oyster shells or egg shells?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lablover, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. lablover

    lablover Songster

    Apr 7, 2012
    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?
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    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.
  3. Habibs Hens

    Habibs Hens Cream Legbar Keeper

    Mar 31, 2012
    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
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle


    & 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

    1 person likes this.
  5. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    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;
    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.

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  6. lablover

    lablover Songster

    Apr 7, 2012
    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

    Jan 14, 2008
    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.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    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.
  9. spolley1

    spolley1 In the Brooder

    Aug 14, 2011
    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.
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    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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