additional grit necessary?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Hummingbird Hollow, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    My 8 week old pullets spend their day in a 100+square foot run with a gravely, dirt floor and have access to an additional 10'X20' dog kennel for several hours a day. I see them picking up dirt/gravel from the run and pecking at it when they are preparing for a dirt bath or sun bathing. Should I offer them additional, store-bought grit or are they fine with what nature provides them? I know I need to offer oyster shells when they're older but what about now?
     
  2. Alethea

    Alethea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2011
    We have a plate of grit available whether they need it or not. It won't go bad and I just sweep away the straw they have thrown on it. I'd wait until closer to laying tine to give them supplemental calcium. Too much calcium too young can cause bone deformities.
     
  3. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Leave grit available free choice like Alethea said. You wait start the oyster shell when they have started to lay. and you may not need it when they start on layer feed, but we leave it free choice for them and they occasionally pick at it. Oyster shell is no substitute for grit, however. It is too soft, even though it appears hard enough to us. They must have real grit to break up food in the gizzard. Stones and sand they pick off the run work fine usually and you may see they do use the grit offered to them sometimes more than others. They know when they need it.
     
  4. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. Can I assume that my local feed store should have chicken grit or can you recommend somewhere on line. The the local place I checked had oyster shell only and the grit I purchased at the pet supply store (packaged for parakeets etc.) was too high in calcium.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    If that gravel is granite, which I understand is what bought gravel is, I would not think you would need anything else. I wouldn't buy grit if I had a gravel driveway for them to select from. Here there is only limestone which, like oyster shell, is too soft, IMO. Mine do eat some grit but it takes them FOREVER to go through a small bag, maybe $6. The local feed stores carry neither grit or oyster shell; I have to drive 25 miles to the TSC to get them.

    Lots of folks grind up their egg shells and feed them back to the chickens instead of buying oyster shell. Layer feed manufacturers will tell you there is enough calcium in layer feed. When I fed my hens layer, they rarely touched the oyster shell. Now I feed them grower or flock raiser and they do take some, certainly more than before. They're really both a personal choice.
     
  6. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Colorado mountains
    Thanks for the very informative reply. Here in my part of Colorado the gravel is indeed granite...in fact the soil is pretty much decomposed granite with maybe a touch of organic material but mostly just granite from boulder size down to almost sand. Tough to grow much or a garden without tons of soil amendments but I thought it might meet the needs of my chickens. Thanks again.
     

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