to grit or not to grit

BelleInBoots

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 21, 2014
60
0
46
West GA
Hey guys as a relatively newbie and from what they told meat the tractor supply,I thought I had it covered with the complete feed organic laying pellets but now I'm wondering if my girls need grit and possibly Oyster shells as well. They are currently in a chicken tractor that we move daily on average and sometimes get out to range. We do kitchen scraps as well. So I probably need grit right? Or do they find that in the ground sense I move them? Also had a shell crushed in nest the other day and a few others that have been on the thin side. Do I guess they need more calcium as well? We do feed back eggshells sometimes and will start doing that regularly. I also want to introduce a treat to bring them back from the range. Would boss or meal worms be better and which is cheaper? Thanks a bunch!
 

ChickenWaterer

Songster
7 Years
Aug 20, 2012
87
74
116
Palo Alto, CA
Oyster shells are a calcium supplement. If yo are feeding your flock good feed and no more than 10% table scraps and treats, you probably don't need to provide additional calcium. Grit, is non-digestible but is used by chickens to grind up hard foods in their diet such as corn and seeds. Check out this blog article for more information Feeding Chickens Grit
 

cafarmgirl

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
5,521
610
327
California, central valley
I would simply leave grit and oyster shell available to them at all times, in separate dishes, and let them take it when they need it. You might check the nutrient label on your feed and see what the calcium levels are.

As far as BOSS versus meal worms, doesn't matter, meal worms are more expensive.
 

pdirt

Songster
6 Years
May 11, 2013
1,609
213
198
Eastern WA
Ours free range and should presumably get enough grit, but they do eat quite a bit of the grit I offer on the side. It's very inexpensive to free if you have access to a stream bed that has such very coarse sand. We don't usually feed layer feed with a mixed flock, so we always have egg and oyster shell on the side. Even when we have fed layer feed, they still eat some of the oyster shells, just less of it.

It takes a LOT of calcium to produce eggshells. Some folks think the calcium level in some layer feeds is the bare minimum necessary.

I have noticed that egg shell thickness is a tricky thing. I think I have read about the means commercial egg operations go through to ensure thick, strong shells. One chicken couldn't lay eggs unless we fed her yogurt. Some birds seem to have a stronger tendency towards thin shells than others.
 
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Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,581
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
Despite feeding mine a healthy diet of layer pellets, good scraps, and giving them plenty of time out of the coop and run, I still keep a small dish of oyster shell and another one of grit available to them all of the time. Sometimes they eat it, sometimes they don't. I figure that both products are relatively inexpensive and I can't always guarantee that they're getting enough grit while out free ranging, so what's the harm? I'd rather have it in there and them not need it than not knowing until it's too late that they should have had it.
 

BelleInBoots

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 21, 2014
60
0
46
West GA
good point. i will go ahead and pick some up as soon as i can get out to the feed store. now how im gonna fit two extra feeders in my littlre tractor is another story
big_smile.png
 

evemfoster

Songster
5 Years
May 6, 2014
421
60
124
NE, Wa.
good point. i will go ahead and pick some up as soon as i can get out to the feed store. now how im gonna fit two extra feeders in my littlre tractor is another story
big_smile.png

PVC pipe feeders take up nearly no room at all and you can attach them to the outside of the tractor with only the feeder end of the tube sticking inside. its easier to fill them that way too.

This is a recent post I haven't made mine yet.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/906427/pvc-pipe-feeder#post_13792454
 
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dana0710

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 11, 2014
134
25
86
East Texas
For my grit and ouster shell I bough two small metal containers at the dollar store, drilled holes in the bottom to let out any rainwater and screwed them to posts in the run. Cheap, easy and very little space required. :)
 

MANNA-PRO

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