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Monday, May 31, 2021

Make Your Own Grit for Backyard Chickens.

Have you joined the ranks of chicken keepers? If so, here is a frugal method for keeping costs down, Make Your Own Grit for Backyard Chickens! Just a few moments and you will have exactly what the girls need! From the DIY Homemade Household side of the blog!

We now have chickens! 

Originally we were going to wait, but quietly one day it was decided that we should order baby chicks, and we did! They arrived, some were too worn from their trip to continue on with us. Immediately the decision was made that we will hatch our own little chicks in the future. Since we were short on having the ten we wanted, we picked up a few more at the local farm and garden store. Once home they joined the first batch of chicks, who by now, are quite settled and happy in the heated brooder box my son-in-law built. 

With the open chicken wire top, it was easy to keep an eye on them and any excess heat from the lamp could escape. The only problem, the house kittens could smell the chicks and they were mighty curious to see what was in that big box! There was only one thing to do... 

Originally the viewing window was for us...

My son-in-law got the idea to put in a viewing window, and it made all the difference. Not just for the kittens, but we could keep an eye on them too. It wasn't long before we realized we needed to get started on building the coop and the run because they were quickly outgrowing the brooder box! 

Fast forward a bit, and they have been out in the coop for about three weeks, long enough to be acquainted with their new home and they get free range time each day, weather permitting. We had snow just last week, that was an indoor day for the little chicks. But when it is not actively snowing, they love it out on the range!

Behind these little guys is the beginning of our raised bed garden area, we are hoping to get it done for a few fall crops...

Then last week, we were given three full-grown hens, requiring a bit of adjusting for everyone! The big girls are grown, and quite assertive compared to the little chicks, but the little ones are catching on fast! When you keep chickens you learn quickly where the term "pecking order" came from! The compost pile is a favorite of them all!

Making your own grit is not only frugal, but you know where the ingredients come from...

With the big girls, our supply costs went up dramatically! Those ladies like to eat! Time to learn about how to cut costs, including what to give and what NOT to give from the compost buckets in the kitchens. From there it was time to learn about making as many of the supplies as possible. The first order of business is grit. Grit is necessary and they get some while out free-ranging when they eat sprouting seeds and worms because a fair amount of soil will automatically be a part of that bite. Beyond just grit, they do need a good source of calcium, especially the ladies, for laying. 

Ironically eggshells from your morning eggs and toast work just fine. We have two small compost buckets leftover from pre-chicken days. Now that most of the compostable vegetables go to the chickens, those buckets are perfect to use for spent eggshells. When one gets full, we start filling the second one. I let the first bucket sit about a week or so, I like for the shells to be completely dry. At that point, they are ready to process into grit. Here is our process...

Make Your Own Grit for Backyard Chickens
inspired by chicken keepers everywhere!
300-degree oven to preheat, 275-degrees for processing

dry eggshells
a flat pan large enough to hold the eggshells in a single layer

Preheat the oven to 300-degrees, when preheated place the pan of eggshells into the oven, and immediately turn the temperature down to 275-degrees. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. 

Place the eggshells into a large bag, use a rolling pin to crush the shells to approximately 1/8 inch or smaller pieces. 

UPDATE: you may find your ladies prefer smaller-sized grit, if so, just buzz in a food processor or blender. 

Store the crushed eggshells in a container with a tight-fitting lid or a freezer storage bag. 

To use, throw a handful out with the daily vegetable/fruit scraps. 

Once the second compost bucket is full, make another batch! Your backyard chickens will need grit every day. 

You may also find this helpful: 

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Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household is a featured blogger at Homestead Blog Hop.
Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household is a featured blogger at Homestead Blog Hop. 

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Would you like to comment?

  1. I sent your site to my friend across the road -- she has chickens!

  2. Interesting and I like the box with the viewing window. We can never see my son's baby chicks as there is no window. Thanks so much for linking up with me at the Unlimited Link Party 27. Pinned!

    1. You are welcome, Dee. I agree, the window was a great addition!

  3. Sounds easy enough!
    I love e shot of the kitten peeking into the brooder box. So cute.

    Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop! Congratulations on being featured in this week’s hop!


    1. Oh my, thank you for the feature! Have a great week ahead.


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