Substitute for oyster shells and grit????

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Kath O, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. Kath O

    Kath O New Egg

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    Hola,

    I live in Mexico and I can not find oyster shells for my chickens. What do you suggest I use as a substitute? I’ve tried drying mussel shells and grinding them up but this is too labor intensive. I have 8 hens that are almost old enough to start laying. Also, grit is not available here. Can I just use sand? The chickens run around a small yard that has rocks and dirt but I'm not sure if that's good enough. Thanks for any information you can give me.
    Kath O
     
  2. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    [​IMG] If you feed them layer food it might have enough calcium in it for them to make eggs with hard shells. If the eggs have soft shells, you may have to find a source of calcium. I am not sure what else you could use. Hopefully someone will chime in with a suggestion. For your grit question, yes the sand and rocks that they are scratching around in should be fine. I don't feed mine any grit since they get to free range often.
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    Can you order it online here? Plenty of poultry suppliers carry oyster shell and may ship to Mexico. You could also try using Cuttle Bone which is given to caged pet indoor parrots for calcium, you can get that at pet shops.

    As far as grit, they don't need much and that also can be purchased on line. If you can find aquarium gravel for fish tanks, that will work, although some of the pieces are big. But there are plenty of other smaller stones in the bag. I have been collecting small stones from the ant hills that are so numerous around here in New Mexico.

    Good luck with your hens! [​IMG]
     
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    If your rocky ground has small stones/pebbles grit may not be an issue.

    Here are some other sources of calcium. May not be needed if the shells are good.

    1. Spinach & Swiss Chard
    2. Salmon & Sardines (canned with bones)
    3. Mustard, Collard, Kale & Turnip greens
    4. Shellfish
    5. Blackstrap molasses (can cause runny stools)
    6. Corn Tortillas
    7. Yogurt
    8. Mozzarella & Cheddar cheese
    9. Milk, Buttermilk (goat's milk and cow's milk)
    10. Basil, thyme, dill seed, cinnamon, and peppermint leaves
    11. Romaine lettuce
    12. Rhubarb
    13. Almonds, Peanuts & Brazil Nuts
    14. Black Beans, Dried Beans (Cooked)
    15. Sesame seeds
    16. Fennel
    17. Cabbage, Bok Choy, & Chinese cabbage
    18. Summer squash
    19. Green beans
    20. Garlic
    21. Tofu & Soybeans
    22. Brussel sprouts & Broccoli
    23. Oranges (Some people do not feed citrus to chickens)
    24. Asparagus & Okra
    25. Crimini mushrooms
    26. Foods Fortified with Calcium: Some Orange Juice, Breads, & Cereals

    Imp- Are there other chicken owners around that you can ask?
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Imp, I can't believe you missed hard shelled bugs. Also, if your native rock is limestone, they get lots of calcium from that.

    Of course, I agree with you that if the shells are good, you do not need to add more calcium. And if they are on rocky soil, they do not need grit.
     
  6. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Quote:[​IMG]

    I work in human nutrition, my mind only occasionally goes to eating bugs.

    KathO,
    Don't forget about feeding the shells back to the hens.

    Imp
     
  7. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chicken expert says you can feed them back their own eggshells, baked in a 350 oven first to kill bacteria, then crushed very fine. That's what I'll be doing when my girls start laying.
     
  8. Teeah3612

    Teeah3612 Out Of The Brooder

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    Growing up my mom always feed them their own eggs shells. I ask her one day recently about raising chickens and she said they raise themselves! You just need to give them a little feed and water. Sometimes I suspect we overthink things:/
     
  9. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    baked in a 350 oven first to kill bacteria

    There are no bacteria on those egg shells that the chickens won't get anyway.

    They already came OUT of the birds, and the birds are eating off the ground

    Chickens will eat maggots off a rotting carcass without harm

    Why worry about baking egg shells?​
     
  10. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:There are no bacteria on those egg shells that the chickens won't get anyway.

    They already came OUT of the birds, and the birds are eating off the ground

    Chickens will eat maggots off a rotting carcass without harm

    Why worry about baking egg shells?

    I agree with you about the bacteria. I do bake them though as I find they are easier to crush when they are thoroughly dried out. However this time of year when its hot and I don't run the oven much, I do sometimes end up crushing shells that have not been baked because they are plenty dry and taking up too much room uncrushed.
     

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