Oyster Shell Question

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by naj55, May 9, 2016.

  1. naj55

    naj55 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 18, 2016
    Burien, WA
    Hi all I have been researching when to start giving my ducks oyster shell and have not been able to find an answer. I've been reading about when ducks will start laying and I've gathered that it can be anywhere for 14-20 weeks with the smaller breeds on the sooner side. I've got welsh harlequins and I'm just wondering when I should start making it available to them. Thanks for the help!
  2. buff goose guy

    buff goose guy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2014
    Mississippi Y'all
    I think around the time you see the first egg you should probably give it little by little :) . Best of luck :) Ohh and be sure not to give to much sometimes it can make the egg shell just a bit to dense/hard, just incase you want to hatch any babies in the future, but seeing as they are welsh harlequins I think they should be fine [​IMG].
  3. lomine

    lomine Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 7, 2015
    Peyton, CO
    I have three WH and I offer mine oyster shell free choice. Technically, they need the extra calcium in their system before they start laying. It won't hurt to put the dish of oyster shell out a few weeks before you expect them to start laying. They will take what they need when they need it.
  4. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    They only need the extra calcium when actively laying, so wait until they start laying... Their bodies are able to convert the calcium very quickly (within hours) so no need to provide it before they start laying and they will have enough put away in storage for the first egg from just a normal diet... Once offered it will be amiable for future eggs almost immediately, so no rush...
  5. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2015
    New England USA
    My first batch of ducks hatched in May and started laying in December. I'd already given up hope that they'd lay last year when I got my first surprise! eggs.

    I watched my girls for months and at a certain point their sexual behaviors ramped up to the point that I thought surely it can't get any more extreme than what they're displaying now (three hens on top of each other all on top of one hen). That's when I first started offering oyster shell free choice. They nibbled it some for months and eventually finished the small container I'd put out for them. When it was empty I decided not to refill it and I'd start again after the winter. I looked daily for eggs religiously for months before I gave up.

    About 2 weeks later I got my first eggs as a Christmas present.

    I don't know if it was warm 60 degree weather we had in December or the fact that they were late hatches or some combination of the two.

    If you think you should have it down for them, go ahead and offer it. If they're going through 4lbs a week and they're not laying I'd want want to know why so much is being consumed. It is slightly water soluble so it will last longer if it is protected from rain and snow.
  6. naj55

    naj55 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 18, 2016
    Burien, WA
    Thanks so much for all the info I may just start putting it out now if they feel like they want it

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