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to grit or not to grit

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by BelleInBoots, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. BelleInBoots

    BelleInBoots Out Of The Brooder

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    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!
     
  2. ChickenWaterer

    ChickenWaterer Out Of The Brooder

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    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
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    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.
     
  4. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    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.
     
    2 people like this.
  6. BelleInBoots

    BelleInBoots Out Of The Brooder

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    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 [​IMG]
     
  7. evemfoster

    evemfoster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    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
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2014
  8. dana0710

    dana0710 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    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. :)
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop

    Perzactly what I did, Dana. Great minds....;)
     
  10. dana0710

    dana0710 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm a big fan of not spending money on things I don't need to spend money on. :)
     

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