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The Problem is the Solution

 
Jenna Sanders
Posts: 54
Location: Michigan, zone 5
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We are the proud owners of eight lovely hens! I keep reading about giving them oyster shells, but we were thinking why not zebra mussel shells?
They are an invasive species in our area and it would be easy enough to collect a pail full when we go to the beach. Is there any reason I should re think this?
 
Zach Muller
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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I do not know for certain but I bet the chickens would love to eat the actual mussel, and the shell. You could have a steady flow of chicken food on your hands depending on how invasive it is.
 
Joe Braxton
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Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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You might want to research before using them. A really quick search found this -

Zebra mussels are believed to be the source of deadly avian botulism poisoning that has killed tens of thousands of birds in the Great Lakes since the late 1990s. Because they are so efficient at filtering water, they tend to accumulate pollutants and toxins. Although they are edible, for this reason most experts recommend against consuming zebra mussels.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_mussel

It might also be illegal to move them due to fears of introducing them to new waters.
 
Zach Muller
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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Yeah another quick search turned up

Death from botulism is common in waterfowl; an estimated 10,000 to 100,000 birds die of botulism annually. In some large outbreaks, a million or more birds may die. Ducks appear to be affected most often. Botulism also affects commercially raised poultry. In chickens, the mortality rate varies from a few birds to 40% of the flock. Some affected birds may recover without treatment.[citation needed]



Given the risk, it does not seem like such a great idea to feed zebra mussels.
 
Shane McKee
Posts: 108
Location: Northern Ireland
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Mind you, shells washed up on the beach should be perfectly OK - some of the beaches near us have masses of crushed shells, and they make great grit for our girls.
 
Jenna Sanders
Posts: 54
Location: Michigan, zone 5
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Thanks for the research, Zach.
I was thinking only of using the washed up on the beach shells, not the mussels themselves.
I'll have to double check though.
 
Francis Oublieux
Posts: 34
Location: Great Bend, Kansas (border on zone 5/6, 20"-25" yr)
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Here in Kansas it is utterly illegal to move them, including the need to clean out live wells and the hull of your boat before leaving a lake. But, considering the Michigan area is close to where they were first introduced in to North American waters, then maybe the laws have settled in your region since it was a loosing battle from the get go?

Simply being a filter feeder, as mentioned, is enough not to use them as well. Our waters are simply not clean enough to not expect a transfer of the toxins.

Otherwise, you are thinking along the right path, and was definitely worth investigating.
 
Did you see how Paul cut 87% off of his electric heat bill with 82 watts of micro heaters?
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