Oyster Shells

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Wanda P, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. Wanda P

    Wanda P New Egg

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    Sep 1, 2014
    Greenfield Center, NY
    I have a question regarding the use of oyster shells. The bag states you mix 1 pound of shells with 10 points of feed. I have seen threads where people are giving straight oyster shells to their pullets. I just want to confirm that this is okay.

    I have done the mixture ration with their feed, and I give them a scratch in their run each day can I add oyster shells to this as well?

    We are still experiencing egg eating. We have ceramic eggs in the nesting boxes, put up curtains on the outside of the nesting boxes; drastically reduced the amount of bedding in the nesting boxes to allow the eggs to roll around. We try to collect the eggs as quickly as possible but have no idea when they lay the eggs. They "sing" all the time with nothing.

    We have found a few outside untouched.

    I actually found a chicken in the process of eating an egg the other day.

    The eggs we are collecting vary in size but all the shells seem hard so I am not sure it is a shell issue.

    Extremely frustrating. as we go days without an egg. We have 10 RIR hatched 4/23. got our 1st egg 8/29. In all we have collected about 8 eggs in 3 weeks. We go days without an egg. I don't believe all are laying yet.

    They have an enclosed run so there really is no place they can "hide" an egg.

    We are new to this so any advise is appreciated.

    One frustrated[​IMG] mamma.
     
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    I never 'mix' my oyster shell with their layer feed. I offer it on the side of their feeders. Chickens just seem to know "I think I need some oyster shell today!" .. chickens..go figure!

    Here's my run setup, I have the same one in the coop:
    [​IMG]
    Still a work in progress (what isn't around the coop?!! [​IMG]) I have to straighten out that center feed tube and go to the hardware store and pick up another cinder block for the underside. The two on the left are their layer feed, the one on the right is oyster shell.
     
  3. Wanda P

    Wanda P New Egg

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    Sep 1, 2014
    Greenfield Center, NY
    Thank you!

    Love the photos of your coop feeders and waterers. My coop is no where near your size so that would not work for me…however I do have room outside for a dish/can of oyster shells. (at least until the snow flies) then I have an area in the coop for it.

    My girls love the outside so we are trying to figure out what we will do for the winter months so they can continue to go out. We are thinking of putting a cover over the top of their run area to keep the snow out.

    We live in upstate NY and the snow flies around here from early Nov through Mar/April. Long time for my ladies to be cooped in a coop[​IMG].

    We figure it out as we go and we love the information on this site.

    Again, many thanks your set up is lovely.
     
  4. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Gosh, my coop is just 5' x 8' and the attached run is 9' x 16'...not that huge really! Since you live where you get snow I'd be sure to put up a metal roof for sure. The plain grey metal roofing is really fairly cheap and goes up quickly (you're running out of time GF!!). What I'm going to do is to 'wrap' my run with 6-mil plastic sheeting leaving the top 12" or so uncovered for ventilation. That way they can still be out in the run even though there might be 3 feet of snow outside it'll be like a spa in there! Spoiled rotten girls I have!! Here's a pic of my run:
    [​IMG]
    I wish you all the very best...let me know what you decide to do!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
  5. evemfoster

    evemfoster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NE, Wa.
    Oyster shell on the side is best, if you mix the shells into the feed it is nearly imposable to tell how much they are really eating. And on the side allows hens that need more or less calcium to adjust their personal intake. But as you say the egg shells are nice and hard it may be damage during or after laying.

    Most of the time chickens are only eating eggs when one brakes in the nest, to clean up the nest box. You don't want less nesting material in the nest box, you want more. You can get broken eggs if there isn't enough padding in the nest box. Have you checked to see if there are little cracks in the eggs right after the hen dropped the egg. And they do drop the egg when laying it. The hen gets up and squats at the last second and the egg emerges and drops about 2-3 inches into the nest. If there isn't enough padding in the nest box the eggs will crack or break outright. Sometimes you have to put man made padding in the box. The best subjection i have seen is to line the bottom of the box with carpeting or use the fake grass carpet.
     
  6. MrsMeg

    MrsMeg New Egg

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    We had the most frustrating egg water problem!!! We never really knew who exactly was doing it. Tried to quarantine ones we thought were doing it and then they'd lay an egg and not peck it. The ONLY thing that worked was my husband modified our two nesting boxes (attached to the coop) to make them roll out boxes. 95% of time the eggs roll out!!! Sometimes one or two get stuck bs well get lucky and they won't get pecked. I would say we only have 1-2 eaten a week now vs 1-2 every day before!! We have 7 chickens.
     
  7. FryeFarm

    FryeFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    I read someone saying that they take a few eggs and blow them out then fill them with mustard, they said it worked for their hens and discouraged them from eating eggs. Haven't had this problem yet (knock on wood) but I will remember this if it actually helps.
     
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Wanda, if you're looking for ideas on how to winterize your run, here are some photos of how I did mine. https://www.backyardchickens.com/g/a/5992343/default/sort/display_order/page/120/ I used 6 mil plastic, but I made light weight frames out of firring strips that can be put up and taken down and reused every winter. Simply wrapping the run in large sheets of plastic was a headache when the wind would rip it down.

    For the main run, I used green house panels which are extremely light weight and indestructible. Also easy to put up and take down by using firring strips to hold them in place.

    Snow in a run is no fun for chickens or humans to deal with. A covered run is a necessity.
     
  9. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I have 3 separate tubes..... Granite Grit.... Eggs shells, roasted..... Oyster Shells.... They free feed on what ever they think they need....

    I have read where it is NOT recommended to add grit/shells to their feed... they may need more and can't find it.....

    Chickens know more than we do, about their feed requirements..... That's why I let them choose...



    [​IMG]
     
    2 people like this.
  10. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Central Oregon
    That is exactly what I'm doing, too @azygous ! Picked up a bundle of furring strips at the hardware store and awaiting the arrival of my roll of 6-mil greenhouse grade clear plastic...my girls will be toasty warm...spoiled little brats! Our ground out here freezes down hard...I mean HARD. Picking up a couple of bales of soft straw and spread inside the run so their feet won't be directly on that...
     

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