Poultry Grit and Oyster Shells??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by makern12, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. makern12

    makern12 Out Of The Brooder

    18
    0
    22
    Feb 19, 2009
    Denver, CO
    Do I need to feed my chicken poultry grit?

    Also, I heard that you can feed your chicken (chicken eggshells) opposed to oyster shells.

    Is that a reasonable substitute?

    Thanks for the love
     
  2. dale

    dale Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    32
    Nov 14, 2008
    1) Yes they need grit. If they free range they might find it on their own. Caged? Get them a tray of grit

    2) No. Bad idea, you don't want them to get the idea shells are for eating as they will eat the eggs they lay. Get them some oyster shell.
     
  3. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    4,654
    27
    251
    Jun 15, 2008
    Grit is a good idea unless you only feed poultry feed and nothing else. If they don't free range and you feed things other than poultry feed it is a necessity. They won't be able to digest many foods without grit. Free ranging chickens do find some of their own grit but it's still good to put out some just in case.

    Yes you can feed egg shell. Think about it... Humans even have trouble putting together the food in stores with where it comes from. A chicken is not going to figure it out. Just crush the egg shells and they'll have no clue what it is. Some don't even crush them. They just let the shells dry and throw them out with the rest of the treats. I would still provide some oyster shell or other calcium supplement though. Unless you eat enough eggs you can leave a pan of shells out constantly I wouldn't rely on only egg shells.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    With layer feed and not too many treats, the hens shouldn't really need another source of calcium. I feed Flock Raiser to the layers so having supplemental calcium is very important.

    If I was relying only on egg shells, I'd need to be getting them from someone's hens as well as my own. They don't have 100% efficient digestion so they can't turn 1 egg shell back into 1 egg shell.

    Since they do have oyster shells free choice, I usually throw the egg shells away. But, if they go back to the hens, they get crushed and mixed up with other kitchen scraps.

    I must have the most "gravelly" soil to be found in any backyard. I don't bother with buying grit and just make sure the hens can get out once a day. During times when snow covers the ground, they either have grit or I won't feed things like whole grain.

    Steve
     
  5. makern12

    makern12 Out Of The Brooder

    18
    0
    22
    Feb 19, 2009
    Denver, CO
    Thanks so much you guys are great!!! That was very helpful
     
  6. denimangle

    denimangle Out Of The Brooder

    68
    1
    33
    Feb 21, 2009
    Butler Texas
    Thanks for asking the question I was wondering the same thing ..

    The feed store told me all I needed was egg maker is there enough calcium in egg maker that I wouldn't need to add more?
    Cheryl
     
  7. Firefly1v

    Firefly1v Chillin' With My Peeps

    182
    4
    121
    Jan 13, 2009
    FL
    1 rule of thumb to think about is what do your eggs look like? If your hens are laying eggs with a lot of pumps on them (like little pimples) or you notice miss shaped eggs. You need the extra calcium, oyster shell or grit.

    The unusual shapes or pimples are caused by weak shells in the hen before she lays. If the egg breaks inside her before she lays she has to create an extra layer of calcium to go around the egg where it is weak or where it broke. This extra layer causes the bumps and thick bubbles/bands around the eggs.

    Rule 2: if your egg shells are real thin or easy to crack open you may need some.

    Rule 3: Look at your eggs through a bright light (like you are candling them) if your shells show a lot of lighter spots, meaning the light goes through them easier in a lot of places, you need to supplement.

    Thin eggs shells are not good eggs to hatch because the thin-ness let bacteria into the eggs.

    I learned this from a poultry professor at U of F years ago. Plus many other things, but these rules have never failed me to get good quality eggs and to help the hens when they need it.

    We feed our chickens a layer pellet, fresh veggies and peanut or alfalfa hay. We also let them out to graze as often as possible (we have a hawk and owl problem). I still have a pan filled with oyster grit for them to eat when ever they want and one 4LB bag last us a few months for a pen of 30 Large breed hens.

    Hope this helps you figure out what you need..
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Mixing the 2 terms "oyster shell" and "grit" leads to confusion. Grit usually means rocks - no nutrients for the diet in rocks. Oyster shell doesn't work too well as "grit" in chicken gizzards since it is quite soft but it does provide a lot of calcium in their diets.

    Quote:Cheryl, you are going to have to name the company that makes the "egg maker." ADM, Blue Seal, and Land o' Lakes (Purina), all sell something called "Egg Maker." Walmart even has an Egg Maker but you said feed store not big box. I've little doubt that local mills also sell products they call egg maker.

    Usually "complete" does mean "complete" and what they are saying is that the addition of scratch feeds dilutes the ration enuf that they are no longer complete. ADM does sell an Egg Maker Balancer with 20% protein made to be fed with their scratch grains.

    None of those websites seem to have the nutritional analysis for those products - altho' we could probably tease it out of the Purina site. We could assume that they would meet the minimum standards set by the gov'ment.

    Steve
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,961
    3,126
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    If you give them free choice access to oyster shell and grit, you cannot go wrong. If you do not give them free choice access, you might go wrong. Your choice.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. denimangle

    denimangle Out Of The Brooder

    68
    1
    33
    Feb 21, 2009
    Butler Texas
    digitS' :

    Mixing the 2 terms "oyster shell" and "grit" leads to confusion. Grit usually means rocks - no nutrients for the diet in rocks. Oyster shell doesn't work too well as "grit" in chicken gizzards since it is quite soft but it does provide a lot of calcium in their diets.

    Quote:Cheryl, you are going to have to name the company that makes the "egg maker." ADM, Blue Seal, and Land o' Lakes (Purina), all sell something called "Egg Maker." Walmart even has an Egg Maker but you said feed store not big box. I've little doubt that local mills also sell products they call egg maker.

    Usually "complete" does mean "complete" and what they are saying is that the addition of scratch feeds dilutes the ration enuf that they are no longer complete. ADM does sell an Egg Maker Balancer with 20% protein made to be fed with their scratch grains.

    None of those websites seem to have the nutritional analysis for those products - altho' we could probably tease it out of the Purina site. We could assume that they would meet the minimum standards set by the gov'ment.

    Steve

    The brand is Pilgrims 16% lay feed , Made by Pilgrims Pride.
    It says feed as sole ration.
    Cheryl​
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by