Grit/oyster shell question

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by AlixS, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. AlixS

    AlixS Out Of The Brooder

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    I know that chickens need grit. And I know once they start laying that they need grit and oyster shells(correct?). The grit I have been giving my girls says for up to 10 weeks. It is made from granite. They are about 4 months now. (I know that that is older than 10 weeks). Sooo, what should I be buying for them? My local feed store sells all different kinds of grit but it is in bulk and does not have any labels to read. And when I asked them, they didn't know what I was talking about and told me to give them oyster shells....so am I wrong? Also, at what age should I start giving them oyster shells? Or should I wait until they start laying to give that to them?
    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The oyster shell and grit actually serve two different purposes, though I suppose a hen eating oyster shell may not need as much grit..Anyhow, grit is to help grind food in preperation for it being digested and oyster shell is used as a calcium supplement. If your pullets freerange or have small pebbles available to them in the yard they might not need extra grit and most layer feeds have enough calcium for most hens.

    That being said I always keep oyster shell out for my girls, partly because I feed gamebird feed part of the year and it doesn't have calcium in it but even when I'm feeding layer there always seem to be a few hens that want the oystershell too. It won't hurt anything to put grit out for them and you certainly should if you're giving them any treats and are unsure about whether they can find enough on their own.
     
  3. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    Quote:Do your chickens free-range? If so, they do not need supplemental grit. Grit helps them to break down the food in their crops. Oyster shell is given as a supplement, free-choice, to hens after they begin laying. Layer ration contains increased calcium that they need, but hens often require more calcium and they know when they need it, so they'll take it from the supply you provide for them when they feel it necessary. Oyster shell is NOT the same as grit and does not perform the same function of grit, which is helping to grind up the food.

    If the chickens do not have access to dirt or sand, you can provide some sand for them. My chickens free-range and our entire run is sand, so they're all set. Even if they don't have the chance to free range due to snow or a major rain storm, they still get all the sand/grit they need from their run.

    I hope that helps. [​IMG]
     
  4. AlixS

    AlixS Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! I forgot to put that my chickens do not free range... yet, anyways. That's pretty much what I thought about the grit vs oyster shells. My run is all mulch, so I definitely need to provide them some grit.
     
  5. Jx2inNC

    Jx2inNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you supply a "complete" food product for the birds, you really shouldn't need grit and oyster shells on the side.
    I don't think it will hurt anything, per se, but it isn't always necessary. With scratch or another base food, then yes, those may be quite preferable.
     

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