because they haven't been out freeranging because of the snowcover.

    Or maybe the new cheaper oyster shell I switched to is no good!
  6. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    My hens have been eating far more oyster shell since it got very cold. In the fall they hardly touched it. I refill a tuna can about once a week (for 6 chickens).
  7. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    Added that when my hen was indoors 3 months from a possum attack. Added 1/8 cup to oh, 2O lb. feed. GETTING GREAT EGGS!! . . . SORRY, MISSED THE TOP! Added ground "CALCIUM CITRATE + D" (WALMART OR WALGREENS). Used a little flaxseed in the coffee grinder to keep down the dust.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If your chickens ever eat other food (veggies, table scraps, wandering around the yard, etc) then they should definitely have oyster shell (or crushed eggshells) available -- to the extent that layer ration has enough, it's only 'enough' if the layer ration is ALL they're eating.

  9. Gallus_domesticus

    Gallus_domesticus In the Brooder

    Feb 21, 2008
    A powdered calcium supplement designed for reptiles might work, though I haven't tried this personally. This may be more expensive than something designed for humans, though.
  10. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    I took the calcium dust from the bottom of the bag of oyster shells, and mixed alot up in some oatmeal I made them. They wolfed it down, and shells got better right away.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: