Shell grit gives chickens a natural source of calcium. This helps them lay higher-quality eggs more easily; they also get a useful top-up of calcium to keep them healthy. If you've never given your flock this kind of supplement before, then you might not be sure how to do it. The following tips will help you get started.
Let Your Chickens Dose Themselves
Some chickens need a calcium supplement; others don't. You're really targeting egg layers here. The beauty of this supplement is that your chickens will decide when they need a boost. They'll eat the grit if they think they need it and they'll leave it alone if they don't. There isn't a specific dosage you need to use. So, to start with, you can just put out a couple of handfuls of grit and see how it goes. If it disappears quickly, then add a bit more next time.
It's a good idea to have enough grit available for when your chickens need it but you don't need to overface your flock. Just keep an eye on your grit levels to make sure you have a constant supply available. After a while, you'll work out how much grit they're eating.
Don't Mix Grit With Food
If you buy pure calcium shell grit rather than a supplement that is meant to go in with a feed, then you should keep the grit separate. There's no point mixing it in with your chickens' regular feeds.
While chickens that need the grit will dig it out of their feed, other chickens will see it as an irritating foreign object. They're likely to flick the grit out of the bowl, hopper, or dispenser to get it out of the way. If this happens, you simply waste grit. If you put it out separately, the chickens that need it will eat it. The rest won't both with it.
Keep the Grit Dry
Calcium shell grit won't go off if you leave it out for ages. However, it might be affected if it gets wet. If the grit can't dry off, it might get soft and mushy. You might find that your chickens stop wanting to eat it. If you can, put the grit in an enclosed hopper or dispenser. Or, put it under shelter. If you can't do this, try to put it in a container with a few holes in the bottom so that any water that does get in can drain away.
To find out more about calcium shell grit products and the right one to choose for your chickens, contact your feed supplier.