Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by JOSEPHC, Jan 7, 2013.


    JOSEPHC In the Brooder

    Dec 23, 2012
    Long Island New York
    I thought you needed to provide baby chick grit for new chicks, but I was told by a major supplier that if you order the starter feed in crumbled form, you do not need to provide baby chick grit. Is this true? if so, when do you supply the chicks with grit? This seems rather confusing! Thank you for your help.

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You don't need to supply grit until they are eating something other than chicken feed. That would be treats and seeds/grains.
    Chicken feed contains grain but it has already been ground before pelletizing/crumbling so there is no need to 'chew' it as in the grit in the gizzard.
    For that reason(among others) I only feed starter/grower until the birds are free ranging.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I agree that everything ChickenCanoe said is correct but I don't do it that way. I give mine grit about Day 2 or Day 3 in the brooder. A lot of that is personal preference. Many people do not give theirs grit until much later like ChickenCanoe and do fine. I personally don't see anything right or wrong with either approach, it's just the way we choose to do it. But I'll give you my reasons why I do it.

    If they have grit, their system can handle practically anything they eat, whether it is intentional or not. My brooder is in the coop so there is no telling what might wander in their range. They might eat shavings. With a wife like mine, they need to be prepared. She stunned a wasp and dropped it in the brooder with a bunch of 2 week old chicks. Those chicks had a blast tearing that wasp apart and eating it. With grit, they had no problems digesting that wasp. To me, giving them grit is cheap insurance.

    The other reason I do it is to introduce them to their future environment. I take some dirt out of the run where the adult chickens have pooped and give that to them. It’s sandy enough that they’ll get some grit out of it, but it also introduces any probiotics and living organisms the adults are dealing with. The main thing I want to introduce into their system is any protozoa that can cause Coccidiosis. They are going to have to deal with it when they hit the ground later and they can develop the immunity they need easier when they are young chicks as opposed to when they are older. Besides, while they are in the brooder I can watch them closer than when they are older and on the ground.

    I know a lot of people like to keep their chicks in as sterile an environment as they can. I personally feel my chicks are healthier and better prepared for life if they get an early start on the immunities they need. And grit in their systems has them prepared for whatever is ahead of them, even my wife.
    2 people like this.
  4. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    I gave grit to my brand new chicks because they were in a brooder outdoors and the heat lamp attracted flying insects. Bugs that they caught and ate, gleefully. You'd be surprised at what a 3-day old chick can manage. I didn't have any packaged grit available but our driveway is granite scrap gravel so I took a trowel full from an area where rain washes smaller stuff loose and I shook it in a colander to get the smallest bits. It worked fine and I wouldn't hesitate to do the same again.
    lalalayers13 likes this.

  5. nok13

    nok13 Songster

    Dec 8, 2012
    ridgerunner, i like your approach; i will adopt it also;

    i had thought of bringing in some dirt from my chicken run , there is grit, dirt, larvae etc... and indeed will build up their immune system. disease problems come from people who work with large amounts of animals that may have diseases, that could be tracked in; however, if u have contact daily with your own animals, jsut like a baby, they develop immunities to thsoe specific 'germs'
  6. RWise

    RWise Songster

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    Just to see if my chicks would even pick at it I put in a small bowl of oyster shell grit, when they found it they went after it like a kid in a candy store (just as my hens did when they first got it). The bowl soon had only bigger pieces in it which I put back into the sack and gave them more. The now go by and pick at it time to time, nothing like they did the first day. They beak the crumbles (non medicated here, absolutely no antibiotics!) out all over the place, so into the blender and now smaller crumbles, and maybe less waist. I see less on the floor, so maybe. I also bring in dirt for them, and they love it! One will find something, take off and start yelling "its mine!" (PEEP PEEP) The chase is on!!! I am now grinding up scratch grain and giving them, (<--- they absolutely love this!!!) whole oats also and alfalfa pellets ground up. They do not really like the alfalfa, but it is green and they do eat it, not like they would fresh greens. My babies hatched around the 28th of Dec.

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