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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by the43k, Oct 22, 2014.
What are the opinions about feeding chickens their own shells for calcium? I advocate not to, because of the idea of it stimulating them to eat eggs. Your thoughts?
I wouldn't feed them back their own eggshells, anything thats come out of their body I wouldn't suggest you to feed back to them
Beyond personal beliefs, there is absolutely no reason not to feed the shells back to them - and plenty of benefit from doing so.
Egg shells presented in a dried, crushed form do not contribute at all to the issue of egg eating - neither does feeding chickens cooked egg. There is not an association in their brain between what is presented as a consumable (in a dish, scattered on the ground, etc) in a totally different form than that which they lay.
Put oyster shells in a separate contianer for them to eat. It helps harden the eggshells.
Yeah, I have mixed emotions. Its not the eating their own stuff, Although, I won't give them chicken meat from table scraps. I just worry about getting them accustomed to eating them, then it turns into whole eggs. Plus if I can't just throw in the shells and have to smash them up into little pieces, seem like something else I have to worry about.
Some people prefer not to give them eggs shells and others dont mind at all.
Ive had chickens for almost a year now.i have given them egg shells 2-4 times a week and not one has tried to eat her eggs.
The idea is to break their shells up into peices so they dont look like eggs anymore. Ive also read on here that you can crush the shells and bake them then give them to the chickens. I tried that but im lazy and just give it too them as is. I also mix it in with the food scraps i give them. They dont seem to notice.
Its much cheaper than buying oyster shells or some other form of calcium for thier diet becasue they are readily available after you use the eggs.
A few things to look at when you are getting soft eggs are (remember too much of any one of these ingredients can affect egg quality just the same as too little) --
Protein, Adequate levels of lysine and methionine is need to produce good egg shells. When pullets begin laying, there is an increase in protein, vitamin and mineral requirements per day due to deposition in the egg. If dietary protein is too low or the amino acid requirements are not met, poor egg production and hatchability will occur.
Calcium, The egg shell is composed primarily of calcium carbonate. The pullet's requirement for calciumis relatively low during the growing period, but when the first eggs are produced, the need is increased at least four times, with practically all of the increase being used for the productionof eggshells. Inadequate calcium consumption will result in decreased egg production and loweregg shell quality.
Hens store calcium in medullary bone, a specialized bone capable of rapid calcium turnover. As calcium stores are depleted, bones become brittle. In severe cases, hens are unable tostand. The condition is known as caged-layer fatigue. Birds on the ground or on litter floorsrecycle calcium and phosphorus through consumption of feces, and do not have caged-layer fatigue.
Calcium can be supplied in the diet as either ground limestone or oyster shell. Particlesize affects calcium availability. Usually the larger the particle size, the longer the particlewill be retained in the upper digestive tract. This means that the larger particles of thecalcium source are released more slowly, and this may be important for the continuity of shellformation, especially in the dark period when birds do not ordinarily eat.
Periodically, dolomitic limestone is offered to the feed industry. However, dolomitic limestone(which is used in the steel industry) should never be used in poultry diets. Dolomitic limestonecontains at least 10% magnesium, and this complexes with calcium or competes with calcium forabsorption sites in the intestines. The consequence of feeding dolomitic limestone is inducedcalcium deficiency.
Young birds should not be fed a high calcium layer diet because the calcium/phosphorus ratiowill be unbalanced, resulting in increased morbidity or mortality.
Phosphorus, The nutritional role of phosphorus is closely related to that of calcium. Both are constituentsof bone. The ratio of dietary calcium to phosphorus affects the absorption of both these elements;an excess of either one impedes absorption and can reduce egg production, shell quality and/orhatchability.
In addition to its function in bone, phosphorus plays a primary role in carbohydrate metabolism,is active in fat metabolism, and helps to regulate the acid-base balance of the body
Vitamin D, Vitamin D is required for normal calcium absorption and utilization. If inadequate levelsof vitamin D are fed, induced calcium deficiency quickly results and egg production decreases.
Feed grade vitamin D comes in two forms, D2 and D3. In most animals, both are equally potent. In birds, however, D3 is substantially more active than D2. In poultry diets, therefore, vitamin D must be supplied in the form of D3.
Magnesium, Magnesium is needed for healthy bones, proper nervous system functioning, and energy metabolism.
Fat, Dietary fat is a source of energy and of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid. A deficiency of linoleic acid will adversely affect egg production. Dietary fats also serve as "carriers"of fat-soluble vitamins, and some fat is necessary for absorption of vitamins. In fact, impairmentof the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) is the most serious consequence of a dietary deficiency of fat.
The general make up of a egg shell is --
Sodium, Potassium, Manganese, Iron and Copper............:traces
Organic matter...................................................................:< 2%
(* Note -- With Proteins it is easier to break down proteins that are animal based than plant based. On a second note watch high levels of linseed "Flax seed". Too much Flax Seed can cause health problems in chickens. Overfeeding flaxseed can cause problems for your hens because flax seed contains sticky compounds that stop the hen from digesting some of the nutrients in her diet. Flax seed also contains a compound called linoline that may increase the birds' vitamin requirements. Feeding too much flax seed can also cause production drops, small egg size, reduced body weight gain and thin egg shells. *)
As for calcium a source, your better off using a calcium carbonate oyster shell blend just because egg shells just don't make a good calcium source for chickens.
In short egg shells don't have the correct calcium particle size and it doesn't contain enough calcium to replace the calcium loss in the hen producing the egg. [ it takes roughly 2 large egg shell to replace the calcium that is lossed in a hen producing one egg ]
Yes, thats for the info.. I will post to my video too.