We all want to give our chickens the best possible foods to make sure they - and their eggs - are as healthy as they can be.
But good quality foods and yummy treats are only part of the story.
Without grit and oyster shell your flock's health can be seriously compromised.
Here's why they are two of the most critical elements of their diet - all year round.
Grit: general information.
What exactly is chicken grit?
In the wild, or when chickens free-range, they take in tiny bits of stone and gravel as they forage on the ground.
But depending on the type of ground, or if your chickens are living in a grassy run, they may not get enough to be able properly to digest their food.
That's when they need to be given extra.
Commercially produced grit, which you'll be able to buy inexpensively from your feed store or online, is made from insoluble stone - often granite or flint.
There are different grades of grit depending on the age of the chicken. Baby chicks should have a very fine mix; as they get older it should be more coarse.
The most popular and reliable medium for making sure your hens get enough calcium in their diet is oyster shell. It will be available from your feed store, or you can buy it online (although the feed store option will be much less expensive!).
You will find both at your local feed store, or you can buy online now and have it delivered from Amazon by following these links.
A lot of "facts" you'll find on the internet are often people's individual views, based on inaccurate information repeated from poor quality sources.
The information I provide in this article and others is based not just on my own experience, but on evidenced facts from scientific, peer-reviewed research and books from highly respected and experienced poultry keepers such as Gail Damerow.
Some of the sources I have used in this article are these.
Branion, Hugh : 'Grit for Poultry'. Pub. Granite Grit Industry of America, Inc.
Jacob, Wilson et al : 'Factors affecting egg production in backyard chicken flocks'. University of Florida, 2013.