Oyster shells

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sweetie pie, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. sweetie pie

    sweetie pie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 4 girls are 23 weeks old and have not laid eggs yet. Can I start giving them oyster shell even though they haven't laid an egg yet??[​IMG]
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    You can leave oyster shell out on the side anytime. Most people with mixed flocks feed some sort of all ages food and just have oyster shell available free choice to the chickens who want it. The hens will eat what they need and the chicks and younger birds will just leave it alone.
     
  3. sweetie pie

    sweetie pie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I don't have to wait till they start laying
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    There is no reason to offer it to them before they are laying. But you can have a bowl of it available for them, I would not mix shell in their feed or anything like that. If you decide to feed Layer, it is supposed to be a complete food, and if that is all they get they shouldn't need extra, but since most people do give their chickens scratch and treats etc, they often will still offer it.
    People with mixed age flocks or who just who feed an all ages food usually just have it out all the time, or will just throw some in the run occasionally. Chicks and younger birds won't bother it and the hens will usually just eat what they need.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Why would you want to? They don't need the calcium, and it's not going to make them start laying any sooner.
     
  6. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are 21 weeks and aren't laying yet. I have oyster shell available to them. They know what they need.
     
  7. sweetie pie

    sweetie pie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the information [​IMG]
     
  8. briansbarnyard

    briansbarnyard New Egg

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    My hens haven't started laying yet, but they are closing in on 20 weeks old. I am still feeding the grower but this week I added oyster shells to their feed. Is that a bad thing? Can't separate it now but in future I guess it should be kept in it's own dish. Although on the bag of shells it states "for automatic feed system" which I have with PVC tubing, so what's the harm?
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The automatic feeder comment is on the size of the oyster shell pieces. It has nothing to do with whether or not they can eat it or whether it can be mixed with the feed. You can easily set up an automatic feeder to offer the oyster shell on the side. That’s like some automatic chicken feeders can handle mash better and different ones can handle pellets better.

    If a hen is laying, it seems to instinctively know it needs the extra calcium and will eat the oyster shell. If the hen is not laying they usually won’t eat the extra calcium, at least not much, if it is offered on the side. If you have a rooster, he doesn’t lay eggs so he doesn’t need extra calcium. The ones that don’t need it may take a bite every now and then but not enough to do harm.

    What’s the harm in cramming excess calcium down their throats? What’s the harm in you eating too much calcium? Same thing. It can do internal damage to you or them. How much is too much? How much is too little? That’s the crux of the problem. If you know how much they need, not too little and not too much, go ahead and mix it. They are your chickens, you can mix it anyway if you wish. Personally I offer it on the side and let them make that decision.
     

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