oyster shells??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickon baby, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. chickon baby

    chickon baby Songster

    Mar 26, 2009
    st charles
    My 3 big girls are 2 years old.Our 4 babies are 4 months.We feed them the correct food and add "oyster shells" in w/the feed.Everyday they eat all the feed and pick out the oyster shells.They are either all over the floor or left in the bottom of the feed dish.WHAT else can I give them to make sure they get the nutrients and benifits of what the oyster shells do? I know its suppose to help w/the egg shells being stronger,what else does it do? I tried breaking up the oyster shells into smaller pieces~what a joke.lol
    They do have a variety of treats/snacks in their diet.Especially this time of year w/the garden in full bloom.How important are the oyster shells? Is it a Must? Thanks for your help
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I buy crushed oyster shell from the feed store, and keep it available all the time in an empty tuna can nailed to an inside wall of the coop. If they want or need it, they take it. It's not mixed with the feed.
  3. saladin

    saladin Songster

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    If your birds have access to dirt and your feed is balanced as it should be then there is no need for oyster shells. saladin
  4. If your 4 month olds are not laying yet, they do not need the oyster shell. I have a tuna can of oyster shell & crushed eggshells screwed to the wall near their food; I never mix it in. They eat what they need to supply the calcium for their eggshells.
  5. chickon baby

    chickon baby Songster

    Mar 26, 2009
    st charles
    thanks for your help and advice.I will put the oyster shells out in a separate dish so they can have them when they want.our RIR's will be 4months on Sunday and they started laying this week...YEAH.. we were/are sooo eggcited..
  6. le neige homme

    le neige homme Chirping

    Jul 15, 2010
    Quote:That's a pretty big "if". The hens know whether they need it or not, so it's best to offer it free-choice.
  7. Organics North

    Organics North Songster

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Many back yard flock owners offer free choice calcium (oyster shells is one source) in a SEPARATE feeder 24x7. I know that is how I do it.
    This way you do not have to worry about Roosters or younger birds getting to much calcium from a feed that is designed for laying hens.

    Free range birds might get enough if the range is good enough.. But why chance it? Who wants soft shelled or easily broken eggs?

  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    There is a simple test to see if oyster shells are needed. How hard are your egg shells. If they are hard enough, they do not need oyster shells. If they are softer than they should be, they do need extra calcium such as oyster shell. If only one egg is soft and the rest are hard, you have a problem with an individual hen and how she processes calcium, not with how much calcium is available.

    If most of what they eat is layer feed, they probably don't need extra calcium, but regardless, it never hurts to offer it on the side so they can take what they need. But if your egg shells are hard, don't worry about it. You are doing great.

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