A question about grit

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by PaPa Charlie, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. PaPa Charlie

    PaPa Charlie In the Brooder

    Jul 30, 2012
    I have been reading quite a few posts about grit, but I haven't found any that answers my question: How long does the grit remain in the chicken? I have been putting a little grit with the scratch every time I treat the chickens. (About twice a week.) Is it necessary to put out grit that often?


  2. maidenwolfx80

    maidenwolfx80 Songster

    Jul 26, 2012
    Depending on the size of the grit really. The chickens know when they need grit and if you put it in a container for them like you do feed, they will eat it when they need it.
  3. Red Barn Farms

    Red Barn Farms ~Friendly Fowl~

    Apr 12, 2012
    Kentucky Heartland
    That's a great question!

    I think it would depend on grit size and what the chickens are eating. If the grit is of a softer or harder stone type that would influence the amount of time. It's my understanding grit will remain in the crop the same amount of time as food would. That would be anywhere from around six to eight hours on average but then again depends on fiber and digestibility of the food. Grit in the crop area does nothing and will leave much faster than when in the gizzard. The grit being in the gizzard is where the grinding and breaking down of food occurs.
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Grit stays in the gizzard until it is to small to be of use in grinding and is then passed. I have a dish of it so they can get it when they need it.

  5. Spangled

    Spangled Songster

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    Of course, it stays in the chicken until it gets ground away to nothing.

    But I would love to know how long a teaspoon of medium granite grit will last inside the chicken that is eating a pelleted feed. Or a whole grain feed. You know, before it gets ground away. I wonder if one of those airport security machines could be used to look inside our chickens to see if their gizzard has rocks in it or not. You'd think that pretty soon there would be a surplus of those on the market ... maybe.

    I know that if the chickens aren't leaving any in their feeder, then you aren't giving them too much because a few years back I was feeding a few roosters (adults) by the two-feeder method (mash and whole grains). I didn't have quite the right space for another feeder full of grit for them, so I would just pour a bunch of grit in with the whole grains. Like maybe 2 cups of grit and 3 gallons of whole grains. As the feed was eaten, I could see that they were leaving the grit in the bottom of the feeder and had eaten around the grit. So for my roosters in that situation, that was more grit than they needed, but they were smart enough not to overeat even though the grit was mixed in with the whole grain. I wouldn't do that with any chickens that were less than 6 months old, though, just for the record.

    So, in your situation, my guess would be that if they aren't leaving any grit in their feeder, then you aren't feeding them too much grit, yet.

    As you probably know, a dish full of grit free choice is usually considered "best practice," though, so that adult chickens can have free choice access to the grit at all times. The same is usually considered best practice for the oyster shell, too, for layers. I really want one of those free choice wall feeders that you can put oyster shell and grit in, but it's over $120 plus s&h! [​IMG] I know it's worth it, but our money tree isn't bearing much fruit this season.
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    You don't have to have a fancy feeder. I use the bottom of a half gallon milk jug tacked to the wall. This thread got me thinking about the old x-ray motion pictures of a person chewing and swallowing. Would be kinda neat to see a chickens gizzard at work.
  7. Spangled

    Spangled Songster

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    If only I were so lucky to be able to get my chickens to respect something I tack on the wall to hold their grit and oyster shell.

    They would sit on the milk carton and ignore all the roosts. The milk carton would get torn off. I screwed little tea tins to the wall a few years back, and they bent those into oblivion within a couple of months.

    I still have a few of the rabbit feeder types up, and they do pretty well. But a lot of the grit and oyster slides through them.

    Mostly a smaller hanging feeder works the best for me these days. It's finally what I settled into a few months ago, but with all the roosts, I can find it a little difficult to keep hens from soiling it in one way or another.

    Life with chickens. [​IMG]

  8. mickey328

    mickey328 Songster

    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    Our fancy grit feeder is a large tuna can. It's screwed onto one of the "legs" of our raised coop. It's only about 5 " off the ground and is small enough that they have no interest in sitting on it. We have one for oyster shell on another post...we just keep 'em both topped off and they take what they need.
  9. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Crowing

    Oct 24, 2009

    I found a heavy earthenware pot (like a dog bowl) works great. Just use a small one, and fill it with the grit.

    As it heavy they can not tip it over, and if you get one with an inner overhanging rim that will stop them scratching it out also. Like the one the picture above.

    just keep the pot undercover, so no rain gets into the grit.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012

  10. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    There are a few things that will affect the amount of grit that you bird will need.
    Type of feed, if they free range or not, type of grit, age and amount of feed will all affect the amount of grit your birds will need.

    When feeding grit it is best just to have a container of grit full at all times. As for a grit feeder you can use a number of things but I my self use both small creep feeders or PVC type feeders.

    Creep Feeder --

    PVC Feeder --


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