Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The grit bit

After finishing my renovation of Hilltop chicken coop, back in April this year, there were always going to be jobs I needed to finish up. Like where to put the shell grit? I had procrastinated for years, literally, even though I bought a large bag of it to use in my coops.

I originally put the grit in shallow dishes, that would be overturned the next day, and and I wouldn't refill them. Not good chicken practice, if you want your layers to give decent eggs and stay healthy.

I had the materials to make a permanent shell grit station (left over from plumbing projects on the house) I just had to organise everything, and make it happen.

Almost complete

This is the finished unit, filled with shell grit. I used two 90 degree elbows, and an off-cut of 90mm pipe. Plus some other bibs and bobs to attach it all. Now, finally, I have a place to store the grit where the chickens cannot overturn it.


This is the same unit, only with a cap on top, so no curious rodents or insects can fall into it. I accidentally bought that piece and never thought I'd find a use for it. Must have a psychic radar or perhaps just a happy accident.

Attached to post

I attached the unit to the post, using a roofing iron screw. Only the rubber washer was placed between the wood and plastic (instead of against the screw head) to create a small gap. This allowed me to get the cap on and off.

I drilled the hole into the unit, before attaching it to the post, and then used a socket wrench to tighten the screw.

Last piece

How to attached the lower section to the post however? I found a handy device, we will have to replace later, as we use it for emergency plumbing. From memory, I think its called an adjustable clamp.


It allowed me to wrap it around the post to stabalise the lower section. Because I didn't entirely trust those chickens, not to knock this unit around either. Better to be safe, than risk excessive wear on the single screw, used to attach it to the post.

Notice how its low enough to the ground, so the chickens can access it? I also used small metal screws to attach the PVC piping and elbows together, to avoid the chemical plumbing cement. 

Given I already had the materials here, it didn't take long to put together. It was ridiculously easy, and insane that I didn't do it sooner!


Other news at Hilltop, is we have four new layers. These are the ISA brown type. If you remember when I first moved the old layers into Hilltop, there was a single ISA brown named Ginger, that found her way to our coop from the neighbours. Unfortunately, she had to be dispatched recently, in our cull of older hens.

This was a decision based on her breed, but only as it stood in our established flock. She was introduced as a single hen, so became the lowest in the pecking order. There were (at the time) four other hens who would constantly chase her away from the food. She was getting fed, but not enough for her breeds requirements. So she started to eat the eggs out of desperation. It was the one thing she could eat, that the other hens weren't interested in once they laid them.

When we knew we were planning to buy new layers, we knew Ginger couldn't stay - it would just create more competition. We also removed some older layers from the flock who had injuries (one a limp leg and another was waning).

Older but still valued

The two older hens on the left, are the two remaining hens from our original flock, which we decided to keep. They are both laying at present and can hold their own against the four new additions. These are the last of the chicks we have bred and raised here.

I would like to breed and raise more chickens in the future, but I need to have time to dedicate to that end. So its on the cards, just not at present. In the meantime, the ISA Browns have been purchased to continue egg production.

While the older hens don't lay daily, we can still convert their feed to fertility, which is a good reason to keep older hens too.

So that's what's happening in Hilltop chicken coop for now. 


  1. Brilliant feeder! If we ever have chickens again I will definitely make one. Congratulations on your new additions. I know how much you love your chooks so I know that you are happy as Larry with them.

  2. It certainly keeps the grit, up and out of the way, while still allowing the hens free access.

    The new girls, are very affectionate, or should I say, desperate to raise their standing in the pecking order. So they hang around us, to the point we almost trip over them. They love to walk (or stand) on our feet, lol.

  3. I am glad I never had to deal with the pecking order. One hen escaped from a neighobor across the street and refused to go home but roosted under my kitchen window until I adopted her.
    We put her with the others and she did well. The man who owned her had let his dog eat the poor flock, one by one-he has no sense whatsoever-very mentally ill. She was terrorized and ran away.Later on the neighbor gave us his sole surviving one and still no problems.

    1. That's good to hear they settled in well. :)

  4. Very clever! And congrats on the new hens. Keeping an egg supply going is a must. Our up and comers should start laying soon and then we'll have to think our numbers. We just have too many chickens for the size of our coop.

    1. Glad to have my frige full of eggs again. We love to eat them fried - including the two kids. I can't eat store bought any more. I'm too spoiled with fresh eggs to know the difference. ;)

      Too many chickens always causes problems. Have you considered using moveable tractors, to put some of them to work in your garden? Chicken tilling. ;)

  5. nice work on the feeder, i will keep it in mind for when we get chooks again, (oh i do miss my chooks)
    there is always one who is hen pecked and its a shame, but on the bright side she gave you eggs and then a beautiful chicken dinner, who could ask for more


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