Free-choice grit?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by LilRalphieRoosmama, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    I normally mix some grit in with their feed in the hopper feeder, but today I decided to set out a bowl. You would have thought it was a treat! They ate every piece and it was like a feeding frenzy! Not sure if I should do that anymore - is it bad for them to have too much? I thought they would only take what they needed once they figured out what it was.
     
  2. countryentertainment

    countryentertainment Out Of The Brooder

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    they will get use to having it soon we leave a dish of grit out for ours all the time.
     
  3. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Grit is indigestible and provides no calories. No matter how much they eat, they will eat just as much food as if they didn't have it. Studies show that chickens given grit free choice at an early age have better digestive systems when they are adults. This goes for chickens only fed commercial feed too.
     
  4. mistylady

    mistylady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens go through sprees of eating lots of grit and then they leave it alone for a few days. They have coffee cups of it. And if I add new grit to the cup they all run to the cups to try it out!
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Nov 18, 2007
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    From another post on another forum.

    Chickens do not have teeth. Their food goes, as is, into the crop, where it is slowly funneled into a very small " stomach" for some digestive additives--then to the Gizzard, where it is 'chewed', that is, ground into material that can be digested as it moves into the intestines and so on. The Gizzard is best able to break down whole grains and other chunky bits that they eat when full of grit. Longest lasting grit is Granite, that lasts well. All other rock and stone is so much softer, that it wears down fast and that is why granite grit is best choice, works really well for best utilization of feeds. My baby chicks are given free choice and they choose it with pleasure, baby grit is fine Granite, as soon as they are given anything besides Starter Crumbles. Their tiny gizzards are at optimum function at an early age.

    Oyster shells can act as grit to an extent, but young birds who are not laying should not have oyster shell. Grit that is usually granite grit, does the job much better than oyster shell, which really isn't that hard. Grit grinds the Oyster Shell. While the gizzard is an amazingly strong organ, the Grit is a part of its function. Also, if they free range they will eat dirt for grit, but I always have a dish of granite grit and a dish of oyster shells near their food.
     

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