Backyard Poultry

Oyster Shells for Chickens? How Chicken Layer Feed Affects Egg Strength

Starting a Flock : Considering Chickens

Flock Management : Flock Health

Flock Management : Layer Nutrition

Flock Management : Egg Benefits

Flock Management : Egg Production

Patrick Biggs, Ph.D.

Nutritionist, Companion Animal Technical Solutions

Providing a chicken layer feed with oyster shells helps ensure your hens have enough calcium to lay strong eggshells, which are better able to keep bacteria out and help improve the safety of farm fresh eggs. Improve egg strength with the Oyster Strong® System, exclusively in Purina® premium and organic chicken layer feeds.

An egg once held the weight of a 200-pound man. Though small in stature, farm fresh eggs have big power. Their shells provide homes to growing chicks and shield yolks from harmful bacteria. But how can a structure that’s only 0.3 millimeters thick provide so much security? The answer comes down to design. 
Architects through the ages have modeled buildings after the dome, the shape that defines egg strength. A dome offers strength and protection; any pressure applied to the top of the dome is spread throughout the structure. This simple power makes the egg one of nature’s leading designs.

The building blocks: oyster shell, vitamin D and manganese

DiagramDescription automatically generatedThe exclusive Purina® Oyster Strong® System in premium Purina chicken layer feeds ensures your laying hens achieve a consistent supply of calcium through a blend of oyster shell, vitamin D and manganese. These three ingredients work together to help your chickens produce strong-shelled, delicious fresh eggs each day.
The Oyster Strong® System utilizes larger particles of oyster shell to provide a slow and steady release of calcium during the night when hens are forming eggshells. Vitamin D is like the taxi that gets the calcium into your hen’s bloodstream where it’s needed, while manganese helps strengthen and create the structure of the egg. The Oyster Strong® System brings all three nutrients together to help your hens make strong, healthy eggshells.

All told, each eggshell includes about 2 grams of calcium – or 40 percent of the shell.

This number has big meaning when looking at simple math. If the average backyard layer chicken lays 180 to 200 eggs per year, that’s 0.8 to 0.88 pounds of calcium per year for eggshell development. This calcium must come from the diet to support eggshell production. That’s why providing feed with the Oyster Strong® System is so important to your hens’ egg strength!

What to feed laying hens

Hens need to consume around 4 grams of calcium each day to get the 2 grams of calcium needed to make one eggshell – not all the calcium goes to making eggshells. As stated previously, the nutrient – along with vitamin D and manganese – must come from the hen’s feed. 

Choose a chicken layer feed with the Purina® Oyster Strong® System to help your hens lay strong and stay strong.
Which layer feed Oyster Strong® System is right for your flock?

Our most popular layer feeds Includes added omega-3 fatty acids for your health Includes 19% protein and black fly soldier fly larvae

Certified USDA Organic

Hens lacking proper calcium levels typically produce soft or brittle eggshells. Sometimes an improper calcium balance can cause hens to pull calcium from their bones to produce eggshells, weakening their overall skeletal structure.
With the right chicken layer feed, you won’t need to supplement oyster shells for chickens. Ready to level up with Oyster Strong®Sign-up for our Feed Greatness® Challenge and receive $14 worth of feed coupons.