Oyster shell question

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lcammack, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. lcammack

    lcammack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 15, 2011
    Hi all, we have eight chickens 3 BR's, 3 EE's all 18 weeks and 2 BLR's that are 14 weeks. From reading previous posts I understand that I should leave all the girls on grower (we use Scratch and Peck no soy/corn grower) until all are of laying age, please correct me if I misunderstood. With the 6 18 week old hens should they have access to Oyster shell? Also will it hurt if the 14 week olds eat it as well since I planned to offer it free choice in a feeder? Then once they are all laying we should switch to Layer correct? Sorry for so many questions, these are our first chickens and we want to get it right.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Yes, the youger ones should not be on Layer until they are of laying age. Once they are all of laying age, you can switch to Layer if you wish or you can still keep them on the Grower with oyster shell on the side. The ones that need it will eat it. The others may experiment a little with it, but should not eat enough to harm themselves. The one problem may come in if they do not have access to grit. If they cannot get grit anywhere else, they might eat the oyster shell as grit.
     
  3. lcammack

    lcammack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 15, 2011
    Thank you, that helps alot. They do have grit available 24/7 so that should not be an issue. So with the BR's and EE's at 18 weeks should we be offering Oyster shell right now or not until we see the first egg?
     
  4. colebarnhart

    colebarnhart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Only if you start getting thin shells, if they your eggs are fine then they don't really need it and are getting enough calcium via the layer feed.
     
  5. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Mine have an open bowl of oyster shell and another bowl of grit right beside it. Sit up against the wall beside the feeders. I refill as necessary. Check it all with a glance.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I'd wait until I saw the first egg. It may be soft shelled, but again it may surprise you and be OK.
     
  7. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Chickens, like so many animals are 'smart' about their needs.

    I would always have oyster shell available, and grit. They won't eat it if they don't need it, if they need it it will be available. That's why they call it 'free choice'. Why wait for 'soft shells', a chicken would pull calcium from her own bone material---all needlessly.

    Also since 'laying age' can vary---I have heard it is a good policy to wait until 'actually laying' to switch feed.

    Personally, I'm wondering if the layer feed is better for the chickens OR if it is just the cheapest threshold to be able to get eggs. Flock raiser feeds reportedly have a higher amount of protein, which may be a better alternative to promote nice feathering and other advantages of good protein, and with the addition of available oyster shell, the extra calcium is available. Just my opinion :O)
     
  8. The Jersey Chickens

    The Jersey Chickens New Egg

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    Aug 4, 2011
    I started my RIR at 16 weeks with a small bowl. I had the same question and called the company and they said a cup is fine and who ever wants it will eat it. They are 20 weeks and I have given them Oyster shells 3 times and got my first 4 eggs yesterday and today. No problems and even got two double yolks!! [​IMG]
     

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