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Too much calcium?

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by KsKingBee, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. KsKingBee

    KsKingBee Overrun With Chickens

    As some of you know I feed a wet mash to my birds. We have a glut of chicken eggs right now so I am adding them to the recipe. I have been putting about a dozen in a five gallon bucket and got lazy the other day and just tossed the eggs, shell and all in the bucket and mixed them in. The shell size is very small, 1/4 inch might be the largest bits found in the mash.

    The birds are eating it all up, yearlings and mature alike. Now I am getting concerned that they might be getting too much calcium. What do ya'll think?
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    What's the percentage of calcium in the feed that your giving?

    -Kathy
     
  3. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you post a picture or tell us the calcium in your base feed?
     
  4. KsKingBee

    KsKingBee Overrun With Chickens

    The calcium level in my mix is between 2 and 3%, well within the recommended amount for peafowl.

    My question is if I 'force' them to eat shells that are hidden in the mash, will the excess calcium hurt them?

    Oh, nevermind. I'll just break the eggs and not feed the shells. [​IMG]
     
  5. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It won't hurt them majorly like a deficiency would in my opinion. May throw their body off but the body will find a way to use that extra calcium. Or possibly dispose of it through feces. Or possibly the body may adapt. In my opinion I would do the shells as a breeding season thing. Even though I've never seen your feed but I know with my feed pan that has meat bird crumbles and oyster shells mixed together my peafowl can pick through it. They're that great with their aim.
     
  6. Garden Peas

    Garden Peas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cool! Chemistry AND math in one question, yaay!

    So a little internet searching suggests that the eggshell itself is about 95% calcium carbonate, good old CaCO3. One source said eggshell powder is about 39% elemental calcium (so the other approximately 60% is going to be the carbonate fraction).

    If you weigh your eggshells (you only have to do this once, approximations will be close enough), then multiply by 0.4, that will be the approximate weight of the calcium. My guess is that when you then divide that weight in grams by the weight in grams of the amount of feed you are giving your flock at that feeding (don't include the weight of the water, though), you are going to find you have a very small number. Just guessing, but I'm thinking the number of grams in a dozen eggshells compared to the weight of feed for what, around 100 birds(?) is going to be much less than 1%.

    In other words, do the math one time, but I bet the difference in the amount of added calcium is less than the "slop" in the label calcium content of "between 2 - 3 %" from the bag.

    Does that help?

    I betcha @Birdrain92 can do the chemistry precisely, too!
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
  7. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The body needs calcium regularly for muscles and bone maintenance. Then the body needs more when growing feathers or laying eggs. In my opinion it would be better to have a little extra calcium than little less. If your hen uses some of her feathers to put into her nest that extra calcium can help with the feather growth. Egg shells the calcium will be used very quickly. I've seen it in people having "organic" chicken flocks. Eggshell quality is poor because they recycle the eggshells over and over and no other substances for calcium. The eggshell quality began to get worse and worse. If you wish to test it start giving your chickens forages and eggshells. You'll notice that the eggs will go from a smooth feeling (if they have the proper level of calcium) to a thin shell were you can feel all of the pores.
     
  8. Garden Peas

    Garden Peas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, yes -- all of this is true, calcium can get depleted. But we also know that too much calcium is bad for the kidneys and strains the system. So the question that @KsKingBee is asking makes sense... is this particular addition of calcium going to be beneficial or is it too much?

    We answer that question by figuring out how much calcium he would be adding with the eggshells, and then seeing how much that will change the total calcium he's feeding. You took chemistry in high school already, right? He doesn't need his feed to go over the 3% or he might be getting a little high on calcium My guesstimation is that the weight of the shells -- even a dozen of them -- is so much smaller than the dry weight of the feed he's assembling, that the added calcium (which is only about 40% of the weight of the eggshells) is going to be nearly negligible by the time he's done. But we need to know what the dry weight is of his feed, the weight of the eggshells, and how much calcium is in the feed already.

    I was wondering if you were going to go all molar quantity on the calculations for us [​IMG] Some of us are too old to be able to do it all in our heads anymore... [​IMG]
     
    2 people like this.
  9. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Favorite two subjects! USDA Large egg ways 2 ounces. I think that's with everything in it, not sure. Let's just say that's the egg shell weight to make things simple. It takes 16 ounces to make a one pound. Just to make things simple lets keep it in lbs. since that's what most feed bags are in, or at least in my area. If 40% of an eggshell is calcium itself than we multiply 2 ounces to 0.4. So that means 0.8 ounces of the eggshell is calcium. Lets say you have a 50lb bag of feed. For a daily life of peafowl they need roughly 2% calcium. For a peahen laying I think it would be maybe 3.5% calcium for a good quality egg shell and healthy peahen. To figure this out you would multiple 0.035 to 50 which equals 1.75. That means 1.75lbs of the 50lbs is pure calcium. We need to get it to ounces to make it on similar playing field. So we multiple 1.75 to 16. That way it's in ounces, which equals, 28 ounces of calcium. 40% of an egg shell is calcium. So we need to divide to get to the weight of egg shells in the feed, 70 ounces of egg shells. The reason why we divided is because we multiplied to go from egg shell weight to weight of calcium. To go backwards we have to divide. Then we divide that number by 2. That means there are 35 eggshells in that 50lb bag of feed in our scenario. To double check we can take 50 times it by 16 to get it into ounces. 800 ounces. Take 28 and divide it 800 and you come up with 0.035 which equals 3.5% calcium. It you wish to double check that you got the right percentage, take the weight of the nutrient itself and divide it by the weight of all the feed. The ironic part is we just had a test over make rations in my college Animal Science class. I hope this wasn't too confusing. Next thing I can teach you all is how to do Pearson squares.
     
  10. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is true that it can cause some kidney problems, for example kidney stones. With hens though the body will deposit the extra calcium onto the eggshell. Yet if you look at what can happen with too less of calcium, poor eggshell quality, possibly no shell, egg bound, stop laying entirely, muscle tremors, brittle bones, broken bones, muscle failure, coma and then death. Avians we already know that calcium is in eggs, peahens have a harder time passing shell less eggs compared to chickens, which can lead to egg bound and death. If not enough calcium in the body may stop laying, bones become brittle with calcium and can break easily. That's why I said it would be better to have a little extra than a little too less if you're not going to have the perfect ratio.
     

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