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Why We Leave Oyster Shell Out of Our Feeds

oyster shell calcium chickens

When a hen is laying, she needs a higher level of calcium in order for her body to produce eggs with strong shells. However, providing a higher quantity of calcium equally among the flock during laying season may lead to problems if all your chickens aren’t laying. That is why we believe it is better to provide our Cluckin’ Good Oyster Shell as a separate supplement to the feed. Set the oyster shell to the side of the feed in a separate dish so birds can eat it “free choice.” This way, laying hens can eat the oyster shell that they need, while non-laying hens can leave that extra calcium source alone.

Our layer feeds are complete rations, formulated with enough calcium for the average laying hen. However, every hen is different, and their need for calcium may fluctuate over time. If they need calcium and do not receive it in their diet, their bodies will pull it from their bones. Adding both oyster shell and limestone into feeds could lead to non-laying chickens taking in too much calcium for the needs of their bodies. When a hen isn’t laying, the kidneys must process the additional calcium that isn’t being put toward producing eggshells. That extra work can put a strain on their kidneys. For hens that are laying, too much calcium in the diet can result in eggshells with extra calcium deposits on the exterior of the eggs.

If given the option of consuming oyster shell free choice, rather than mixed into their feed, chickens will only take the amount they need. If they aren’t currently laying, they simply will not eat the oyster shell. Chickens are amazing self-regulators!

Shop Scratch and Peck Oyster Shell Feed

The calcium in oyster shell is readily available for laying hens’ bodies to absorb, and our Cluckin’ Good Oyster Shell is specially flaked to a size that is easy to consume. Also of note, in order to absorb calcium, chickens need Vitamin D. Although Vitamin D is included in our feeds, letting your flock free range ensures they can absorb the calcium from Vitamin D from the sun. Plus, free ranging gives them a chance to stretch their legs, forage for bugs, and enjoy fresh greens. We believe that healthy, happy chickens produce the best eggs!

When feeding your flock, start with our nutritionally-balanced feeds, then supplement calcium with Cluckin’ Good Oyster Shell as needed. Your birds will be able to consume what they need, and you’ll get to enjoy the eggs that you love.

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