Do free range chickens need grit?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by EmsoffLambs, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. EmsoffLambs

    EmsoffLambs In the Brooder

    Jul 13, 2007
    Chilcoot, CA
    I let my chickens out during the day and there's plenty of dirt around. Do I still need to provide them with grit?
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I dont.....mine free range, and have for over a year now...and I have never given them grit, I am sure there are plenty pieces of small gravels they can find in the dirt.
  3. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    No, they'll find all the grit they need outside. They do need oyster shell, though, seems like some folks think it's just grit but they need the calcium for laying eggs.
  4. EmsoffLambs

    EmsoffLambs In the Brooder

    Jul 13, 2007
    Chilcoot, CA
    Thank you for the replies. They won't need oyster shell until they start laying, though, right?
  5. Rooster01

    Rooster01 Songster

    Feb 25, 2007
    Southern WV
    Quote:Yes. Don't start giving them oyster shells till they start laying good. I normally wait a few months after they start laying to give them oysters shell. They don't need it as much when their young.
  6. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster


    I respectfully disagree....

    Oyster shells should be put out just a little before you expect them to lay. I put it out free choice, and they won't eat any unless they need it.

    By waiting until after they begin laying, you may be letting them get to a calcium shortage which means they'll be grabbing calcium from their bones.

    Not as big of an issue if they freerange as they get lots to build eggs with from insects....but especially if they are confined to a run, I suggest beginning to put oyster shells out at 18weeks.

  7. schmism

    schmism Songster

    Feb 16, 2007
    Peoria IL
    can you subsitute egg shells for oyster shell?
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Yeah, I give my chickens egg shells back and they like to eat them. Just make sure they dont look like eggs anymore just in case. I would think that you would need additional egg shell though because it's pretty thin compared to flakes of oyster shell.

    I also don't give my birds grit and they free range all the time.
  9. EmsoffLambs

    EmsoffLambs In the Brooder

    Jul 13, 2007
    Chilcoot, CA
    I was nervous about feeding egg shells from store bought eggs, as my gals aren't laying yet, because I didn't want to pass any disease (namely salmanella) to my flock. Is this a legitamate concern?
  10. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Songster

    May 4, 2007
    Yes, I would be careful. I think as long as you sterilize the store bought egg shells before feeding them, then it is fine.

    All my girls get is egg shells and layer feed and I've never experienced calcium deficiency.

    Mine also free range and I only offer grit in the winter when they spend more time indoors, and I always offer grit to chicks in the form of play sand.

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