Can chickens eat too much grit?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by RhodeIslandRedFan, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    Hello everyone. I have 3 RIR hens who love their grit, and I wonder if they are eating too much of it. I've read many of your posts about offering grit free choice, so I bought some grit (granite) and try to keep some in a dish in their run at all times. But, whenever I put grit in the dish, they keep pecking at it until the dish is empty. They go at it like it's a treat. I'm afraid they are eating too much granite, and have visions of it clogging up their crops. Has anyone else had this experience? Is it possible for chickens to eat too much grit? Some additional info - They always have layer crumbles available and plenty of water. In addition to crumbles, they get oatmeal and yogurt on week-ends, a handful of scratch daily (2 handfuls on very cold days), BOSS, lettuce, cabbage, and leftovers on occasion. They haven't free-ranged much in the past several weeks due to weather and hawk issues. Thank you.
  2. catdaddy66

    catdaddy66 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2009
    Lugoff, SC
    Wow that does sound excessive. I know that chickens do not always make good choices for their nutritional needs so they could overdo the grit, I guess. Someone much more learned and experienced than I may know the answer! (SpeckledHen??)
  3. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    I think that's too much, I would just give them very very little in this case.
  4. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    I remember someone saying something once about being careful that chickens don't fill up on grit- you may want to sprinkle it on the ground and let them get it as they scratch around. If they are on dirt, they may not need much anyway, as they will pick up dirt/sand/ teeny rocks in the run.
  5. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    They'll eat too much if they've got a nutritional issue going on & they don't have access to whatever it is they are needing in their diet. They will also overeat the grit if they are ill. You might consider adding Avia Charge 2000 to their drinking water; it's an awesome vitamin/mineral supplement that's kelp based and great for them. It's made to flush what they don't need, and if they're suffering nutritional ills, this should make up the difference. If it were me, I'd leave the grit and add the Avia Charge to see if you find they're not eating as much grit; that will tell you if there's something nutritional going on.
  6. sherrydeanne

    sherrydeanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    My sexlink used to do that so I started mixing some in with the pellets instead. I only put it in during the winter though when they weren't going outside due to snow.
  7. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I will take your suggestion, Wynette, and try the Avia Charge 2000. I am now concerned about illness. This is not something I expected to hear. I have been feeding them Purina brand layer crumbles. All 3 of my hens appear healthy, they've been dealing well with the cold weather in an unheated coop, and I am getting 3 eggs a day with no extra light. I have not seen any lice or mites, or noticed any sign of illness. I will try the supplement and keep a close eye on them. Thank you all again for your comments [​IMG][​IMG]
  8. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    Actually if you got a larger container so they got full before they finished it instead of some being put out daily they'd probably give it up after a day or 2. I don't think there's any danger to eating too much short term. The problem is more with chicks that will fill up on grit, or anything else, because it's new and then basically starve to death or not have developed enough to handle it. Your hens are doing much the same with this new item and if you keep feeding it like a treat in controlled daily amounts they will keep eating it like it's a treat. If it's there all the time then it's no longer a treat and they are old enough to realize before they suffer any harm from lack of nutrient that grit does not fulfill their needs.
  9. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    My gosh, my chicks will love you for suggesting a larger container. LOL They do go after the grit like a treat, and what you say makes sense. Not sure what I'll do yet, but thank you for your response!
  10. Airilith

    Airilith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    Thank you so much for posting this! I had the very same question today. I just switched to adult grit (had been using the parakeet grit that was suggested for chicks) and they went nuts over it. If you didn't know it was grit you woulda thought I had been feeding them scratch or BOSS or something along those lines. Made me wonder if I should be concerned over how much they were gobbling down.

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