Do my chickens need grit?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pookiegoldman, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. pookiegoldman

    pookiegoldman Songster

    Aug 3, 2010
    Grand Isle, Louisiana
    Hey All!
    I'm brand new here! My 21 week old chickens are in a 20'x20' run, which is basically sandy loam (live on an island). It is fairly gritty. I wanted to know if I need to provide grit or oyster shell for them?? or What could happen if they don't get enough grit?

  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers


    They should be fine without store-bought grit - they can find it in the soil. (Their crops can get impacted with food they cannot "chew" or break down in the gizzard.)

    You should provide crushed oyster shell, free choice. I put it in an empty tuna can nailed to an inside wall of the coop. Those that need it, take it; those that don't, won't.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  3. PhilErvin

    PhilErvin Songster

    Sep 11, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    They are getting what grit they need from the sandy ground. The oyster shell is only useful when they start laying eggs and the laying feed you will switch them to will most likely have calcium in it. I provide oyster shell and the girls do eat it but you could do the same thing by crushing their shells and feeding that back to them if you want to go to the trouble. Don't ever feed their own shells back to them without first crushing it though. Because if they see that they are eating shells they will be inclined to eat their own eggs.
    Welcome to this addiction [​IMG]
  4. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Grit and oyster shell are two separate and different things, each with its own purpose.

    Grit (small, rough edged stones) is swallowed and held in a chicken's gizzard (or ventriculus) where it helps to grind food into smaller, digestible particles by the muscular contractions of the gizzard. Granite chips are particularly good as grit because of the rough edges of the chips. Sand is usually too small and fine to serve as grit; and round, smooth pebbles don't work as well, either.

    Oyster shell is a form of calcium supplementation, which is used of course by laying hens in forming shells for their eggs. Even though layer feed has calcium in it already, it's good to offer oyster shell free choice so a hen can eat as much as her own body needs.
  5. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Probably not on the grit--even if your soil is sandy the chickens will find what they need. As for the oyster shells--as soon as they begin laying they are a good idea for a calcium supplement. You just need a separate container to hold them--don't mix with feed. I have a bin-like feeder I purchased years ago from McMurray that has two compartments--I put oyster shells in one side and flax seed in the other.

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