Oyster Shells..When to Start?

JaneyJ82

In the Brooder
Jun 2, 2017
16
4
35
Hi There! I'm a newbie here and have 6 girls arriving this Tuesday. They will be about 16 weeks old. I'm wondering when I should start them on the oyster shells? Should I wait until they start laying?
Thanks!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
41,312
65,846
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Wisconsin
Generally you can put a separate dish out after you get your first egg. You can put it out sooner if you wish too, it won't cause any problems. Generally hens don't start consuming it after they have been laying for a bit.
 

Mace Gill

Songster
May 26, 2017
591
869
186
New Jersey
Hi There! I'm a newbie here and have 6 girls arriving this Tuesday. They will be about 16 weeks old. I'm wondering when I should start them on the oyster shells? Should I wait until they start laying?
Thanks!
Start them NOW! They will want to build up calcium to ramp up to laying. Don't mix it with their feed, they'll know what they need to take and when to take it ... leave it available for them in a side dish
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
26,873
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CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
What are you planning to feed them? If you are giving a multi flock feed, they definitely need to have supplemental oyster shell on the side. I agree with MG. Set it out for them right away. They will self regulate. If you are giving them a layer feed, the OS is not as important, but it wouldn't hurt to have it available.
 

JaneyJ82

In the Brooder
Jun 2, 2017
16
4
35
What are you planning to feed them? If you are giving a multi flock feed, they definitely need to have supplemental oyster shell on the side. I agree with MG. Set it out for them right away. They will self regulate. If you are giving them a layer feed, the OS is not as important, but it wouldn't hurt to have it available.
I'm going to have them on layer feed. Thanks for the info :)
 

GC-Raptor

Crowing
Jul 26, 2016
4,069
5,660
441
Connecticut, USA
I use a layers feed and offer them oyster shell in a separate container. If you give them treats and or free range, like me, they may not eat enough layers feed to get the calcium needed for strong shells.
I offered my girls oyster shell around 20 weeks after 1 girl started to lay soft shell eggs. I would offer it at 16 weeks with my next batch of chicks. GC
 
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JaneyJ82

In the Brooder
Jun 2, 2017
16
4
35
I use a layers feed and offer them oyster shell in a separate container. If you give them treats and or free range, like me, they may not eat enough layers feed to get the calcium needed for strong shells.
I offered my girls oyster shell around 20 weeks after 1 girl started to lay soft shell eggs. I would offer it at 16 weeks with my next batch of chicks. GC
Thanks for the advice! I will be free-ranging our girls and I'm sure my kids will be giving them treats now and again.
 

Mace Gill

Songster
May 26, 2017
591
869
186
New Jersey
question? can you give them REAL oyster shells? or does it need to be the processed stuff?
Real is okay provided they are crushed up and have no sharp edges. You can use egg shells too, but they should have the membranes removed, lightly baked to avoid salmonella, and crushed up fine so that they don't LOOK anything like an egg!
 

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