Friday, August 28, 2015

Calcium for Chickens

Here's the chicken question for all my hen experts/friends.
Do you all give your girls added calcium?
I'm not just concerned with the egg shell quality but also with their physical well being as the calcium is depleted from their bodies.
Is the calcium added to their feed enough?  If I add another form of calcium to their diet, what is too much?

They're only 7-8 months old so I've been told their calcium level should be optimum right now, but I'm assuming that egg production depletes their system even at this age.

I have been saving our egg shells, letting them dry out, and grinding them up to add to their feed.

Had only one instance of the girls attacking one of their eggs.  Occasionally I'll find an egg on the coop floor and yesterday morning, as I walked in they discovered an egg on the floor and ate the whole thing up.  If it happens again, I'll have to resort to a different method.

Anyway, can some of you share your knowledge and experience.


  1. I never give calcium extra to my chickens - their eggshelss are so hard and difficult to break, I think (am pretty sure) they don't need a calcium supplement...
    As for food : I give them a mixture of grain and corn, as well as every leftover from our dinnertable.
    But I do "return" them their own empty shells, I don't even bother grinding them (just crush the shells lightly), and they have never "attacked" one of their own eggs...

  2. Hi! I do not give my chickens extra calcium. I do however gently crush their egg shells, after I have used the delicious contents of course, and put them back out in the chicken yard. I find that sometimes they will devour them and other times they just leave them be. The times when they do not eat the shells I am assuming that do not need extra calcium and the times when they do eat the shells their body must be telling them to eat away! If an egg breaks the girls will indeed jump all over it and gobble it up but I have never had any trouble with them pecking at their eggs. My girls are also free range but have access to an organic feed at all times. Maybe they are getting all the calcium from the bugs and such that they are eating all over our farm. They are now 2 1/2 years old.

  3. Good grief! How did I miss this post. :) I can't seem to keep up with anything anymore. Neither do I give extra calcium. Occasionally over the years I have bought a little bag of crushed oyster shells for the hens, but never saw them eating any. I do save the egg shells in a little metal pan. Then after baking and the oven is still warm I put the egg shells in to dry them. They crush finer when drier. My hens love table scraps too.

  4. I DO give calcium, either free choice or spread into the feeder, in the form of oyster shells. The hens are free ranging on grass, and get all sorts of kitchen and garden scraps. In their second year of laying we do sometimes have a bit of trouble with weak shells.