oyster shell questions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mom'sfolly, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    I give my girls oyster shell, free choice, but have never seen any of them eat it. They're mostly not laying now, but I'm curious about it. They will eat egg shell that I feed back to them, but are completely uninterested in the oyster shell. How do I tell if they are getting enough calcium in their diet? The coop is in an area that the utility company regularly digs up, which around here means plenty of ground up limestone. Could they be getting enough calcium from the dirt here? I haven't had any issue with thin eggs.

    Also, how should it take for 4 hens to eat 20 lbs of layer pellets? They are going through more with the cold weather but they still don't seem to eat much. They are on the lawn all day, free ranging, but it is just a smallish backyard.
  2. gmc

    gmc Songster

    Nov 24, 2007
    Clay City, KY
    Standard breeds (large) will consume about 5 ounces of feed a day (16 days with 4 hens 20lb.). You can cut that in half provided they have access to all the goodies that nature provides free ranging. If your expecting a hen to lay, layer crumbles at about 17 to 19 weeks should be introduced in unlimited supply (yes, at times you think the little boogers with eat you out of house and home). They will consume the shells as needed, don't fuss. I wouldn't expect to see the shells disappear at any fast rate until they start laying. They know what they need.

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2008
  3. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    It took my girls months to pick at the shell. They will eat it if they need it.
  4. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    My girls started laying in June and are on winter break. I don't think I've ever gone through 20 lbs of food in 16 days. The girls are free ranging all day, get treats including a handful of scratch at bedtime, anything they like from the compost pile, oatmeal, occasional grapes, pumpkin when its around, and now the small amount of chick starter that is left when I give the babies fresh food. The two EEs are molting, so they have gotten some catfood and eggs for extra protein. They don't get all these treats everyday. Now I'm worried that I'm not watching nutrition carefully enough. They look happy and healthy, but somewhat ugly due to molting. Do you think I'm overdoing the snacks? Or maybe I just buy food more often then I think. Any excuse to look at the chickies at the feed store.
  5. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    I just mix it in with their scratch and they eat all of it. I buy it at the feed store for 16 cents a pound. They seem to like it just fine but I agree with Purple (is that ever a good thing, lol!!!) that they will eat it if they need it. [​IMG]

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