Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by mowremo, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. mowremo

    mowremo In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2014
    Louisville, Kentucky
    I'm going to be purchasing six hens this spring! Super excited! Have some questions that I am getting mixed review answers on! First, how often is grit needed? I have a ton of sea shells and have heard i can crush them super fine and give them to the hens?! If i have six hens i need six nesting boxes right?! My husband seems to think that three will be fine and they can share. I don't agree but don't really know! He's building the coop and is looking top keep it simple!

  2. jetdog

    jetdog Songster

    Jun 18, 2013
    Don't crush shells they sell oyster shells and chick grit, fill your run with a course sand and you won't need to give them anything as they will use the small stones and sand, your husband is right 1 nestbox for every 3 or 4 hens they will probably only chose 1 or 2 as their favorite.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Gldnrose

    Gldnrose Chirping

    Jun 6, 2013
    Hi and [​IMG]

    they always need grit. I always make sure I toss some grit out everyday during the winter. Harder for them to get any with all the snow where I am. If they can forage everyday they get it themselves. I don't know about grinding up sea shells (hopefully someone else will have more info on that, but even if you can use shells don't grind them up "super fine", it would defeat the purpose of what grit needs to do), I buy grit from the feed store.

    I have 5 hens and four nest boxes. They always "share" two. There will be 3 eggs in one box and 2 in the other. I think they "follow" each others lead? Or those two are just the favorites for some reason. I think you can have 4-5 boxes and you'd be fine.

    Good luck with your chickens. What kind are you getting?
    1 person likes this.
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member 7 Years

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop

    If you are getting chicks this spring, they will not need grit if you are only feeding chick starter. Any time you add other things to chicks diets, you will need to add grit. Parakeet grit and gravel is perfect.

    As for pullets or adult hens. If they are free ranging, you do not need to add grit. They can find their own. If you don't keep them on sand and they are confined, you will need to add grit. You can get small bags of poultry grit from Manna Pro. Most feed stores carry this grit.

    Do not confuse grit with oystershell. Two different things and oystershell should never be fed as grit. It is only for the hens in addition to their layer feed. If they need more calcium, they will pick thru it. Do not crush it. They can pick thru it just fine.

    Oystershell needs to be available at all times. You can keep it in another feeder or small low tub of some sort.

    For 6 hens, you will need at least 2 nesting boxes. 1 is not enough and there will be fighting, broken eggs and waiting lines.

    Great to have you aboard and enjoy your new babies this spring!!
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
    1 person likes this.

  5. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
  6. kidcody

    kidcody Crowing 7 Years

    from Washington state glad you joined us!
  7. Alright [​IMG] great to have you joining the BYC flock [​IMG]

    Wish you well in your poultry ventures [​IMG]

  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member 8 Years

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Your husband is right you don't need a nest box for every hen. Even if they were all identical, hens will have a favorite box or two. Then they fight over using it, or wait in line. If they are desperate they will just get on top of present occupant and lay their egg right on her. Chickens can be weird.
  9. Tammisto

    Tammisto In the Brooder

    Jan 10, 2014

  10. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC. Your husband is correct. 3 nest boxes will be more than enough - they will all try to use the same box anyway - chickens are funny like that. Grit should be available at all times, but free range birds rarely use it - they pick up enough small stones in their foraging. Commercial layer rations generally provide adequate calcium for egg production. Enjoy your flock.

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