Start & Grow + Oyster Shell for laying hens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by GimmeCake, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ever since a incident involving PetSmart selling me a very small bag of hay for a outrageous price and telling me to only feed a very tiny bit to my Guinea Pigs, which is completely inappropriate, as they need 24/7 access to hay, I've been doing my own research before feeding a pet. So I just want to make sure what I'm planning on doing is ok :D.

    I'm getting 9 hens and a rooster and I want them all to be fed everything they need, including fresh grass, fresh berries, scratch, feed, ect. Now I'm worried that the rooster won't do too well on laying feed, and that the laying feed wont make good eggs. So from what I've heard, I'm thinking about using unmedicated Start & Grow and then feeding oyster shell to the hens only (The rooster shouldn't need it. Right?) for better egg shells. Will this work? I don't know if chick food like this is ok for laying hens.

    Also, just to ask, is the Purina Oyster Shell supplement a waste of money? Should I buy it somewhere else? It's about $4 where I live to buy a bag of it roughly equivalent to the size of a 5lb bag of feed, with the exception it weighs a lot less.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    What you're describing is pretty much what I've done for 20 years. I use my Grange's all-in-one feed, not layer. I toss handfuls of oyster shell in the run when I think of it. Don't worry about the rooster eating it, mine have tasted it and decided they don't like it. The funny thing is, though, they know the hens love it and call them to eat it! The start and grow or all-in-one is actually a higher protein feed than layer, personally I like that.

    With that many hens, that bag of oyster shell will last you probably a year or so. I did buy a 50lb bag for I think it was $8 from my Grange, so I did save some money but I'm not sure I'm EVER going to use all that oyster shell! So, you can buy a larger bag but have to have a place to store it. And yes, oyster shell can get wet and it's fine to use.
     
  3. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So if I leave it out, the rooster shouldn't eat it?
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    He'll probably taste it, but he won't eat enough to do anything. His system will just know he doesn't need it, it won't appeal to him. That's been my experience with probably 8 different roosters, anyway.
     
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I have never seen my rooster touch the oyster shell. He does call the hens over when I fill up the dish but he does not eat it himself, not that I've ever seen.

    I was just wondering why you think that layer feed for hens does not make for good eggs? The only difference between that and starter is the amount of protein and the extra calcium in the layer. My hens are fed a layer feed and lay very nice eggs!

    I have roosters in with my flock, they eat the layer feed. The roo I have now is going on 5 years old. I tried feeding flock raiser but I had several hens who did not, apparently, eat enough oyster shell and started getting thin shells. Went back to layer crumbles and the shells improved. Just something to watch for.
     
  6. LoneOak

    LoneOak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A quality laying feed is fine for your entire flock, offer them Oyster Shell in a separate feeder and the hens will eat it when they need it and yes they know if they need it. The rooster will be fine with layer feed and like others have said will most likely not even touch the oyster shell.

    Where I live the only choice I have in Starter Grower is medicated to prevent coccidiosis and once they reach laying age they no longer need the medication. You said you were going to get unmedicated starter feed, are you sure you can get that?

    I have a new flock now, not laying yet, but the flock of RIR and BSL I had before laid well for 4 years on the same layer feed. They started slacking off in year 5, then I had to get rid of them, gave most of them away, because I got real sick for a couple years and couldn't take care of them.
     
  7. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my questions still is unanswered. Is the $4 Purina Oyster Shell bag worth buying? Again, the size of the bag is exactly the same as the size of Start & Grow 5lb bags, and Flock Raiser 5lb bags.
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I thought I addressed that?
     
  9. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ohh, sorry. I read your post again, and I found the answer for what I was asking :D.
     

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