Grit, oyster and all that stuff

angelavl

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 22, 2012
29
0
24
Western Washington
Hi there, my chicks are now 6 weeks old. They are eating "chick starter", but will be moving to "chick developer" (what my local chicken farmer recommended). They are outside in their chicken ark and hang out in their grassy run all day now. Should I be providing extra grit now that they are outside all day? Also, is this a good time to put out a bowl of oyster shell?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,492
15,208
777
Southeast Louisiana
You can provide grit if you wish, it won't hurt anything. But they should be getting all the grit they need from the ground. You almost certainly do not need to provide grit.

You should not give them any extra calcium until they need it for their egg shells. That is when they start to lay. There are plenty of studies that show that feeding excess calcium to chicks can damage their internal organs. In these studies they start off feeding them layer rations which has the extra calcium in it and they cut the chicks open to look at them internally to see what damage has been done.

You could probably offer them oyster shell and it should not cause any problems. That's what many of us do when we have a mixed age flock, feed them all Grower, Developer, Flock Raiser, something like that that does not have the extra calcium in it and offer oyster shell on the side for the hens that need it for the eggs. The ones that don't need it won't eat enough to cause themselves any problems. But I think it is just good practice to not offer them any until you have some that need it.

Grit has nothing to do with oyster shells.
 

suenotto

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jul 27, 2010
58
0
39
Limeport
grit is small pebbles found in dirt. if they are outside and pecking at the ground then they are getting plenty of grit. grit helps them digest stuff other than the food you give them (i.e. grass, bugs, worms, treats, etc.). yes if they are eating grit then they can have oyster shells.

here's a link for more treats

https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-treat-chart-the-best-treats-for-backyard-chickens
This is incorrect. As Ridgerunner said, birds must not be given supplemental calcium until they are laying. Just because a bird is out in the yard does not mean they are old enough to get oyster shell.

Oyster shell mainly consists of calcium carbonate, the same as is in Tums and other calcium supplements people take. Too much calcium causes developmental problems in birds.

"Grit" is tiny stones that get swallowed and stay in the bird's digestive system and help grind away the outer hulls of seeds and grains thereby allowing enzymes to work on the inner portion. Birds of any age can have grit. If you keep your birds inside, you need to provide girt, if they free range outside you do not need to provide it, they will find it on their own.
 

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