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Do free range chickens need grit?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I let my chickens out during the day and there's plenty of dirt around.  Do I still need to provide them with grit?

post #2 of 28

I dont.....mine free range, and have for over a year now...and I have never given them grit, I am sure there are plenty pieces of small gravels they can find in the dirt.

Deb
Heavens Door Acres
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Deb
Heavens Door Acres
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post #3 of 28

No, they'll find all the grit they need outside. They do need oyster shell, though, seems like some folks think it's just grit but they need the calcium for laying eggs.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" Proverbs 3:5
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"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" Proverbs 3:5
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post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the replies.  They won't need oyster shell until they start laying, though, right?

post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsoffLambs 

Thank you for the replies.  They won't need oyster shell until they start laying, though, right?


Yes. Don't start giving them oyster shells till they start laying good. I normally wait a few months after they start laying to give them oysters shell. They don't need it as much when their young.

Rooster01-------
Lover of Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks and Wyandottes.
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Rooster01-------
Lover of Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks and Wyandottes.
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post #6 of 28

Rooster01-

I respectfully disagree....

Oyster shells should be put out just a little before you expect them to lay.  I put it out free choice, and they won't eat any unless they need it.

By waiting until after they begin laying, you may be letting them get to a calcium shortage which means they'll be grabbing calcium from their bones. 

Not as big of an issue if they freerange as they get lots to build eggs with from insects....but especially if they are confined to a run, I suggest beginning to put oyster shells out at 18weeks.

Sandra

Nov '08: Alpha to 4EE's, 2RIR, 1Buff Orp, 2 Jersey Giant, 1AsilXwelsummer, 1 australorpX?, 1 EE roo, and 4 runneducks* I promised DH we we're @ capacity-what was I thinking!!--that was a chicken ago--the neighbor needed a new home for her lone chicken--and a duck ago...a friend who needed a home for their runner duck who thinks it's a cross between a human and a chicken!!!!!
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Nov '08: Alpha to 4EE's, 2RIR, 1Buff Orp, 2 Jersey Giant, 1AsilXwelsummer, 1 australorpX?, 1 EE roo, and 4 runneducks* I promised DH we we're @ capacity-what was I thinking!!--that was a chicken ago--the neighbor needed a new home for her lone chicken--and a duck ago...a friend who needed a home for their runner duck who thinks it's a cross between a human and a chicken!!!!!
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post #7 of 28

can you subsitute egg shells for oyster shell?

post #8 of 28

Yeah, I give my chickens egg shells back and they like to eat them. Just make sure they dont look like eggs anymore just in case. I would think that  you would need additional egg shell though because it's pretty thin compared to flakes of oyster shell.

I also don't give my birds grit and they free range all the time.

Need egg candling reference pics? Click HERE!
2011 Coop build! Click Here!

 

I'm no expert, there is always something to learn, and my birds are livestock, so... yes, I may be quite blunt. wink.png

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Need egg candling reference pics? Click HERE!
2011 Coop build! Click Here!

 

I'm no expert, there is always something to learn, and my birds are livestock, so... yes, I may be quite blunt. wink.png

Reply
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

I was nervous about feeding egg shells from store bought eggs, as my gals aren't laying yet, because I didn't want to pass any disease (namely salmanella) to my flock.  Is this a legitamate concern?

post #10 of 28

Yes, I would be careful. I think as long as you sterilize the store bought egg shells before feeding them, then it is fine.

All my girls get is egg shells and layer feed and I've never experienced calcium deficiency.

Mine also free range and I only offer grit in the winter when they spend more time indoors, and I always offer grit to chicks in the form of play sand.

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