oyster shells or egg shells?

lablover

Songster
7 Years
Apr 7, 2012
572
10
124
I have a roo with my flock of hens and do not want to feed layer feed to the roo. Adult chickens can't remain on grower crumbles can they? What kind of regular feed for them can I get at a feed store? I would then feed the calcium supplement as free choice, but I'm wondering if instead of oyster shells, I could feed them their own egg shells back to them? Is there anything wrong with that?
 

A.T. Hagan

Don't Panic
12 Years
Aug 13, 2007
5,379
192
303
North/Central Florida
Oyster or egg shells either way it doesn't matter.

But it's OK for the boy to eat layer feed just like the girls. They've been doing it ever since layer feed was first developed. He'll be OK. Roosters do not as a rule eat as much as a hen actively laying does so they don't get as much calcium.
 

Habibs Hens

Cream Legbar Keeper
7 Years
Mar 31, 2012
3,084
119
213
London, UK
My Coop
i would use oyster shell as egg shells can cause egg eating

but either way its your choice on it and as for feed

growers or layers is fine

and breeders pellets if you intend to breed them
 

Imp

All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle
11 Years
Sep 7, 2008
14,453
163
318
The Emerald City
My Coop
Oyster or egg shells either way it doesn't matter.

But it's OK for the boy to eat layer feed just like the girls. They've been doing it ever since layer feed was first developed. He'll be OK. Roosters do not as a rule eat as much as a hen actively laying does so they don't get as much calcium.
This

& roosters are larger with larger organs.

If you don't want to use Layer; here are some ideas for other sources of calcium:

1. Spinach & Swiss Chard
2. Salmon & Sardines (canned with bones)
3. Mustard, Collard, Kale & Turnip greens
4. Shellfish
5. Blackstrap molasses (can cause runny stools)
6. Corn Tortillas
7. Yogurt
8. Mozzarella & Cheddar cheese
9. Milk, Buttermilk (goat's milk and cow's milk)
10. Basil, thyme, dill seed, cinnamon, and peppermint leaves
11. Romaine lettuce
12. Rhubarb
13. Almonds, Peanuts & Brazil Nuts

14. Black Beans, Dried Beans (Cooked)
15. Sesame seeds
16. Fennel
17. Cabbage, Bok Choy, & Chinese cabbage
18. Summer squash
19. Green beans
20. Garlic
21. Tofu & Soybeans
22. Brussel sprouts & Broccoli
23. Oranges (Some people do not feed citrus to chickens)
24. Asparagus & Okra
25. Crimini mushrooms
26. Foods Fortified with Calcium: Some Orange Juice, Breads, & Cereals


Imp
 

Chris09

Circle (M) Ranch
10 Years
Jun 1, 2009
10,999
537
328
Ohio
You can feed everyone a Starter/Grower and offer Oyster Shells in a bowl off on the side.

Rooster as with Chicks and Non-Laying Hens don't do well on layer feed since it is a higher Calcium feed and they have no way to of using up the extra calcium that is in there diet like a hen can.
Roosters, Chicks and Non-Laying Hens that take in too much Calcium can suffer from Kidney Problems and even death.
For those who don't believe me google Calcium Toxicity in poultry also here is the feeding directions for Buckeye Nutrition 20% Layer Feed that has a
Calcium Min. of 3.00% and a Calcium Max of 4.0%;



Quote from Buckeye Nutrition;
40% grain. For lighter weight hens and hens in extremely heavy production, the level of Gold
Standard Laying Crumbles to grain may be increased to 70% Crumbles and 30% grain. Always
maintain a clean, fresh supply of water along with oyster shells and grit for the laying hens. Maintain
the birds in a clean, dry, and draft free environment. For hens to lay at their genetic potential,
daylight or artificial light must be maintained at between 14 and 16 hours per day.
Do not feed Gold Standard Laying Crumbles to any laying hens or young growing birds for extended
periods of time because the higher levels of calcium incorporated into the feed for egg shell
formation may cause harm to the birds.


Chris
 
Last edited:

lablover

Songster
7 Years
Apr 7, 2012
572
10
124
Thanks, everyone! I searched a little on here and did find that some fed layer feed to the boys, and some didn't.

I prefer not to feed the layer feed to the rooster, just because.

I was just wondering if feeding the hens their own egg shells would be enough calcium. For some reason, it just doesn't seem to even out lol. I also wondered if there was just a regular food for adult chickens. The adults would do fine on growers with some sort of calcium supplement?
 

NYREDS

Crowing
12 Years
Jan 14, 2008
5,644
424
303
For years all I've fed is a 22% protein grower crumble. I feed it from hatch onward & supply oyster shell &/or crushed egg shell for females in production. This feeding program has worked well for me & it simplifies things. I don't have to keep multiple feeds on hand & don't have to decide when to switch feeds.
BTW- you needn't worry about feeding egg shells causing egg eating. Chickens don't have the intellectual capacity to make the connection between crushed shells & the eggs they lay.That would require a level of abstract thinking they're just equipped for.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,245
14,566
727
Southeast Louisiana
Let your egg shells tell you. Regular feed other than Layer generally contains about 1% calcium. Layer is usually somewhere around the 4% calcium range. Both can vary some. Chickens need some calcium to maintain their body. It's not all for egg production.

If all the calcium they were getting came from the egg shells, no, that would not be enough. They would have to use some for body maintenance. But it is not. You saw Imp's list. Feeds other than Layer contain some calcium. If they free range or you give them "treats", they are probably getting some extra calcium, either from some of the plants they eat or the critters they eat. if you live in limestone country, they will get calcium from the gravel they use as grit. There are several potential sources of calcium available.

Is this extra calcium enough? I have no idea with yours. We all keep chickens in different conditions. If you egg shells are hard with you just feeding them back their egg shells, they are getting enough. If the egg shells are not hard, they need more calcium.

I agree with NYReds. Feeding them their own egg shells back will not cause them to be egg eaters. Just crush them up and see if they will even eat them. A lot of the time, mine won't touch them. They are getting enough calcium from other sources.
 

spolley1

In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 14, 2011
17
0
22
Baltimore MD
This thread contains great information. I am a new chicken mom this year. I have 2 RIR that are 20 weeks old and started laying last week. Friday and Sunday one of them layed a shelless egg. I just started my flock on 1/2 Layer feed and 1/2 Grower feed(what was left) and Oyster shell Thursday. I did some research and found this is not uncommon in new layers. I am going to hold out for another week before I change anything else.

Any other advice would be helpful.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
3,943
581
Southern Oregon
This thread contains great information. I am a new chicken mom this year. I have 2 RIR that are 20 weeks old and started laying last week. Friday and Sunday one of them layed a shelless egg. I just started my flock on 1/2 Layer feed and 1/2 Grower feed(what was left) and Oyster shell Thursday. I did some research and found this is not uncommon in new layers. I am going to hold out for another week before I change anything else.

Any other advice would be helpful.
Sounds like you're right on. And yes, it is quite common in a new layer and you don't usually need to jump in and start changing things. Humans females can have weird things happen when they first start a reproductive cycle, so can chickens. It usually sorts itself out nicely.
 

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