Should I feed my chickens oyster shell?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by GracieN, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. GracieN

    GracieN Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2013
    I've been feeding my chickens oyster shells, but I've never had an egg without a shell. Is it even important to feed them oyster shell?
  2. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2011
    edited :

    Sorry, I read the first post wrong - I thought you said that you HAD gotten a shell-less egg.
    I give my girls (and my one boy) a 'flock raiser' feed with oyster shell on the side.

    Yes, it's important - in addition to a balanced diet appropriate for their age.

    How long have they had access to the shell?
    What else are they eating?
    How old are they?
    What breeds?
    How long have they been laying?
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are plenty of chickens worldwide that do fine without oyster shell. There is a lot of calcium in the world. They might get calcium form plants they eat or even the native rocks they use as grit if it is based on limestone. I’m talking about chickens that forage for all they eat. Wild birds lay eggs with shells and no one is feeding them oyster shell. A lot of those are pretty thin though.

    If you are feeding them Layer, it has a lot of calcium in it. If all they eat is Layer, they should be getting plenty of calcium for the egg shells.

    But it is also possible they are not getting enough calcium. Not all chickens live in an environment with plants or rock that will provide enough calcium, if they are allowed to forage at all. Many chickens eat things other than Layer so they may not be getting enough from that. Some hens have problems using the calcium they eat so need supplements.

    If what you are doing is working, I suggest you keep doing it. You can always withhold the oyster shell if you wish and see what happens. If your egg shells remain hard, they are getting enough calcium from somewhere. If they become thin, then yes they need some supplemental calcium and oyster shell is an easy and relatively cheap way to provide it.
  4. GracieN

    GracieN Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2013
    They have had access to oyster shell for about a month. I also feed them 16% layer feed and some scratch. We have a Rhode Island Red, a plymoth rock, a japanese bantam, and another one which Im not sure what it is. They are all about 2 years old.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by