Oyster Shells..When to Start?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JaneyJ82, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. JaneyJ82

    JaneyJ82 In the Brooder

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    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!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Got my Puppy

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    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.
     
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  3. Mace Gill

    Mace Gill Songster

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    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
     
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  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    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.
     
  5. JaneyJ82

    JaneyJ82 In the Brooder

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    I'm going to have them on layer feed. Thanks for the info :)
     
  6. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

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    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
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
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  7. JaneyJ82

    JaneyJ82 In the Brooder

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    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.
     
  8. To add, you may want to fasten the dish you use to a wall or post, they may spill it. I screw all my chickens' bowls to a wall.
     
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  9. emkawa

    emkawa Chirping

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    question? can you give them REAL oyster shells? or does it need to be the processed stuff?
     
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  10. Mace Gill

    Mace Gill Songster

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    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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