Both oyster shells and egg shells can serve as valuable calcium supplements for chickens, butthere are a few reasons why oyster shells are considered a better option. They are more easily digestible for chickens than eggshells. Oyster shells have a porous structure that allows for better breakdown, eggshells are denser and can be more challenging for chickens to break down effectively. First, let’s understand why you may want to supplement with oyster shells. The purpose of this as a supplement is for the quality of your flock’s eggs. The high calcium content and digestibility of oyster shells contribute to better shell quality in chicken eggs, reducing the chances of shell breakage or deformities.
Calcium Content of Oyster Shells Oyster shells generally contain a higher amount of calcium compared to egg shells. Calcium is a crucial nutrient for chickens as it helps in the formation of strong eggshells, supports skeletal health, and aids in proper muscle and nerve function. Slow Release Oyster shells release calcium slowly into the chicken’s system, allowing for better absorption and utilization. On the other hand, egg shells may break down more quickly, potentially resulting in a sudden influx of calcium that the chicken’s body cannot fully absorb. Digestibility Oyster shells are more easily digested by chickens due to their structure and composition. They contain a form of calcium carbonate that is readily absorbed by the chicken’s digestive system. Egg shells, although also composed of calcium carbonate, have a slightly different structure and may be less efficiently broken down and utilized by chickens.
What Should a Roost Be Made Of, How High, and What Size?
This can be a complicated question because the answer somewhat varies. Although most articles you’ll read will say 8 inches per bird, this in my opinion is an argument waiting to happen. When it comes to chickens, space means everything. Bigger is better to keep peace among a flock. If the roost is too small the birds lowest in the pecking order will be bullied. It’s best to avoid plastic and metal roosts, plastic is slippery, and metal can be either too cold or too hot, depending on the climate where you live. Wooden 2×2 roosts are the favorite, the flat surface allows chickens to roost comfortably and also allows them to cover their feet in cold weather. Round roosts make keeping their feet warm difficult. You can use 2×4 roosts too, but keep in mind that’s a bigger surface and may be harder to keep clean. The roost should be long enough to accommodate all the chickens in the flock. Ideally, each chicken should have at least 10 – 12 inches of roosting space. The roosting bars should be higher than the nest boxes, at least 3 feet high, but some higher would be preferred with a ladder or ramp to access. This also helps prevent injuries from your birds jumping down from a high roost. Harmony among the flock keeps everybody happy, so having more than one roost is recommended.
Need Some Help Choosing a Roost? Here Are Over 50 Different Types and Creative Ideas To View
Looking to build a flock that will give you a basket of colorful eggs? Here are 25 breeds to choose from. If you want to veer from the ordinary chicks you find at feed stores, I listed a few breeds that might interest you. But you’ll most likely have to order them from a hatchery. You’ll find those hard-to-find breeds Here.
Rhode Island Red –Brown Leghorn – White Orpington – Brown Plymouth Rock – Brown Sussex – Brown Australorp – Brown Welsummer – Dark Brown Marans – Dark Brown Easter Egger – Blue/Green Ameraucana – Blue/Green Olive Egger – Olive Green Cream Legbar – Blue Icelandic – White, Cream, or Light Blue Faverolle – Cream, or Dark Cream Hamburg – White Buckeye – Brown Barnevelder – Dark Brown Dorking – White Brahma – Brown Cochin – Brown Silkie – Cream Serama – Cream or Light Brown Polish – White or Cream Sultan – White Lakenvelder – White
What Age Is a Chick Fully Feathered & What Does That Mean?
Ideal Outdoor Temperature For Fully Feathered Chicks
The timing for moving chicks from a brooder to a coop depends on several factors. In general, chicks can be moved from the brooder to the coop when they are fully feathered, usually around 6-8 weeks of age. However, if you’re raising chicks in winter, they may need a heat source much longer, and in summer they may only need a heat source for a few weeks. You can determine the chicks’ comfort zone by their behavior. If the chicks are huddled together it’s most likely they’re cold. If some are eating, others active, and a few are resting, that’s a good indication they are quite comfortable.
What Does Fully Feathered Mean?
A fully feathered chick means its downy fluff has been replaced with real feathers. This usually occurs around 6-7 weeks of age, but not all breeds get their feathers at the same time. It’s better to observe the feathering process rather than the age of e bird. As a guideline, and in my opinion, when moving fully feathered chicks from the brooder to the coop, the ideal temperature would be around 65 -70 degrees. To achieve ideal climate conditions, the best time to start chicks is in Spring.
Adjusting Temperature Control in the Brooder
An important reason for having temperature control on the brooder is that it not only keeps baby chicks warm but also to prepare them for cooler temperatures as they grow. Each week the temperature in the brooder should be lowered by 5 degrees. The rule of thumb is as follows: Week 1: 95 degrees Week 2: 90 degrees Week 3: 85 degrees Week 4: 80 degrees Week 5: 75 degrees Week 6: 70 degrees Week 7: 65 degrees
If your birds are ready to be moved to their coop, happy moving day!
Not to worry, it’s your chick’s umbilical cord! Be sure not to confuse this with pasting, which is a poopy butt, this does need immediate attention. Usually, the umbilical cord falls off immediately during hatching, but sometimes it can hang around for a few days (or it falls off but the belly button takes a while to heal, leaving a scabby spot). This can happen whether you hatch at home or order from a hatchery. It’ll eventually fall off on its own, and the spot will heal as it does for a human infant. Don’t try and remove it. If the other chicks seem to be picking at it, you may have to separate this chick until it does fall off, but that isn’t usually necessary.
A New Way to Keep Your Chicken Coop Clean & Smelling Fresh
Coffee grounds chicken bedding is a new type of bedding material for chicken coops that utilizes used coffee grounds. Instead of disposing of the coffee grounds, they are repurposed as bedding material for chickens. The idea behind using coffee grounds as chicken bedding is that it is a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional bedding materials such as straw or pine shavings. Not to mention, the coop certainly would smell great! It’s important to note that coffee grounds should not be the only source of bedding material in a chicken coop. They can be used in combination with other materials such as pine shavings to provide a comfortable nesting box for egg-laying and broody hens. I haven’t found this new product anywhere in Phoenix, but other chicken keepers have found it available at Rural King. Unfortunately, we don’t have that store here. Some people have found it at Tractor Supply, but our neighborhood TSC hasn’t gotten on board with this new product yet. Therefore, I haven’t been able to try it, nevertheless, I wanted to at least keep my readers informed with new products that might make chicken-keeping chores easier. Using a long-handle litter scoop would be handy in keeping the coop clean on a daily basis. The litter scoop is available on Amazon.
Here’s what Rural King Farm & Home Store Says About Recycled Coffee Grounds Animal Bedding
Our 100% All Natural Animal Bedding is made from 100% recycled coffee grounds. To answer the question you’re asking yourself – Yes! It is completely safe for your animals. There is no caffeine or anything harmful in our coffee grounds. Our bedding makes your coop smell like your favorite local coffee shop, it doesn’t decompose and break down into dust, and it acts like a cat litter for your animals’ droppings, making for a quick and easy clean up! When you’re ready to swap out your used bedding for new, go ahead and toss our grounds in your compost pile or in the yard! Here are the Benefits: Grounds All Natural Animal Bedding is made from recycled coffee grounds and is great for chickens (chicks), ducks, and turkeys! Grounds bedding has a great coffee scent. Pet bedding has no dust and does not break down like traditional wood shavings. Small pet bedding is easy to clean and scoop out unwanted waste Natural pest repellent. Longer-lasting clean coop, less maintenance required. Made in the USA from recycled coffee grounds with virtually no caffeine. Spread 0.5-1 in. depth in the chicken coop.
There are a few videos on YouTube to help you decide if recycled coffee grounds for your coop is something you’re interested in. Check them out! Happy chicken keeping! 🙂
What The Labels Mean Which One is Right For Your Birds
There are many brands to choose from, these randomly picked brands will give you an idea of what each feed type is for. I have fed all these brands and have been happy with them.
Starter / Grower Feed
Specifically formulated for baby chicks. You will feed this all the way until the first egg.
Layer Pellets (I feed my hens this brand)
Layer Feed: This feed is for adult laying hens that are producing eggs. It usually contains higher levels of calcium and other nutrients to support egg production and shell formation. Also available in crumbles, either is suitable for your birds.
Broiler/ Meat Bird
This feed is formulated specifically for meat chickens, also known as broilers. It has higher levels of protein and energy to promote rapid weight gain and muscle development. I mix this higher protein feed in my Silkies’ feed as they tend to need a bit more protein than other breeds.
Scratch grains are a mixture of grains such as corn, wheat, and barley, and are typically fed as a treat or supplement rather than as a complete feed. Scratch should not be the sole source of nutrition.
Organic Feed (Expensive)
Organic chicken feed is made from ingredients that are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Medicated Chick Starter
Medicated chicken feed that contains added antibiotics. I use medicated feed for mail-order chicks for the first week after they arrive.