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Wet or dry shell grit ???? - and other questions from a novice chook owner

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Anniebee, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Anniebee

    Anniebee Crowing

    I am a newbie at having chickens in the back garden ( in runs ). They are let outside at around 11 am each day into runs which they have successfully already destroyed ( any grass that was there is no longer ). They are put to bet at 6.30 pm. So they are more free range than anything. They have access to their feed all day.

    I purchased a whole heap of goodies from a local feed and stock store, including a bag of 'wet' shell grit. I can recall my grandparents giving dry shell grit to their chickens. They were all free range. Three of the chickens are older than the other two. 21 weeks, and the youngsters - 16 weeks. All have been on Barastoc pullet finisher, which has now been deleted from the Barastoc products ( so I was told by the store keeper ). So they are now being changed over onto Golden Yolk layer pellets.

    I am very confused at this point, as I have read that the pellets will give them the calcium they need to lay strong shell eggs ( IF they ever get around to laying ) ... and that they will scratch up enough grit from their runs to provide what else they need.

    Q. What is the difference between wet and dry shell grit ? ( I don't like the idea of wet shell grit that might have been sitting on a shelf for weeks - in a plastic bag of 'wet' substance which could go 'off' under those conditions ). Does all commercially sold shell grit come in bags, wet ?

    Q. If I cook egg shells in the oven - could I offer that to them ground up ... in a separate container inside their coops ?

    Q. Is budgie seed or wild bird seed ok to give my chickens as a treat ? ( the store owner has bags of 'chook mixture' - which looks very VERY like wild bird seed to me ).

    I have 1 of each of : Welsummer, Rhode Island Red, Barnevelder ( the oldest 3 ) ... a Silkie and an Araucana. The Welsummer is a bully. Thus there are two runs, although they all congregate at the separating wire a lot of the time - and have chats !!!!! [​IMG]

    PLEASE HELP !!! I love my chickens [​IMG]


  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I've never heard of wet grit, sorry. Mine is just granite in small pieces. Many people don't give grit because they feel there is enough hard matter in their soil for the chickens to grind up their food. I offer it as we haave limestone/sandy soil and limestone is soft -- but they barely touch it and I've never had one with a crop problem, so I guess the sand or whatever in the soil is enough.

    Lots of people feed their shells back to them instead of buying oyster shell. Others feel they need oyster shell. Some cook the shells, some don't. I'd probably microwave them unless I was going to give them back right away, just to prevent that little bit of egg from spoiling. Layer feed supposedly has enough calcium that they shouldn't need more, but it seems chickens vary in how much calcium each one needs. I'd say If you are getting all good, firm shells with just layer, then don't buy oyster shell. A lone soft shelled egg once in a while is probably normal.

    I give mine BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) as a treat because they love them and the protein level is pretty good. Wild bird food is another treat. As long as it's just seed and doesn't have some added mineral or something that is meant for another species, it should be fine.

    When I give grit and oyster shell, I don't mix them into the feed, I offer them separately, so I can see how much of each they want. You don't have to offer a lot, so you can make a feeder out of whatever you have around -- the bottoms of a couple of soda bottles screwed to a 2x4 scrap works fine for me.
  3. Anniebee

    Anniebee Crowing

    Thank you Judy for such a comprehensive reply and the trouble you have gone to explain things to me. Very much appreciated. I feed them layer pellets now - and tid-bits from the kitchen. Will buy a punnet of yoghurt this week to see how they like that ( it's said they love the stuff ) ... and today as it is hot, they will get a reasonable plate in each run, of nice cold water melon - which they adore. They have plenty of shade and water .... and seem to be happy chickens ( or chooks as they are known in Australia ). Just have to wait for an egg or three !! They have been molting to some degree, which I presume is because of the heat - as I believe it Autumn they come into a proper molt. Will offer some egg shells baked or microwaved and ground into v small corn size pieces - when they begin to lay.

    Again - many thanks.


    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  4. Doubleyolker

    Doubleyolker In the Brooder

    Aug 17, 2012
    I offer both to our girls. Hubby got two of the rabbit feeders which are kinda a hopper thing. He placed them high enough on the wall so they could reach in but shavings dont get kicked in the feeder. works really well.

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