I have been getting a number of questions recently about what else you need to give your chickens in addition to the feed. There are a number of different things out there from vitamins to oyster shells. The only thing that I give my own chicken besides feed is a little grit. Grit is another word for small rocks. They are usually rough instead of smooth. Chickens don’t have teeth, so to digest food they use ‘grit’ to grind the food up in their gizzard, before they digest it. I normally just spread a handful of grit around the yard and chicken run every few months. At our local chicken store, you can buy a small bag for a few dollars. Many people have questions about supplemental calcium for their chickens. You shouldn’t have to use any vitamins or other products along those lines unless there is a health problem with your chicken. Most feed is already fortified with enough calcium for your chickens. This is part of what separates a layer feed from a grower feed. If you find that the eggs shells are becoming a little thin, or are breaking a little too easily, then I would recommend adding a calcium supplement, otherwise don’t worry about it. The most common calcium supplement is oyster shells, and remember, just like with the grit a little goes a long way. Something else that works well, and I’m sure you have plenty of, are egg shells. Yes, chickens love to eat egg shells. What a great way to recycle. Make sure to smash or crunch up the shells into small pieces before letting the chickens eat them so they wont start a habit of eating their own eggs. I will write about preventing that in another post.
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