Oyster shells before laying? Opinions needed...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lisahaschickens, May 7, 2009.

  1. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    Recently, we have found a local mill that is making us custom organic feed for our chickens. The lady there is extremely nice and helpful and says she has a degree in nutrition and has been doing this a long time. Her whole job is to design custom feeds and diets for poultry and other livestock.

    I talked to her the other day about our new feed mix, which I am sharing with someone else who uses it for her layers. I wanted to make sure that she diluted the calcium in it, as she previously said she would, so that it would be safe for my younger birds. And she said to me, "Yes, but you have oyster shells out for your birds at all times, right?"

    And I said, "Well, no. They're only 12 weeks old. I thought too much calcium before they are laying can be harmful to them."

    She then told me, "No! You should put it out for them now. Chickens are excellent at self-regulating what they do and don't need nutritionally. If you put them out now, they will be fine and in good shape when they get ready to lay."

    So, now here I am asking for more opinions on what she told me. It seems to fly in the face of what I read over and over again - that you should specifically NOT give them oyster shells until they are laying. But, she told me that they need them now and won't overdo it. So, now I'm confused.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  2. chilling in muscadine

    chilling in muscadine { I love being disfunctual }

    Jun 8, 2008
    muscadine, al.
    I would offer it to them now. They will know if there body needs it or not plus once you get eggs you will want them to have it to have stronger shells. The 50lb bags are not expensive and will last awhile.
     
  3. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    ok, thanks. That's what she said. I just know people get really worked up about not giving oyster shells to young chickens, so I just wanted to make sure it's not a concern for my birds. They will be 13 weeks old on Saturday. I will get some oyster shells for them by then.

    Thanks for the reassurance [​IMG]
     
  4. Snakeoil

    Snakeoil Chillin' With My Peeps

    358
    2
    120
    Jan 10, 2009
    SE Iowa
    Won't hurt to give it to them now...
     
  5. chilling in muscadine

    chilling in muscadine { I love being disfunctual }

    Jun 8, 2008
    muscadine, al.
    If your chicks were real little I would say don't give it to them but they are old enough to have it. It also helps with the same thing that grit does.
     
  6. Dr.Doorlock

    Dr.Doorlock Chillin' With My Peeps

    408
    1
    131
    Oct 21, 2008
    Garland, Texas
    When I went to get oyster shell for my soon-to-lay pullets, I had heard nothing about it having potential to be harmful. I was surprised to find my local feed store supplied coral rather than oyster shell. I have been putting a handful with every three of feed and the only result is a very good shell on their eggs every since they started laying.

    I hope this doesn't start the debate about harvesting coral. My research has shown this to be very regulated and actually benefitial to reef growth. It was also no more expensive than oyster shell.

    Has anyone but me used coral?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by