Do baby chicks need grit?


11 Years
Sep 6, 2008
North Carolina
I have 5 day old baby chicks and was told at the feed store that they don't need grit until they're done eating their starter. But, where I got the chicks, says to give them grit. Any advice?

Thank you!

P.S. I have been giving them a few bugs to eat (they go crazy trying to catch them) as well as tiny pieces of clover and grass, which they don't seem to really eat, but just peck at.
I didn't give mine grit until one of them ate a load of bedding and got an impacted crop, now I give them a little chick grit. It gives them something to scratch for and I can give them treats anytime I like.
If you give them anything besides starter, it's a good idea to give them just a little bit of grit so that they can properly digest the food.
In theory, yes, but I wouldn't. Dirt contains cocci which can wipe out a chick really quickly. I would give them something that has been sterilized. I use Nutri-Source chick grit. They love it and it has some minerals and anise oil. It does tend to produce some reddish poos, however, and it will stain your hands. If you can't get chick grit, parakeet grit is o.k. You can find that at any grocery store. With the parakeet grit, I just mix a little into their crumbles.
Hmmm... I've been giving my 5-week-olds dirt... hope they'll be okay. Another BYCer suggested just giving them a clump of sod... roots, worms, stones and all, that they'd find what they needed on their own.
I mean, if they were free-ranging (which they'll do as soon as I get that darn fence built!), they'd be eating dirt on their own, right?
Is cocci present in all dirt, or just dirt if chickens have been living there previously I wonder?
So far mine are okay, but they've only been eating it for a few days. (And dust-bathing in it, too... I put a cardboard box of dirt in the coop... instant chick sauna, they all want to be in it all the time!)
Cocci are ubiquitous. They actually play an important part in soil health. Whether a chick "comes down with" coccidiosis is a matter of many variables. If they're being fed medicated starter, it mitigates the risk. If they're quite healthy and unstressed, and/or several weeks old, it also mitigates risk. If they're partaking of certain plants or veggies it can mitigate risk. Chicks are raised at their mother's side all the time with no negative effects, but under the controlled conditions of a brooder, I'd rather err on the side of safety.
I've given all of mine sand out of my horse arena without any problems. I couldn't find chick grit here. The only grit I did find is too big for even my nearly grown bantams. I finally got some parakeet grit but the tiny box didn't last long.

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