What do you do for grit for your chickens in winter?

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We've had free range chickens for about 4 years now. It just occured to me this past week that in the winter they don't have easy access to grit for their crops. How often must this be replaced (from the chicken's point of view). How do others out there in snowbelt areas deal with this? Or is it necessary?

-- (rwhitworth@sprint.ca), January 08, 2002


Yep, chickens need acess to grit about daily for best gizzard health, you can purchase granite grit at most all feed stores that sell chicken feed, it runs around 8 dollars a 50 pound bag. Doled out in small amounts, it lasts a very long time. Sometimes the feed store will sell you lesser amounts if you don't want 50 pounds of it. I use the "grower" size grit, "layer" size I think is too big.

We have 8 inches of snow here as of Sunday night.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (annie@1st.net), January 08, 2002.

I also buy grit for the grown birds in winter when we have a snow cover. For the chicks when I start them on "solid food", I go to the creek that starts on our place and get a bucket of coarse sand. I point out that the creek starts on our place because that way, I know there are no 'cide residues from neighbors' commercial farming operations.

-- marilyn (rainbow@ktis.net), January 08, 2002.

We don't get enough snow around here to worry about if the dirt is available to our bockers, but if it did I would just fill a 5 gallon bucket with dirt and make sure they had a steady supply of it. Just give them a feeder of it and keep it full.

Just a side thought....are your chickens in a barn? Does it have a dirt floor? If so......no need to do anything.....it's already there!

-- Jason in Southern Tenn. (AJAMA5@netscape.net), January 08, 2002.

My chickens are in a barn for the winter, but it has a concrete floor (It's really a converted workshop that we call 'the barn' because there's more animals than tools in it). So far, I've just dumped some sand from my son's sandbox in their feeder with the corn - same with the peacocks. I guess this is O.K. for now. I'll pick some grit up at the feed store next trip.

Thanks for the advice.


-- (rwhitworth@sprint.ca), January 08, 2002.

Even if there is quite a bit of snow in your area, if you are in a rural area, you may be able to get a coffee can full of gravelly grit alongside a gravel road when the snow plow runs, etc. That usually what I do. Cynthia

-- Cynthia (farmsteaderus@yahoo.com), January 08, 2002.

I always keep some oyster shell available too. I just put a piepan full in the hen house all the time. It is real cheap at the feed store

-- Jenny (auntjenny6@aol.com), January 08, 2002.

As previously posted, I use oyster shells for the chickens. In a pinch, we have dried our egg shells, crushed them and mixed them into their feed. I've done this for the wild birds too. Make sure they're really crushed.

-- Charleen in WNY (harperhill@eznet.net), January 08, 2002.

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