grit and oyster shell

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dartfreak75, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. dartfreak75

    dartfreak75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At what age should I start offering grit and oyster shell and do I need both or just one of the other?
     
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oyster shell provides extra calcium. You can offer it on the side so that they can take it as needed after they start laying.

    Offer grit when they are eating food that require "teeth." The grit helps to grind up their food in the gizzard. They don't need it if they are just eating chicken feed.
     
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    X2! Yay Chicks! is correct!!
     
  4. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is it necessary to offer grit if your chickens have access to dirt (which, in my yard, is nearly pure quartz sand)?
     
  5. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No your are good. You can throw a handful of oyster shells in their feed once in awhile to get harder shells on your eggs.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I personally don't like to trick them into eating oyster shell. As in practically anything you or they can eat, too much of a good thing is usually not a good thing. Too much calcium can hurt them, even grown egg-laying chickens. Their internal organs have to work overtime to filter out the excess calcium.

    If you offer it on the side, then ones that need it will usually eat it. The ones that don't need it usually won't eat enough to hurt themselves. Or you can force feed them excess calcium and hope their internal organs don't break down.

    I'm not saying that every hen that needs extra calcium will eat the oyster shell. Sometimes there is something wrong with the hen where she does not recognize the need or her body may not process the calcium she eats. It’s possible a chicken will stand and stuff itself with the oyster shells even when they don't need the calcium. You are dealing with living animals. No one can give you any guarantees what one specific individual will do, but the vast majority will get it right if given the chance.

    I’m not saying that your chickens will all die a horrible death if you mix oyster shell with their feed. A lot of then won’t. How much they are at risk depends on how the individual chickens processes calcium, how much they are getting from other sources, and how much you mix in.

    I just consider offering oyster shell on the side instead of mixing it with their food a reasonable precaution.

    Grit is somewhat similar. It doesn’t carry the risk that oyster shell does but offering it on the side if you offer it instead of mixing it with their food is something else I consider reasonable.

    Give them a chance to regulate how much they eat. The vast majority will get it right if given the opportunity. I don’t have a chicken’s instinct to know exactly how much of either of these they need.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    No, they will get all the grit they need from the ground. Watch them when they dust bathe. They usually peck at the sand and dirt a lot when dust bathing. At least mine do.
     
  8. dartfreak75

    dartfreak75 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info I'm preparing a large outdoor run so I guess I want need grit
     
  9. Luv-R-Chickens

    Luv-R-Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    I did not know that they don't need the grit if only eating chicken feed. What type of food would need the aid of the grit to grind it up?

    If anyone could answer this I would really appreciate your input.

    Thanks[​IMG]
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Grass or other green stuff, grains and other seeds, hard shelled bugs. Basically anything you would need to use your teeth on.
     

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