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Oyster shell?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Bettacreek, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Bettacreek

    Bettacreek Overrun With Chickens

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    I've been reading, but can't find anything other than "free choice" as an answer. I finally went out and bought some oyster shell and offered it to the girls, because with 24 hens, they've apparently picked the place bare of any minerals and I'm starting to have issues with soft eggs. I brought it in and they taste tested and have been picking away at it. How much do they typically eat? A 5lb bag cost $6.36, and if they continue eating it like candy, I'm going to have to buy a new bag every week. I know that they will have to make up for the deficit from what they've been lacking, but really, on average, how many birds do you have and how much oyster shell do you go through per week or month? And, is there a cheaper place to get it than TSC?
     
  2. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm pretty sure they'll get over the novelty and not go through a bag a week. [​IMG]

    I have around 30 chickens and I go through a big TSC bag of oyster shell over several months. I keep one section of a trough filled with it and maybe add a scoop every week or two. They will eat every piece of food from around the oyster shell in the trough, by the way. They probably think it's a new and exciting food and will figure it out soon enough.
     
  3. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also -- I bought about a 10 or 20 pound bag at TSC for around $8. It was mixed in with the feed by the floor. It's a much better deal than those little 5 lb. bags.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I bought mine from our local Grange, a forty or fifty pound bag was under ten dollars. I think I bought it last spring? Can't really remember. I don't leave it in all the time, if I get egg issues I toss some in the run. Right now, my mature hens aren't laying and my younger birds don't really need it the first season, so I'm not giving them any.
     
  5. Bettacreek

    Bettacreek Overrun With Chickens

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    I suppose I'll have to call the feed mill tomorrow morning and see if they've got bigger bags that I don't have to trade my first born son for! The part that got me the most (besides the cost) was that the one rooster was eating it faster than the hens! The brat!
     
  6. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sunny side up :)
    I remember when I first gave my girls oyster shell they ate a ton of it. After awhile they got bored with it and just eat it when they need it. Even the dumb roosters were eating it when we first got it LOL.
     
  7. 7&8

    7&8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting to hear others mention males eating oyster shell. I've noticed that my cockerels & roosters use the free choice oyster shell more regularly than any of the layers. I figure they know what they need. Here's an abstract from a study on calcium in roosters: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20434855
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    Thank you for posting that link. I read the abstract and wondered what was the base level of calcium they were feeding, before the additional calcium was added. I must have missed it...

    There are some posters on BYC that strongly promote reducing calcium load on males. I am on the other side of that argument, and have been soundly defeated, until now...[​IMG]
     
  9. Bettacreek

    Bettacreek Overrun With Chickens

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    I guess that explains the hogging by the rooster, lol.

    I actually raised my babies on a high protein layer mash. Everyone kept telling me "no, no no", but I haven't had any problems with it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  10. Bettacreek

    Bettacreek Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, I'm impressed. I gave them their first oyster shell last night (well, probably about 6pm?) and I just caught one of the cornish cross in there laying an "egg". They were the ones I was having the most problems with, laying slimey eggs with just a membrane. Well, it was still not exactly an egg, but it had a shell anyways! I wasn't sure how quickly their bodies would convert the oyster shell to egg shell, lol. So, hopefully tomorrow I will see a jump in good eggs. :)
     

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