why would I offer it?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BigDaddy'sGurl, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    I am fairly new to the whole chicken thing...but I have several laying hens, two that lay daily and a couple more that are still settling in. I keep reading how everyone offers unlimited oyster shells...the laying crumbles I feed my birds specifically say "complete" and have a very high amount of calcium in them but it seems like many people STILL offer shells. Why? My hens lay perfect eggs nearly every day...are my birds just special or is this really something I should be doing? If it ain't broke don't fix it, IMO...
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  2. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Discounting the fact that I'm feeding gamebird right now and it doesn't have the extra calcium in it I still keep oyster shell out when they are on layer because: I have 50+ birds right now and there are always a few oddballs that just seem to need more so I keep it available.

    Hens that lay thin and/or soft shelled eggs more than once in a great while are at a higher risk for becoming egg bound and also (I think, but not 100% here) for internal laying. I paid less then $8 for a 50lb bag of oyster shell that will last at least 4 months (with 40 + layers)and would probably last over a year if I was feeding layer instead of gamebird so for me it's cheap insurance against a partially preventable health issue.
  3. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    that makes sense, thanks! with my hens I have actually had the opposite problem: after incubating some of their eggs and having my BR hen's chicks die before external pipping (they pipped internally but never got further) I realized that her eggs seem thicker than the other hen's eggs...and they eat the exact same feed and no oyster shells...I guess birds are like people in that their vitamin needs differ...evidently my BR hen needs LESS calcium for some reason.
  4. mgw

    mgw Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Eastern Wa.
    I have no idea about oyster shell either but I give it to them anyway LOL. Im such a Lemming! [​IMG]
  5. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    Quote:So true! I have a mixed age flock so feed a flockraiser as there is no way for me to separate feed, but the laying hens need the oyster shell to supplement as the level of calcium in flockraiser is pretty low. I also have one of those oddball hens that regardless of free choice oyster shell available still will lay a soft shelled egg pretty regularly. As Kittymomma said, its cheap and easy to keep around and is good insurance to at least try to prevent internal laying issues which, if you ask many BYCers around here, is a real issue especially with hatchery birds and has no real cure.
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Like Neeley, I have a flock of various ages with many who should not have the extra calcium in the layer feed. When I did put out two different feeds, the layers found the grower/finisher feed irresistible and ate it INSTEAD of the layer feed offered inside their coop. Had a couple soft eggs from that short period of time.

    Plus, the ducks don't go into the chicken coop so they needed a calcium source. So it's all grower/finisher with free choice crushed oyster shell for anybody who wants it.

    I also have an occasional egg eater, so "okay" but thinner shelled eggs tempted whichever one of those pullets was doing it. The extra calcium helps make NICE hard shells.

    It's SO cheap, if ya get it in the 50# bags (as I discovered finally).

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