Chick grit w/ oyster shell in it?? Is this ok??


10 Years
Aug 4, 2009
Leicester, NC
Hi guys, I bought some parakeet grit at the local pet store to substitute for chick grit which I have been unable to find at any of the local feed stores. I noticed when I got it home that it has oyster shell in it. Will this be harmful to the chicks?

You know, I've used parakeet grit for years for both my parakeets and baby chicks. I never thought to look and see what might be in it. I've even recommended it to others. I just now looked at the box and it says calcium carbonate is in there, between .01% and 10% of volume. It doesn't say what the calcium is derived from. It could be oyster shell or any number of other things.
I know extra calcium is not good for young chicks. But then I have no idea how much of it they are getting from this grit. I've never had any obvious problems using it, but I wouldn't know what to look for anyway.
Just goes to show that no matter how well informed I think I am on a given topic, there is always something I DON'T know.
I DO know that until I have more information I won't use this for my chicks anymore.
Anyone else know more about this?

I should of paid more attention, the brand I got specifically touts oyster shell as one of the ingredients, so I imagine the percentage is even higher than your brand Tammy.
Yes, plain sand is fine (not silica or what is called 'play sand')

Chicks only really need grit if you are feeding them anything besides chick starter feed. If you give them grass or greens or any kind of treat they need the grit to help break it down.
I was using the parakeet grit because it is something I always have on hand. This year when I have babies I will buy sand for them because I always start treats fairly early so they get used to a variety of foods.

Although I must say, I think the term 'treats' is a little overused. Chickens SHOULD have a varied diet and what most people call treats are really just 'food'.
Chicks do not need grass but it helps them to thrive. Sort of like children do not need exercise but children that do play and run around are healthier. Mimic nature, not a list on a package.
So is the consensus DO NOT give baby chicks PARAKEET GRIT any amount of oyster shell / CALCIUM carbonate?

We were going to introduce this to the chicks tonight - but wondering if we should not?
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From everything I've read chicks should not be given calcium.
That said, I have used parakeet grit for chicks for probably 30 years and had no ill effects, even though evidently it has calcium in it. Perhaps it isn't enough calcium to have adverse effects. I just don't know. Acting on the side of caution, I won't be using it anymore "just in case."
Since it's feed store day tomorrow anyway, I'll get some chick grit for when the babies come in April.

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