at what age to give grit?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by spish, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

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    ok i have chicks between 1 and 2 weeks old, on chick started crumble (no treats yet) but would like to start introducing other foods (scrambled egg, salad bits etc) within the next few weeks.
    at what age do hey need grit? or is hat just when i start the 'treats'

    can i give sand/grit from my cockatiels/budgies? (its the smallest i can find) its got crushed shell and stuff in it though....dont know if thats bad for them...
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    They need grit before they get treats. Some stuff they can handle without grit, like those scrambled eggs should be OK, but the salad bits would be dangerous without grit.

    I would not give them your grit for the other birds since it has calcium in it. Too much calcium can cause bone deformation in a growing chick or can damage its kidneys. Coarse sand works great. Not the fine smooth stuff we call play sand on this side of the pond, but something with larger irregular grains, like what we call construction sand.

    I have been known to go to my gravel driveway and collect grit for the young birds. If your roads have been salted for ice, you may want to be careful doing this. They cannot handle the extra salt either.

    Good luck!
     
  3. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    I used the regular poultry grit (crushed granite) for our chicks. I just put it through a sieve/strainer and used the small bits for the babies. It worked just fine.
     
  4. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

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    well ive tried everywhere here today to get poultry grit and culdnt get any (my ig chickns free range and pick stones in the field) looks like i'll have to go digging for small bits.


    i do however have sand.....chinchilla bath sand to be precise........nothing added its just really fine sand....is that any good for chicks?
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm not familiar with that sand. The chick or chicken keeps the sand/gravel/grit in its gizzard until it is ground down pretty fine, then it passes on through the digestive system and leaves the body. The problem with really fine sand, like play sand that goes in a child's sandbox, is it goes right on through without doing any good. You need coarser sand with irregular shaped grains.

    You can use regular chicken grit. Just run it through a wire sieve to get out the larger chunks or maybe put it in a cup and shake then sort of pick/rake the bigger chunks off. The finer stuff usually sinks to the bottom. As they get older, you can give them the bigger chunks. It never goes off or spoils.

    Sorry, I just noticed you could not get poultry grit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  6. SLWyandotte

    SLWyandotte Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i'm interested too. i have a pile of mortar sand left from building my BBQ pit. it's just the sand and is really corse. would that work for chicks and can i give it as a choice of it and oyster shell when they are older?
     
  7. motoclown

    motoclown Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does chicken grit have calcium ?
     
  8. Luvroos

    Luvroos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have never fed mine grit. They're 10 months old and are pastured so they eat dirt when they want it. I do give them oyster shells twice a week. I think grit is finely crushed gravel and might have calcium in it!
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Oyster shells are not grit. They are not hard enough to grind up everything a chicken may eat but the main problem with oyster shell as grit is that the chicken's digestive tract makes acid, just like ours does. The acid will dissolve the oyster shell so it will not last to be used as grit.

    Grit is just rock, from the size of a grain of sand to the size of a pea for full grown chickens. Chicks, not being full grown, can't use the larger pieces. Commercial grit is granite. Granite is hard so it lasts a long time and it is readily and cheaply available. They just screen it out from the debris from granite quarries. It is good recycling of a by-product of the quarrying process.

    If chickens have access to the ground, they will usually find their own grit. If they are in an area where the ground is swamp muck or such that has no gravel or rock in it, they could have a problem, but in most soils they will find something to use as grit. That's part of why they scratch. They are not just mining for worms, they are also mining for grit. If they are confined to a small area, they will eventually find and use the choice chunks of grit. I see absolutely nothing wrong with offering grit on the side, whether they need it or not, either in a separate container or throwing ot on the ground where they get the fun of mining for it.

    I personally don't like mixing grit or oyster shell with their food or mixing grit and oyster shell on the side. With me, it is always separate containers. They may be able to distinguish between feed, oyster shell, and grit when they are mixed, but why take the chance of confusing those adorable little birdbrains and causing them to eat more of something than they need?

    Chickens will use any gravel or sand they find as grit. If the native rock is softer than granite, it gets ground up faster so they eat more of it. If the native rock is limestone, they get calcium out of that. Some chicken feed contains limestone to provide calcium and grit, though if they don't free range, I'd still offer grit on the side.
     

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