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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

My son got a chicken for a pet last summer. She is a Bantam chicken who is now 23 to 24 weeks of age. She is laying eggs and she just started 4 days ago.

I have a feed question. I purchased layer mash from our feed store and I would like to know if I need to add grit or anything else to her diet like oyster shells or ground egg shells. We've never had chickens before so I am learning. I am so a newbie to chickens and would love any encouraging advice.

Thanks.
 

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First off not to offended but only one chicken is stressful towards the bird. They are flock animals i would advise 3 or more....

And i feed layer pellets that say on the bag feed with or without a grit or oyster shells...

I know many people who feed mash for the ease of not having to feed a grit. Not sure how true it is but it make since it is crushed already.
Also if the chicken free ranges then it will find its own grit if needed... my free range birds scratch in the drive way i assume finding grit
 

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It would be sweet if your little bantam had a chicken buddy. Is the chicken a house pet? Does she get to go out and eat grass, etc? Does she have a run attached to her coop? If she doesn't get to go out and find her own grit, I suggest that you give her some form of grit. It'll make her digestion easier. You could offer oyster shell or just grind egg shells into her food. Want strong bones and egg shells.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
At the moment our chicken is a garage pet. She is living with our bunnies in her own large cage (the rabbits are in their own cages too). She has a nesting box, roost, and a partial wood floor to stand on. My son lets her out to run around the garage. It's winter now for us and we want to keep her indoors.

I have been thinking about getting her a friend or two, but we would need a coup area to put them in, not doable at this time since we just moved and I need to find the best place for them. I want to make sure it is critter proof. We've had problems with coyotes in the area where we used to live and I am not sure what critters we have around our new home. She is really friendly and she loves our attention.

So far her egg shells are nice and strong. I really know next to nothing about chickens (I have no idea why I let him get one in the first place) but I want to do right by her and figure this out. She was on a crumble type food, but doggone if I can remember what it was as I forgot to write it down and the bag lasted a couple of months so I don't have the bag as I put the feed in a plastic bin. My bad. :(

I'll have to go and look at the label on the bag. I don't think that grit was added, not sure about shells, so I will give her some if not. Thanks.
 

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Honestly i would not worry about it. Just save your egg shells and bake them crush them and put them out free choice... and bantys dont need much space i have 4 in a 2'x2' dome cage. I just move it around the yard so they can free range a bit.
 

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I agree with the others about looking into giving her a buddy. Remember, though, that you need to quarantine a new bird for at least a month, as disease can take that long to show its face.

I keep grit and oyster shell free-choice. My birds are in houses right on the earth, so they do have pebbles available, but they eat whole grains so they need the granite to really be able to grind their food up. I do add calcium to my feed, but even so, they go through the oyster shell. They know what their bodies need.

What are your winter temps? Once you can critter proof her house, it might still be nice for her to be able to be outdoors. I live in a cold and snowy area (although, the last couple of years have been eerily warm and snow-free) and I always let my girls out during the day. They'll even go out in single-digit temps (where 32F degrees is freezing) and are perfectly happy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My son is planning on building a chicken coop for her and some friends next spring. They'll be outside. We also have to build my rabbits a rabbit barn as our new house has no out buildings.
 

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cool, it would be great for her to have some other hens to hang out with, as several members have said chickens are flock animals and need company. as for grit i just put a bowl of grit out for the to have as and when they need it.
 

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do egg shells really need to be baked then crushed? I had been just tossing them out to the girls raw- they seem to eat them. I was also wondering if you can crush up say, mussel shells from last night's supper?
 

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Bake the egg shells? Oops, some have been raw, some I have put in microwave a minute with water and crushed. How long do I bake and what temp? Can chickens have orange peel?
 

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So many opinions on this. Some say you have to bake them, some say you don't. I just put mine in a warm oven say after I finish baking something and shut the oven off. I find they crush better when they are drier.
 

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They DO crush easier the drier they are. I don't bake mine. I let them dry out on a paper towel a few days, crush them and feed.
 

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I also just let my egg shells dry out and then crush them and throw them in the run for them to eat at will. I have my bunny hutch in the chicken run and they hang with the chickens. That way, they're not cooped up in a small hutch all the time. It's cute to see them eat scratch and leftovers together. When I let my chickens free range, I let the rabbits have the run and just close the pop door and open the people door so the chickens can go into the coop. Has worked out very well. Rabbits get plenty of exercise.
 
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