Chick Grit and Foraging Outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Anniegirl, May 12, 2009.

  1. Anniegirl

    Anniegirl New Egg

    Apr 16, 2009
    Hi Folks,
    I've tried to search under chick grit and didn't quite come up with an answer to my question. So I'm going to ask the experts here.

    I've got two 6week olds and two 4 week old chicks and I've got them outside in the sunshine today. They are on the grass with the top of the cage protecting them. Of course they are having a blast and pecking away at the grass and trying (unsuccessfully) to catch flies. Very cute. They also have their starter feed and water available to them.

    My question is whether or not I should give them grit to help digest whatever they forage? I'd like to put them out all week, but can't get to a feed store until next weekend. Will they be okay? I hate to keep them inside when they can be frolicking in the sunshine, but I don't want to kill them either! I read somewhere that they will pick up dirt and tiny stones just from foraging, but I'd love to get opinions on this.

    thanks in advance!
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    They will pick up tiny stones to help them digest their feed. When my chicks were little and I didn't want to buy more parakeet grit for them I just went out to our gravel driveway and scooped up a pile of dirt. After they picked out the grit they needed, they used the rest to dustbathe.
  3. lukewride

    lukewride Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 27, 2009
    Yes i would.

    My chicks been out on the lawn since it was 2 weeks old and i mixed a small amount of grit in with his chick crumb.. he's been eating everything from strawberrys to mealworms and is in top shape!

    but yes, if there is food other than starter chick crumb you chould supply grit for digestion.

  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    If the ground is kinda sandy or has very small gravel, they should get all the git they need. If you are on the gumbo muck of the Louisiana bayou country or some other place where the soil has no sand or small gravel, you can throw some sand on the ground and they'll be OK. They really do need something they can use as grit to graze outside. Sand works. Pure clay does not.

    Hope this helps.
  5. MaineChick

    MaineChick Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2008
    I've got essentially the same question as AnnieGirl - I know they need grit, and thought I'd use some from the gravel pile in the driveway - even baked it at 500 degrees to make sure there were no evil little microbes in it - and when I put it in the brooder the first time they wanted nothing to do with it. I thought they were a little young, so waited and gave it to them again a couple days ago when they were about 10 days old, and this time they all wanted to just eat it right down! Most of the 11 little ladies gobbled non-stop for about 3 minutes until I panicked that they'd kill themselves with gravel and took it out again.

    Do I give it back? It's got pieces that are coarser than sand, but most of it is like coarse beach sand.

    It was recommended by the hatchery to get either grit or fine cracked corn - I got the fine cracked corn and have been sprinkling it on their mash. Is that sufficient? I plan on giving them some outside time this week as it's going to be nice.
  6. firedove

    firedove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Fitzwilliam NH
    I usually mix chick grit or sand into the starter food so they have to pick through to find all the grit. Usually they just eat some of both.

    When I have them outside though they pick up little rocks on their own. They especially like sugar ant hills since they can get sand there and pick off the ants that stray out. They often dig between the clumps of grass and grab little stones out of the soil too.

    When I don't feel like mixing the grit into the feed I usually just pile some in a corner and let them find it on their own. My current group of 8 2 and 3 week olds will go through about a cup every two days.
  7. babylady4

    babylady4 Mother Goose

    Mar 30, 2009
    Central WI
    I have a big bag of sand for my hermit crab and my budgies that I have been giving the chicks. They act like it is popcorn when I give them a fresh supply!

    No impacted crops or anything else abnormal going on, and I have been giving them worms and taking them outside for the past few days and they are only a week and a half old. They have a blast in the grass grabbing bugs!

    I would not stress too much about it, their instincts are pretty good.
  8. farrier!

    farrier! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    I have picked up a bag of chick grit.
    I offered it to the 3 week olds as I started feeding worms (fun!)

    The 6 day olds I have now are very aggressive and attack anything and everything that might move. I have started them on free choice grit and worms too.

    Some days it disappears fast others it stays around more. They all seem fine with it.
  9. Anniegirl

    Anniegirl New Egg

    Apr 16, 2009
    Thanks for the info folks. I gave them some dirt from the garden that seemed to have tiny stones in it and they seemed to enjoy it. You've been a great help!

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