Substitute for Oyster Shell

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by skillswife, May 5, 2011.

  1. skillswife

    skillswife Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2010
    SW Montana
    I am very allergic to oysters and was wondering if there is a substitute for oyster shell besides egg shells. Thanks!
    YBF likes this.
  2. CCourson05

    CCourson05 Popping like kettle corn...

    Jan 5, 2011
    Hickory Flat, MS
    The credit for this goes to BYC member, Imp:

    Here are some good sources of calcium:

    2.Turnip greens
    3.Mustard greens
    4.Collard greens
    5.Blackstrap molasses
    6.Swiss chard
    9.Mozzarella cheese
    10.Milk (goat's milk and cow's milk)
    11.Basil, thyme, dill seed, cinnamon, and peppermint leaves
    12.Romaine lettuce
    16.Sesame seeds
    19.Summer squash
    20.Green beans
    23.Brussel sprouts
    26.Crimini mushrooms

    Be aware that molasses can cause diarrhea in chickens, garlic can flavor eggs, and some people do not feed their chickens oranges.
  3. skillswife

    skillswife Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2010
    SW Montana
    Awesome Thank You!
  4. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    I think someone has posted something about a manufactured calcium supplement for chickens, but, unfortunately I don't know what it is or what the source of that calcium is. [​IMG]
  5. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2008
    High grade limestone is a suitable substitute. It is commonly used for industrial layer hens rather than oyster shell.

    The oyster shells packaged for sale to the poultry industry are (or were, a few years ago) derived from beds of fossilized oyster shells off the coast of the Carolinas and Georgis. They dredge them up at sea rather than collecting them from fish markets on the Cheapeake Bay or where ever. I doubt that there is anything left in those fossilz that would cause you concern. Certainly not after it had gone thru a hen.
    ChickenCanoe likes this.
  6. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    Quote:Great list! Thank you. [​IMG]
  7. Taylorhens

    Taylorhens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2011
    Aubrey, TX
    Quote:Great list! Thank you. [​IMG]

    I'm thrilled to see this list because my young chickens go NUTS over spinach. I feed it to them every day, along with their normal ration. I have been planning to buy some oyster as my pullets will be of laying age in another month...but for now I prefer giving them spinach. They also eat mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens and kale but they don't go crazy for anything the way they do for fresh spinach leaves.
  8. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Great list! Mine get collard greens because they are often in the sale bin at local groc store; got spinach too! I just toss it around their run and they stay busy pecking the leaves into bite size pieces!
  9. YBF

    YBF Just Hatched

    Jun 10, 2017
    Actually it can and does, if allergy is bad enough. We were using a recommended brand until I got ill. My son started doing the feedings and happened to read the bag and in small print it says "oyster shell." For 2 months I had been breathing in the dust from the crumble we were using and gradually getting sick. Doctors couldn't figure it out and it never dawned on me to check their feed. Stopped that feed and got one that doesn't have oyster shell in it. I'm all better and I can eat their eggs. So for those like me I'm so happy they asked and got good answers.
    lazy gardener likes this.
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Any good commercial laying pellet has sufficient calcium for eggshell formation. The certified information tag on the feed bag may say "limestone" or "calcium carbonate" instead of oyster shell. You can also substitute chick or hen sized granite or marble grit in place of oystershell. Most granite is 30-35% or so limestone and marble is a very hard and almost 100% pure unadulterated form of limestone rock, (the fossilized shells of wee tiny sea creatures) that has been compressed under a LOT of heat beneath the Earth's crust for a very long time? Go with Neil Grassbaugh's post. I forget how much or what percent of the Earth's crust is limestone or fossilized sea creatures but it is a significant chunk of the terraferma that you and I both are currently standing or sitting on.

    I highly suspect that by the time you fed your hens enough things like asparagus to fulfill their calcium requirements that they would be too malnourished (read this as dead from malnutrition) for you to ever again need to worry about them laying soft or weak shelled eggs.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017

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