Can Ducks Eat Oyster Shells?

Oyster shell: If your laying ducks are eating a high-quality laying ration, oyster shell is typically not required. Consider adding crushed oyster shell to your ducks’ food if they continue to lay eggs with pits or thin shells while eating a healthy diet.


Every time they lay an egg, they use calcium that has been stored in their bodies. Oyster shell aids in replenishing that. It won’t induce them to lie. They seem to intuitively know when to eat it. My ducks never touched the oyster shells in their bowl when they weren’t nesting. Additionally, the drake never touches it. They eat it now that they lay every day. They are intuitive.

What You Should Feed Your Ducks, The Right Stuff

Ducklings that have just hatched require a formula that is high in protein (18 to 20 percent) and contains well-balanced amino acids. Add 5 to 7 pounds of brewer’s yeast per 100 pounds of chick feed to increase the niacin content. Keep the ducks on this initial diet because they will need a high-protein diet for the rest of their lives.

However, hens raised for egg production live longer if they aren’t forced to grow to their full potential, so around 9 weeks, transfer them to a lower-protein (14 percent) maintenance feed. Cut the maintenance feed with uncooked oatmeal or oats while progressively increasing the volume share of oats from 5% to 25%. A chicken layer feed should be added to improve calcium when the hens are laying. Cracked corn can be added as a supplement in the winter to help layer and meat ducks get the extra calories they need to stay warm.

Due to the lack of teeth and reliance on their gizzards to grind food, ducks need a constant supply of granite grit. For ducklings, use grit the size of a chick; for adults, use grit the size of a chicken. Laying hens have access to an additional calcium supply in the form of crushed oyster shells. (Provide the bird with both the oyster and granite shells so it may decide which one it needs.)

All domesticated breeds, with the exception of Muscovys, are dabblers; as they eat, they dip their beaks into water to simultaneously swallow and sip. Even the largest chick waterers won’t be deep enough to allow adult ducks to engage in dabbling behavior. Small chick waterers are fine for young ducklings. Instead, give them a deep dish or shallow bucket. Drinking water that has been contaminated by dabbling must be changed at least once daily.

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Ducks Need Tenacity

Ducks also require grit, which is comprised of tiny rocks or fragments of shell. To aid in food grinding, they employ the grit in their gizzards, a tiny muscular organ.

If your duck yard doesn’t have small stones, you can buy commercial grit. Ducks eat small stones they locate while foraging to utilize as grit. For grown ducks, use adult grit or oyster shells; for ducklings, use chick grit.

Using powdered oyster shells as grit for your ducks’ eggs also functions as a calcium supplement for healthy egg shells if they are laying them. The mixtures of coral and oyster shell are not a favorite with our ducks.

Is oyster shell edible to geese?

Be aware that geese require more niacin (vitamin B3) than chickens or even ducks when choosing what to feed them! Brewer’s yeast can be supplemented by adding 1.5 TBS per cup of feed or 2 cups of brewer’s yeast for 10 lbs. of feed. Liquid vitamin B3 with 500 mg of niacin per 4 litres of water is another effective source of the vitamin.

Because they lack teeth, geese may have slightly more difficult digestion. Food is ingested by the animal, stored in its crop, and then transported to the gizzard. Food begins to break down in the gizzard to be digested, but grit is required. Small rocks, sand, or oyster shells must be easily accessible if grit is to be used.

Do hens consume oyster shell?

Crushed (also known as ground) oyster shell is the most well-known and dependable method for ensuring that your hens consume an adequate amount of calcium in their diet. It contains more than 95% of the calcium carbonate that laying hens require to produce eggs with robust shells.

You can purchase it online or from your local feed store, albeit the former will be significantly less expensive!

  • Insoluble is grit. It grinds food inside the gizzard where it remains.
  • In the intestines, oyster shell dissolves. Its purpose is to supplement the diet of laying hens with the essential mineral calcium, not to aid in digestion.

How are crushed oyster shells fed to chickens?

A hen’s body requires more calcium during the laying period in order to produce eggs with robust shells. However, if not all of your chickens are laying during the laying season, giving the flock a larger amount of calcium could cause issues. Because of this, we think it is preferable to include our Cluckin’ Good Oyster Shell as a separate addition to the feed as opposed to including it in our Naturally Free Organic Layer or Organic Layer with Corn. Oyster shell should be placed in a separate dish from the feed so that birds can eat it “free choice.” In this manner, the extra calcium supply can be left alone by non-laying hens while laying chickens can consume the oyster shell that they require.

Our layer feeds are full rations with an adequate amount of calcium for the typical laying hen. But because each hen is unique, their calcium requirements may change over time. If they don’t get enough calcium in their food and they need it, their bodies will take it from their bones. When oyster shell and limestone are added to feeds, non-laying chickens may consume more calcium than their bodies actually require. The extra calcium that isn’t used to make eggshells when a hen isn’t laying must be processed by the kidneys. Their kidneys may become strained from the additional work. Too much calcium in the diet of hens that are laying eggs can lead to eggshells with excess calcium deposits on the outside of the eggs.

Chickens will only eat what they need if given the chance to consume oyster shell free choice rather than having it blended into their feed. Simply said, they won’t consume the oyster shell if they aren’t currently laying any eggs. Amazing self-regulators include chickens!

Our Cluckin’ Good Oyster Shell is specifically flaked to a size that is easy to ingest, and the calcium in oyster shell is readily available for laying hens’ bodies to absorb. Also of note is the requirement of Vitamin D for calcium absorption in chickens. Allowing your flock to roam freely allows they can absorb the calcium from Vitamin D from the sun, even though it is present in our feeds. Additionally, allowing them to roam freely allows them to get some exercise, hunt for bugs, and eat healthy greens. The best eggs, in our opinion, are produced by healthy, content hens!

Start by giving your flock our nutritionally sound diets, and if needed, add calcium supplements like Cluckin’ Good Oyster Shell. You’ll get to enjoy the eggs you adore and your birds will be able to eat what they require.

What should ducks avoid eating?

It is never a good idea to feed birds bread, chips, crackers, donuts, cereal, popcorn, and other similar bread-like products and scraps. Giving bread to ducks is undesirable because it has poor nutritional value, can stunt their growth, pollutes waterways, and draws in rats and other pests.

What can oyster shells be used for?

You’ve just finished devouring a platter of delectable oysters, and the plate is now covered in shells. Here are various alternatives to trashing your used oyster shells for usage or disposal. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who submitted us suggestions, as many of these came from our online community.

Calcium carbonate, also known as chalk, which makes up the majority of oyster shells, can help buffer soil acidity and supply plants and microorganisms with essential calcium. Additionally, the oyster shell’s texture aids in preventing soil compaction, which can enhance soil aeration. Compost, soil amendments, and mulch can all be made from oyster shells. Just be sure to disinfect the oyster shells by boiling them before using them in your garden. Your oyster shells’ efficacy as a soil component and in compost can be increased by crushing them.

Did you know that Americans use oyster shells to line driveways and even the walks by their homes? Oysters can be a stunning, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly landscape item that even works to stop erosion.

Beautiful wreaths, decorations, and ornaments can be made from cleaned oyster shells. The robust shells are useful for a number of crafts, and the smooth interior shell is ideal for painting.

You might think about contacting an oyster shell recycling organization if you consume a lot of oysters (or if you purchased one of our bulk CSA add-ons). Programs for raising oysters, like the Mass Oyster Project, gather and clean the shells before using them to plant seeds for new oyster beds. The Mass Oyster Project and shell recycling may be read more about here.

What other ideas do you have for using your oyster shells? Comment below and let us know!

How frequently should hens be given oyster shells?

Give your laying hens free access to an oyster shell feeder or bowl that has been set aside.

While oyster shell can be added to the feed, doing so runs the danger of giving chickens that don’t need oyster shell too much calcium.

The best option is to let the birds control how much calcium they consume on their own.

Place a basin full of oyster shell next to the food you give your hens. Your hens will determine when and how much to eat.

Simply fill it up again when it runs out. The typical hen will consume 100 grams of feed containing 4% calcium on a daily basis.

Throughout the entire year, regardless of the season or climate, oyster shell should be constantly fed.

You should keep providing oyster shell to your hens even if they stop laying because they are molting, broody, or taking a break in the winter.

Later in the season, they will be able to lay larger, more numerous eggs since it will aid to strengthen their bones.

Your hen will quickly absorb the calcium into her system when she is awake and eating.

A hen needs about 25 hours to produce one egg (there is some variation here among breeds).

So that her body is always prepared to develop a hard shell, she should always have access to calcium.

What cuisine do ducks prefer?

One of our ducks’ favorite foods is scrambled eggs. Mealworms, both live and dead, earthworms, slugs, crickets, minnows, feeder fish, fried fish or meat scraps, and lobster or shrimp shells are some more popular sources of nutrition.

Avoid: Large seeds and nuts are difficult for ducks to digest. Due to the fact that ducks swallow their food whole, nuts and seeds can also cause choking or become lodged in the crop. If you do give your ducks nuts or seeds, grind them beforehand.

Banana peels—can ducks eat them?

Banana peels are undoubtedly beneficial to ducks as well. Banana skins, however, are brittle and challenging to chew. Your ducks’ rounder beaks may make it more challenging for them to rip into the skin.

Just be sure to chop up the banana peel into manageable-sized pieces. Even mashed bananas or other fruits and vegetables, as well as the peel, can be combined.

Can ducks be overfed?

Offer the ducks tiny pieces to avoid overfeeding them because what they don’t eat can contaminate the water, and you don’t want to spoil their desire to go foraging naturally. Also keep in mind that they could receive a lot of food all day long at popular duck feeding locations.

Offer the ducks a tiny quack snack and then move on to find other ducks if you want to continue feeding them.