Grit in a nutshell?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by navychick, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. navychick

    navychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    Can someone explain grit in simple terms?
    I understand they need it to grind food but I am confused about the crop and gizzard etc.
  2. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2009
    It is confusing until you realize just how different a chicken's digestive system is from other animals.

    Basically what happens is that the chicken swallows the food, which goes down the esophagus and into the crop, where it remains for a certain amount of time. From here it moves to the post-crop esophagus and to the "true" stomach, or proventriculus. This stomach functions quite like ours, using digestive enzymes to break down food. After this, the food moves to the gizzard. This is a large organ with thick walls that uses strong muscles to crush and grind food. The grit, and whatever other small stones the chicken ingests, collect here and help crush the food when the muscles do their thing.

    However, chickens don't always need the feed store definition of "grit" which comes in the zip-lock packages with the happy chicken on the front. While that stuff works well, if your chickens scratch around in the dirt periodically, they should be ingesting all the grit they will need. Anything from small stones to sand can help the gizzard to function properly.

    As adults, chickens rarely need grit unless they are kept away from the ground for long stretches of time. They will find what they need without extra grit. Chicks, on the other hand, may need a bit of help. A chick kept on pine shavings all of its early days will have a hard time immediately digesting green things like grass. At this point they will need some sort of grit to build up their gizzard's "collection." Sand usually works really well for chicks, and it's cheaper than commercial grit.

    Well, I've tried to put it in a nutshell, but I think I ended up typing something a little longer! [​IMG] I hope this helps! [​IMG]
  3. Sonic Pug

    Sonic Pug Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nice answer above, I was wanting to know a little more about grit too. Thanks
  4. Chickens_in_a_nutshell

    Chickens_in_a_nutshell Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    Quote:What they said, and that's a nutshell.
  5. CatDaddyAlbert

    CatDaddyAlbert NoFeathersRuffled

    Apr 22, 2011
    Gumboro, Delaware
    Blue Myst
    Very impressed with your answer. You really took the time to explain it properly.

    I have had chickens for years and did not know about the part concerning transition from pine shavings. Now I do.

    You are a GREAT help to All.

    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  6. navychick

    navychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    Thanks for the excellent answer. Is it possible for chicks to eat too much grit? How often is it eliminated? I have seen it posted that a chicken was ill with an impacted crop. How do I check for that condition? Thanks again....Thee more I learn about "my girl's", said with fingers crossed, the less I know. -Tamara

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