When to introduce oyster shell?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Eryniel, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Eryniel

    Eryniel Songster

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    I have 4 pullets that were hatched on Thanksgiving, 2 RIR's and 2 Black Sex Links. I also have a year old roo. Recently my 2 RIR's combs started turning a deep red, and their wattles have doubled in size (but my sex links haven't changed yet). Based on this, when should I begin leaving oyster shell out? I just bought some to have ready, but I'm not sure when to start leaving it in the coop.
    Below is a picture of one of my RIR's, and one of my Sex Links, for comparison. IMG_1573.JPG IMG_1581.jpg
     
  2. Boonie Stomper

    Boonie Stomper Songster

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    I would let them have access to some immediately but a measured amount so you can monitor their intake and limit if excessive. Once eggs start coming you will see effects of too little calcium ...or too much.
    Hopefully your girls will only eat as much as they need.
     
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  3. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

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    I would start offering it now, in a separate container, that is far enough from their food dish that the two do not end up getting mixed together on the floor.

    I have a flock of mixed aged birds and I always have oyster shell out. It my experience the youngsters ignore it until they start getting ready to lay. As a heads up, they may start eating it a few days before they actually start laying. So, don't get worried if you see a young hen at the oyster shell dish who is not laying yet.
     
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  4. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

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    I don't ration mine out. I've found that unless there is something off about a particular bird, they will eat what they need, and no more. That's been my experience, at least.
     
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  5. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Free Ranging

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    and don't be alarmed if you never see them eating the shells. they do not go at it as if it were cracked corn or treats..
    and you do not have to crush it up finely.
    a chicken can swallow a quarter. we took one out of a chicken we butchered..

    .....jiminwisc....
     
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  6. BlueChai

    BlueChai Chirping

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    Me personally, I introduced oyster shell for calcium and grit when chicks are around 2 months old, when they consume things other than feed. I don't give them a whole lot, just a sprinkle here and there in their food every so often. For my adults, I'll throw granite grit and oyster shell out when they are free ranging with their feed, and they pick it out if they feel like it.
     
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  7. Eryniel

    Eryniel Songster

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    Thank you for the responses! :hugs I will definitely put some out this afternoon, then. :love:clap Hopefully I'll soon have my first eggs. :yesss:
     
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  8. Boonie Stomper

    Boonie Stomper Songster

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    wow... i hope my chickens don't start eating stray coins. Surely the metal would be toxic ...perhaps the quarter killed the bird you found it in while butchering? :eek:
    On topic though. .. good to know they can handle chunks of oyster shell that big. Easier to bust up to that size.
    But, I have been afraid more that sharp points and edges especially with larger pieces might cause cuts or punctures?
    :idunno
     
  9. alexa009

    alexa009 Crossing the Road

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    Whenever your chickens are starting to hit maturity is probably when you can introduce them to it. Even as early as 10 weeks is fine.
     
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  10. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Free Ranging

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    not toxic at all..
    and don't worry about the sharpness of the oyster shells.. these objects end up in the gizzard and that is a really tough organ.
    chickens will pick up pieces of broken glass with no adverse affect..
    we had some geese get into a pail of 4d shingle nails and it didn't harm them,.
    don't underestimate the strength of the digestive tract in your birds..
    btw, the quarter was just about half worn away.. we could just see enough of the face to determine that it was a quarter..
    the quarter did not kill the chicken. it was her due time at butchering time..

    ........jiminwisc.....
     
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