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Grit...Is it really Necessary?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Alley101, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. Alley101

    Alley101 Just Hatched

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    Here's my question......is grit REALLY necessary? Most of the chicken owners I know use grit and feed it to their brooding chicks. But is it REALLY Necessary? Please tell me in the comments! ;)

    - Alley
     
  2. Mortenson1987

    Mortenson1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    Depends on what you are feeding them. If only purchased chick starter then no grit required. If you give them other things like grass or cracked corn then yes they need grit. I do not feed my adult chickens grit because they free range and pick up their own "grit" in the form of sand and pebbles but my chicks in the brooder I give chick grit as I like to give them treats
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Like the above poster said, it depends.

    Chickens don't have teeth. They have beaks which can tear off chunks of food. They swallow pretty large things whole. These things make their way down to the gizzard. The gizzard is a very strong muscle that literally grinds the food down for digestion. Grit of some sort is necessary in the gizzard to grind chunks of food, seeds, bug exoskeletons, etc.

    Crumbles or pellets don't really need grinding. They basically turn to mush when wet, so grit isn't needed so much.

    A lot of birds can get grit from the run. Sane, small fine pebbles, etc are used.

    Chicks in a brooder can't get grit on their own. If you're giving them just chicken feed, they're fine. If you're giving them treats that will need to be gournd up, they need some grit.
     
  4. Alley101

    Alley101 Just Hatched

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    Aug 22, 2016
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    Thanks for the awesome responses! Thanks for informing me about grit. You guys are the best! Now I know ;)

    - Alley
     
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    There's more. The role of grit is to exercise and develop a larger, stronger and healthier gizzard. Search this raising chicks forum for the thread called " the science of feeding grit to poultry" The 1st 4 posts. Check that URL for that PDF for a feeding schedule. You won't see a lot of difference in your bird's growth. The good things are happening inside the bird. The gizzard gets stronger( better able to mash feed) and healthier, and larger (more capacity). All this translates into a bird which can better prepare the feed for absorption later in the G.I, tract. More nutrient uptake by better prepared feed by the gizzard means more nutrients available to the bird and up to 20% more eggs for your table.
    Best,
    Karen
     
  6. Alley101

    Alley101 Just Hatched

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    Thanks for the input, Karen! I will definitely refer to this information in the future! [​IMG]

    - Alley
     
  7. Busterchicken

    Busterchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i just let my chicks free range with supervision every day, and they get all the grit they need. if they are stuck in the brooder 24/7, they will need grit.
     
  8. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    More than welcome, Alley
    All the information referenced in those 1st 4 posts is available in the bibliography cited at the end. That little book is such a treasure. It is not only a bibliography, each cite also contains an abstract of the knowledge in the lit cited. It's only 89 pages long and such a wealth of knowledge! I will never look at grit as "just any little stones" again.
    In the 1930's, large poultry farmers were looking for ways to improve their egg yield. They noticed that hens fed insoluble grit with sharp edges laid more eggs. So they raised their collective voices and out of it all came the commercial poultry grit industry. Gran-I-Grit started in 1935 and so did at least one other company. Most all of the outcry resulted in the use of different sizes of insoluble granite grit at different ages. The result in layers was a larger, healthier, stronger gizzard. Which gizzard was more and better able to process feed for the remainder of the G.I. tract. Thus providing more uptake of nutrients per bird and more nutrients used by the bird equaled up to 20% more eggs from a hen.
    Notice it was the poultry farmers who started all this. And also that just one size of grit was not sufficient for their needs. They settled on one specific type( insoluble granite) and 3 sizes of grit to be fed at 3 different stages of development. Notice that grit that is too small just passes right thru the bird. It is no help. Grit that is too soft has its sharp edges easily rounded off by the high acidity of the sulphuric (sp?) acid in the gizzard. Thus making small or round grit ineffective for grinding feed. In the many decades since, different sizes of insoluble granite grit fed at the proper ages has proved to result in improved egg production.
    Part of the problem in these modern times is that the good stuff the grit accomplishes are inside the bird. The raiser doesn't see any difference in the birds outward appearance. So they question its necessity. Also when the grit finally starts to move on down the G.I. tract to be expelled by the bird, it helps keep pathogens from becoming established in the latter part of the G.I. tract. So it serves 3 functions.
    Proper size and type grit at the proper age :
    1. E
    xercises the gizzard making it stronger.
    2. Keeps the gizzard healthy by preventing ulcers.
    3. Expulsion of the "used" grit thru the rest of the G.I. tract
    helps keep harmful pathogens from becoming established there.
    The result is:
    More eggs thru better nutrient uptake of better prepared feed in the rest of the G.I. tract.
    Best Regards,
    Karen in western PA, USA
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016
  9. Alley101

    Alley101 Just Hatched

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    Thanks again, Karen!
    This is really useful information.
    Thank you! [​IMG]
     
  10. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    More than welcome,
    Karen
     

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