oyster shell supplement

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mamahenAtlanta, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. mamahenAtlanta

    mamahenAtlanta Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2014
    Atlanta, GA
    Well, my hens have been laying for a little over 3 months. Their eggshells have been really super hard all along. I realized that their layer feed contains extra calcium, so wonder if I even need to provide oyster shell? Their bin ran out so I waited a few days before re-filling (found a brand new bag in storage) so I put it out for them. They attacked it like it was mealworms! I guess they need it?! Figured it was something that they would go for on an as-needed basis, so it looks like they really do need it. Right? They also free range for just a bit each day.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    They need it available.
    A hen deposits 2 grams of calcium in each shell she builds. Depending on how prolific she is will dictate how much calcium she needs.
    Most chicken feed is based on the needs of commercial flocks. If they get cage layer fatigue or gout from either insufficient calcium or too much, the commercial operation doesn't really care.
    For small holders, we need to look at nutrition closely if we want to keep our birds more than 2 years.
    Large particle oyster shell remains in the upper digestive tract a bit longer than the calcium in feed. It reaches calcium absorption sites in the small intestine when the egg is in the shell gland when the need is greatest.
    I keep a cage cup full of oyster shell with each flock. I sometimes keep one by the feed and another by the nest boxes.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by