When to feed hens shells or oyster?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JoycieBoycie, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. JoycieBoycie

    JoycieBoycie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am new to owning chicken and I'm learning as I go. Today, one of my hens laid our first egg, and I am so stoked about it! In total, we have 7 hens. If the other hens don't start laying soon, do I still provide the laying hen with crushed egg shells or oyster? Will the others avoid eating it? Also, are crushed egg shell and oyster the same in calcium? Or is one better than the other?
     
  2. chickcrack

    chickcrack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congrats on your first egg!
    I have found a small dish of free choice oyster shell separate from their food to be the easiest. Your hens will know when it's time to nibble on it and if not laying yet they may peck out of curiosity then leave it alone. I'm not positive if shells provide the same amount of calcium I just find it takes more time to bake them off and crush them than topping up the oyster shell every week (I'm lazy lol)
     
  3. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So my chickens are around the age of 18 weeks old. Still no eggs, (expected by 25 weeks). So should I put oyster shell in the coop yet? Or is it not necessary? Thanks.
     
  4. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    i was in the same situation as you 4+ week ago

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1121551/our-very-first-egg

    what i found out was

    it's ok to continue to feed your hens starter feed

    their eggs will not get to full size until 4-5 weeks after the 1st egg

    you can feed all hens starter feed

    once all of them starting to lay then you can switch over to layer feed


    are they still on starter feed ?

    switching to layer feed might help


    if the layer feed you are using provide enough oyster shell in it then there's no need to pay extra for oyster shell


    some people used crushed eggshells as a mean to cut down on cost..
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  5. chickcrack

    chickcrack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed! Mine are different ages so some laying/some not and 3 roosters. When you find yourself in that situation (and with chicken math you will lol) it's easiest to feed everyone grower or all flock and just provide a dish of oyster shell for the hens that need it. A bag of oyster shell isn't cheap but it lasts a loooooong time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  6. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    we already have eggshells readily available from our chickens

    i use this (bigger in size though) to crush the eggshells (crush first dry later or dry first then crush.. it's up to you)

    but since the layer feed i'm giving my hens provide 4% of calcium.. i didn't have to do this a lot.. plus they are free ranging all day..

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  7. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They're on layer feed. I'll have to check about on some things. Thanks.
     
  8. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    maybe your hens are late layers ?
     
  9. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, they're all slow maturing breeds. Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, and some Buffs. Not very surprised that it's taking this long.
     
  10. JoycieBoycie

    JoycieBoycie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great advice everyone! Thank you so much! Ill be off to the country store tomorrow to buy some oyster shell!
     

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