oyster shells and grit

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by squat, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. squat

    squat Out Of The Brooder

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    We have 5 hens about 1 year old. We have been saving the eggshells and crushing them, then feeding them to our chickens for the calcium. Do we still need to give them crushed oyster shells and if so, why?

    Also, If we give them grit, do they still need oyster shells or are the two equal in purpose?
     
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You haven't told us what your hens are eating. If they have laying mash, they probably do not need another source of calcium.

    A hen's digestive system is not 100% efficient. She cannot turn 1 eggshell into 1 eggshell. If her diet is otherwise low in calcium, "recycling" eggshells is not likely to be adequate.

    Grit is often granite. It is not a source of calcium for the hen but, rather, an aid for digesting coarse foods like grain. Grit and oyster shell are not provided for the same purpose. Oyster shell is too soft to be of much use in the gizzard for grinding grain.

    I hope this helps.

    Steve
     
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Does your layer feed have any calcium in it at all? If so, you'll probably do fine if you offer the crushed egg shells as long as you have enough egg shells to offer it regularly. If you start noticing fragile eggshells then you'll know they're not getting enough calcium.
    Grit is for digestion and cannot be replaced by oyster shell. If your chickens are not allowed to scratch and peck where they can pick up small stones/pebbles themselves then they will need you to offer it.
     
  4. squat

    squat Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2008
    Our hens have always had the higher protein content lay mash.

    If they need calcium, is that what the oyster shells are for?

    Thank you!
     
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's it.

    Oyster shells can be used as a supplement for the human diet also as a source of calcium carbonate.

    Chickens are supposed to be good at self-regulating their calcium intake by having oyster shells free-choice.

    Steve
     

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