Oyster shells for my chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by alaskachick, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. alaskachick

    alaskachick Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Wasilla, Alaska
    My chickens are probably about 4 to 6 weeks away from laying. I am wondering if when they get close to 20 weeks and have not started laying yet, is it okay to introduce the oyster shell at that point, so that their first eggs will be harder and perhaps avoid the mis-shapeness that first eggs can have? Also... when I do start giving the oyster mash... how much do I give 11 chickens. Do I mix it in their food or throw it out like scratch? thanks
  2. We just set out a feeder with oyster shell. The ignored it pretty much at first but started laying earlier than we expected. Even though the feed we were using was supposed to be complete and we had the oyster shell available, we had a few weird eggs! Very few have been too soft but we did have one with no shell! The kids actually thought it was really cool! They were really excited about our first "fart" egg too, which ended up having a tiny yolk.
  3. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Songster

    I have a little wall feeder (intended for rabbits) on the wall inside the coop, and keep it full of oyster shells - my hens seem to eat what they need to keep their shells nice and strong. I suppose you could throw it out like scratch, but it kind of dissolves (the powdery part of it) if it gets wet, which is why I have it inside. From what I have read, you do not need to offer this until they actually start laying. It's not a mash, it is crushed up pieces of oyster shell.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I keep oyster shell free choice in an empty tuna can nailed to an inside wall of the coop where my current layers roost. They range freely during the day, but come back to eat, lay eggs, and sleep at night, of course.

    I have another coop where the next "batch" o' layers roost, but they're not laying yet, so I won't put the can o' crushed oyster shells in their coop until one of them lays her first egg.

    Everybody is on general purpose feed, so I don't have to provide different feeds by age. Just keep the oyster shell available.

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