When you are looking for a product that is, let’s say, being used off label, it can result in some seriously funny looks. That is what happened recently when I decided that I needed some grit. I wanted it for two purposes. First, mixing in with soil mixes to help with drainage. And second, to top pots containing succulents so that moisture is not retained around their crowns.
All I know from my past was that it is referred to as chicken grit. Now, we live in agriculture land here in Tillamook, Oregon, where cows outnumber people. Lots of chicken farms also in the neighborhood. There are two farm stores and decided they would be a good place to look for chicken grit. The only nursery in the area had nothing that even comes close – they do not even stock perlite.
The hunt begins
Entering the first store and looking as if I know what I am talking about I ask if they have chicken grit. There is a totally blank expression on his face. “Come again,” he says. I repeat slower, and probably louder because that always helps. In addition, I try to make sure my pronunciation with a British accents isn’t getting in the way. Still no signs that he knows what I am talking about, and I am beginning to look like an idiot.
So, now I try and explain – you know the stuff that chickens eat to help improve their shells. So now he says “We have feed and pellets but we aign’t got no grits for chickens!” He then shows me 10 varieties of chicken feed. He explains that these ones are organic, and this is the best stuff and these will help strengthen the shells. I try one more time to say I am not looking for feed – just grit. At this point I can tell he is getting tired of me and has better things to spend his time on. “We don’t sell grits for chickens.”
Chicken or pidgeon
Now, I feel like about 3″ tall and he thinks that everyone from England is crazy! I am reluctant to try again at the second store, but I know if I don’t, I will still be looking for it and be even more afraid of looking foolish. It starts off with a similar exchange. But she quickly realizes that we are not talking about food and then hits the jackpot saying – yes, we have chicken grit and pidgeon grit. Which do you need?
Who knew? The confusion must have been written all over my face. Thankfully, she really wanted to be helpful. I also mentioned what I wanted to use it for and so she says, “let’s go take a look.” She picks up a knife and some tape and leads us out back. There are a lot of bags piled up and she slices open the back of chicken grit. I am already excited because on the side of the bag it says crushed granite. This is looking good. The pidgeon grit is basically a smaller sized grit, but that chicken grit is really what I was after and I did have the right name after all! Now I have bags of chicken grit, I know where to buy it and I know I can stand tall and demand my chicken grits!