Oyster shells and Young flock memebers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Crysta, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Crysta

    Crysta Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2013
    Florida
    Hello BYC!
    I have been feeding all my chickens, even the layers, start and grow since my flock has young chickens in it. Yesterday my hen laid an huge, double yolk egg where the shell could have used so more calcium (it was hard shelled, but didn't compare to her previous eggs, and cracked when I put it down on a plate). They free range everyday and haven't had the need for oyster shells but I bought oyster shells just in case!

    I want to leave a bowl around for them to pick at, but I am worried my younger chickens will eat it... I've read about young chicks eating too much calcium and the health problems that accompany it.

    Does anyone have a flock of different ages and leave the oyster shells available to them? Do the younger chickens eat it?
    Should I just wait it out until all of them are "of age" to provide oyster shells?
     
  2. Crysta

    Crysta Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2013
    Florida
    [​IMG]
    Sorry for the blurry picture but it's the only one I have... And the typo in title >.< !!!!!! (MEMBERS***)
    This is the egg if anyone is curious. She is a new layer so this is rather large for her! In comparison to chap stick, a snack sized zip-lock and my pinky! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Any bird that doesn't need it won't eat it or at least not enough to matter.
    If one isn't feeding layer to layers, they need to make sure oyster shell is available all the time, especially in the afternoon when the egg usually enters the shell gland.
    Free ranging won't give enough calcium sources to provide the 3 grams or so of calcium that goes into the shell.
    I have 5 flocks currently. They're either multiple ages or hens (some laying and some not) and a rooster.
    They are all on a 16% organic finisher feed with 1% calcium. I keep a dish of oyster shell next to the feed and one next to the nests.
     
  4. Crysta

    Crysta Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2013
    Florida
    Just gave them a small bowl of the oyster shells. The youngsters seem to have very little interest in it. The hens didn't eat much but they did pick at it! I didn't know that it was a necessity to have it available, the egg shells have been so hard I assumed they didn't need it (but everyone knows what they say about assuming [​IMG]). Thank you for such a quick response along with the valuable information! The oyster shells will be regularly available to my flock!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Not having the oyster shell (or other calcium source) available for actively laying birds won't affect the egg shell immediately. They have a reserve in medullary bone but once that's depleted the birds can get rickets, egg binding and other issues. The thin shells will come just before or when those problems are severe.

    Oyster shell or calcium carbonate in small pebble size particles (1/2 cm.) are superior to the small particle in the layer feed. The larger particles stay in the upper digestive tract longer and therefor make contact with calcium absorption sites in the intestine when the bird is sleeping and the egg is usually in the shell gland.
     

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