Thursday, July 19, 2012

Grit and Crushed Oyster Shell

All birds need some form of grit or small stones to help "chew" their food. Chickens are one of those birds simply due to the fact they don't have teeth. When a chicken eats bugs, seeds, greens, etc. that food goes into their crop to begin the digestive process. Basically. To aid with digestion, they will also eat small stones or sand that also enters the crop and mashes and breaks up the food much like we do in our mouths.

There are several ways one can provide that much needed grit to their flocks diet. The grit can be mixed directly into the feed, or offered "free choice" in either a separate feed cup or as a pile on the ground near their eating area. I do the latter. The reason for my "grit pile" is to both offer it as free choice and to give the chickens a little extra something to scratch.

If your chickens are of the laying age, you should also supplement their diet with some calcium. For every egg the hen lays, she is depleting her body of this important mineral to produce the egg shells. For me, I find the best way to offer up that extra calcium is with crushed oyster shell. Crushed oyster shell is just that, and resembles the store bought bags of grit. I also offer this free choice and mix it into my grit pile. Cheers!
Backyard Chicken Grit and Manna Pro Oyster Shell
Backyard Chicken grit pile

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