what vegetables are the best source of calcium that my chickens will love. we give them eggshells & oyster shells, looking for more. Spinach, beet greens ... any other suggestions they will gobble up ?
I LOOKED IT UP WHEN I HAPPENED TO ME I GAVE THEM SCARPS EVERY SO OFTEN AND MY EGG COUNT WENT DOWN?!? UNLESS YOU GIVE IT TO THEM ON A REGULAR BASIS IT GETS THEM OFF TRACK FOR A WHILE AND THEY WONT LAY AS LONG AS YOU GIVE THEN NO GIVE THEN GIVE AND NOT GIVE AND SO ON. SO UNLESS YOU GIVE IT TO THEM ON AN EVERY DAY BASIS DONT DO IT!!! BUT OTHER WISE THEY LIKE CHEREOS AND HONEY BUNCHES.
All those in the cabbage and mustard families, especially collards and kale. Sesame seeds have about 1600 mg per cup. I add sesame seeds to their feed. They love them and it seems to add to the thickness of their eggshells. It is also cheap and available throughout the year. Most white beans, seeds and greens, including grass, have usuable amounts of calcium. Figs, peaches and apricots have some, too. Mealworms and soldierflies and most hardshelled insects have calcium.
There is also a relationship between phosphorus, salt and protein and calcium uptake/retention. Too much salt and protein means the chickens will have to consume more calcium. Too little or too much phosphorus, the same thing.
I give mine access to greens, insects, fruits, calcium and phosphorus rich grains and seeds in addition to free oyster shell. They have never been eggbound and have hard shells.
I know this came up on my own calcium thread. It seems like many people here recommend spinach. I know I used to give it to my chooks. Maybe that was part of the problem. I always trust dlhunicorn, and she said no spinach.
For humans, oxalic acid is not as big as a problem as once thought. It seems that our digestive track can moderate some of the effects of oxalic acid. Not sure if this is the same thing for chickens. The good news is that oxalic acid is only a problem when it is consumed with a calcium source. It only binds with calcium while in the digestive track. It doesn't actually extract it from bones or cartilage. Too much protein, salt or phophorus, on the other hand, can have a negative effect on stored calcium.