Scratch and Peck Naturally Free layer feed- Do you need Oyster Shells too?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mrskenmore, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. mrskenmore

    mrskenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi All,

    My three girls are turning 16 weeks tomorrow and just about done with there chick feed bag. Once that is done I am switching over to a bag of Scratch and Peck naturally free layer feed since we are expecting eggs soon "wink wink, hope hope, fingers crossed!" They are in a coop and run and free range for about 12 hours a week. Do I need to give them oyster shells as well? Or is that what the layer feed is for. Since they are not laying yet I can't judge by the eggs yet.

    Any help would be appreciated!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Modern chickens lay a lot more eggs than they did hundreds of years ago. The evolution of layer and DP chickens requires that they get more calcium to build egg shells. Modern feeds are based on the commercial industry. They use a lighting program to cause lay commencement of all the birds at the same time. Most feeds are basically the same except for the level of calcium. Most feeds, intended for non layers is about 1% calcium. Layer feed is approximately 4% calcium. That is approximate for the needs of each bird. By providing oyster shell, the birds that feel the need for more calcium can pick it up.
     
  3. toynutz

    toynutz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently switched to Scratch and Peck layer but also offer oyster shells. From what I have read on BYC, oyster shells offer a different type of calcium particle... it is bigger and stays in their system longer, which is a good thing. So far, only one of my girls is laying but her eggs have all been perfect little beauties!
     
  4. mrskenmore

    mrskenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much- Do I also need to supply grit? What is the difference between grit and oyster shells for almost laying hens?
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Grit is insoluble sharp flint or granite which lodges in the gizzard and aids digestion by helping that muscular organ grind food.
    Oyster shells are soluble, serve no purpose other than provide calcium if the hen feels the need for more. Being soluble, it is pretty well mush by the time it hits the gizzard.
    Grit should actually be given to all ages. Many say that if chickens eat only chicken feed they don't need it because the grain is already ground but grit helps the gizzard develop. I sprinkle #1 grit on chicks feed the first week and then provide it in a separate container thereafter.
    There's good grit information on this link.
    http://www.tccmaterials.com/pdf/CSpoultrygritdata.pdf
     
  6. Sylviaanne

    Sylviaanne Overrun With Chickens

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    The evolution of layer and DP chickens requires that they get more calcium to build egg shells.

    Ok, what does DP mean and does sand do the same as grit?
     
  7. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    DP = Dual Purpose. Meaning birds that lay lots of eggs but are also sizable enough to make good meat birds. I don't think sand makes good grit as the particle size is too small. If there are small pebbles about then chickens will likely find them. But I still provide a container of grit next to their food dishes.
     
  8. mrskenmore

    mrskenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Sand makes a good Grit, just get the All Purpose Sand not Play Sand.
    It comes in a 50 lb bag and runs 3.00 +/-
     
  10. mrskenmore

    mrskenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!- The run is sand, so I know they are getting some of that each day!
     

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