What did our great grandparents do about oyster shell?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chirpy, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    My grand parents and great grandparents had chickens running all over the farm when I was growing up. I don't even know if they ever locked them up at night or how they took care of them... there was just always a whole bunch of them scratching around. I used to love watching them - I'm pretty sure it's my grandparents fault I have my own now. [​IMG]

    Anyway, I know that they never gave their chickens oyster shells. And, I'm pretty sure they only got table scraps for feed (my grandparents couldn't afford chicken food for them) so how was it that their chickens egg shells always seemed fine. (At least, this is what I remember... it was eons ago. [​IMG])

    What would we do if we didn't have access to oyster shells today? I reuse my egg shells by baking them and crushing them up and giving them back to my chickens but would that be enough, over time, to keep their shells hard?

  2. GaDawg

    GaDawg Songster

    May 16, 2008
    North GA
    I had chickens several years ago and I never gave oyster shell or egg shell to them and never had any problems with their eggs. I don't plan on giving anything but layers feed to the ones I have now. They have just started laying and their shells are thicker than what you buy in the store. They do free range in the evening so I think they get all that they need, we'll see....[​IMG]
  3. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    I'm guessing the chickens probably got the dietary calcium they needed from the bugs they found.

    I've got a very small urban yard, so my girls couldn't possibly get all their needs from bugs.
  4. cluckychick

    cluckychick Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    South of KCMO
    My chickens don't free range and I supply calcium but don't think they use it because it's buried under shavings and their shells are hard. My parents nor my grandparents supplyed anthing other than what was cheapest and available at the time for feed and I don't think supplied calcium was in the monetary means.

  5. AussieSharon

    AussieSharon Songster

    Dec 18, 2007
    My Grandparents raised chickens in the 30's all the way up to the 80's. My Grandfather would get what we call in Australia "shell grit" He used to get it when they lived in England too.

    Basically it's the broken pieces of seashells you can get at the beach. I remember as a kid going to the beach specifically to get some shell grit. We'd scoop several buckets full of the broken sea shells and take it home for the chickens.
  6. Anny

    Anny Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    Well if the chickens are always out wondering around the yard chances are they are getting LOTS of bugs and fresh grass and plants to eat so they wont need much feed anyways. Plus since they are out eating what ever they find they are getting lots of good proteins and calcium and other goodies from all this stuff (greens have lots of calcium in them!)

    Plus since they are getting table scrapes they probly also got fed egg shells.
  7. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    My grandparents fed their flocks fish bones and crushed egg shells.

  8. MagsC

    MagsC Queen Of Clueless

    Jul 27, 2008
    Mine fed the crushed eggshells as well. Much of what the chickens needed was provided by being free ranging.
  9. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    If you are lucky enough to find any old agricultural text books or magazines from the turn of the century (20th, not 21st), poultry farmers fed oyster shell or some other calcium-containing product. It has been around for a long time.

  10. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Most great grandparents did't bother to suppliment calcium, put most didn't have garbage pick up either. Chickens would pick through the garbage to find egg shells and such.

    They also replaced their flock every 1-2 years and ate the older birds, so it didn't matter that the birds were using up calcium from their own bones.

    If you intend to keep the same birds more than a year its best to suppliment the calcium.

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