Do Chickens need Grit when they free range?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MrChello, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. MrChello

    MrChello New Egg

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    Sep 22, 2012
    Hello everyone,

    I live in an area that is Sandy Loam. I have two small coops enclosed fully by a pen and the chickens free range daily outside of their pen.

    Do the chickens NEED to have Grit supplied to them or will they get it naturally through their free ranging activities?

    Thanks for you help...

    MrChello...
     
  2. moomoodiddy

    moomoodiddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    nope, they will get all they need through the dirt and bugs they eat especially if its sandy
     
  3. MrChello

    MrChello New Egg

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    Sep 22, 2012
    thank you for your reply...

    How about Calcium? Should I supplement if the chickens free range daily?

    MrChello...
     
  4. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2012
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    It's confusing, I think, because grit can mean one of two things. Hard grit is tiny stones and is needed in the crop to help them digest food. They are likely to get enough of that from free ranging, though if you're concerned your sandy loan doesn't have a lot of hard grit in it, you can put some small garvel in a bowl or area for them to select as they feel the need.

    The second kind is shell grit, or some other source of calcium. They need this to ensure strong shells for their eggs. Again, they self-regulate, so if you have a source of this available they will just eat it as and when they feel the need. Here in Australia, you can buy shell grit (crushed up sea shells) but wherever you are you can buy from a pet store a source of calcium grit for the chickens.

    Hope this helps
     
  5. I free range 24/7 and they get all the grit they need. As for calcium, as long as you are giving them a complete feed (such as Purina's Layena) it should have all the calcium and they need.

    Hope this helps.

    ~~~Ms.B :)
     
  6. Lowe5749

    Lowe5749 Out Of The Brooder

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    Free ranging they should get all the grit they need. I dont think giving them oyster shell or another form will hurt em I keep a feeder full for mine n they seem to get it when they want to, but I was told they dont need supplementing unless their eggs get soft, im still kinda new myself though.
     
  7. moomoodiddy

    moomoodiddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you can also crush thier eggshells and give it to them for calcium or give them some treats like yogirt or milk
     
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I give grit and oyster shell since I offer so many whole grains to my chickens and I have noticed that our soil isn't especially gravelly. But they say you don't need to give the grit if free ranging.

    Oyster shell is good to give free choice- they will eat if needed.
     
  9. MrChello

    MrChello New Egg

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    Sep 22, 2012
    Thanks everyone.

    I am relatively new to Chickens (of the egg laying heritage variety - Buff Bantam Brahmas and Dark Standard Brahmas, Partridge Chantecler, Blue and Black Orpingtons and Black Ameraucanas) so i am not supplementing during the spring, summer and fall months. All my chickens are spring born birds and i acquired them as birds several weeks old or older.

    I have not supplemented my chickens at all so far with grit or calcium.

    As i stated i live in a sandy loam area and the girls all free range daily in grass and wooded area besides having a barren sandy pen enclosing their two coops.

    My next dilemma is what i should do in the winter months?

    i am guessing i should supplement both grit and calcium?

    What do you all do during the winter months? I live in South Western Ontario, Canada and it’s not uncommon for the ground to be frozen solid a few feet down, and to have several feet of snow covering the ground for weeks.

    Would love to hear what you all do who have similar environmental issues.

    Thanks,
    MrChello...
     
  10. moomoodiddy

    moomoodiddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    bring them a bucket of buggy gritty dirt in thier coop for the winter and crush up their egg shells for calcuim
     

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