Oyster shells and grit--necessary?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by beakkeeper, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    Where do you all get your oyster shells? I was wondering if it'd be cheaper to get shells from nearby seafood restaurants, then sanitize and grind at home... or collect water snails, feed the snails to the chickens, and then clean and grind the shells... There's always buying the premade stuff, but is it cheaper? better? more self-sufficient? Do you have to provide calcium supplement if they are on a layer feed?

    How much/often do you provide grit? When do chicks need their first grit? If the chickens are on a dirt/grass run, will they get their own grit? And if you fed medicated feed/vaccinated against cocci, do you have to worry about adult birds getting it from free ranging?

    These may seem like stupid ?s, but they seem pretty important...
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I'd just buy a bag of shell pre crushed and cleaned from the feed store. It will last a long time and won't break the bank. Put it in a free choice feeder on the side and they will only eat what they need. They'd probably eat more if you did not buy layer. It's a good thing to have on the side if they get extra goodies.

    As for grit, if they eat more than just commercial food, yes they need grit, but, if they are on soil, you do not need to buy any as they get it from the ground.
  3. spookykim

    spookykim Songster

    Jul 16, 2008
    oyster shell is real cheap at the feed store. I can get a 50lb bag for 13$. I just got the 10lb for like 3 something. I think the work you would have to do to grind it up would not be worth it when its so cheap.
  4. redoak

    redoak Songster

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    I was thinking of picking up some grit for winter when the chickens get treats and won't see any soil from December until April.
  5. Rainman

    Rainman In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2008
    Woodinville WA.
    Quote:I'm lucky. I can go collect live oysters, eat them and then use the shells when I get my birds. [​IMG]
  6. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Birds don't need oyster shell until they are of an age to start laying and roos not at all. . . Mine eats about a tbsb. a day total, divided a.m. and p.m.

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