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Grit/Oyster Shells

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by errowman, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. errowman

    errowman Hatching

    Jul 27, 2011
    I just received a large of oyster shells as a gift for my birthday.
    Will that serve as grit also, or do I need to provide the small stone type grit also?
    Thanks for any help.

  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    You will need the stones as well.

    Oyster shell is too soft. It is for supplemental calcium.

    Good luck

  3. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    Oyster shell is not the same as grit. If your birds will be allowed to go in an area where there is sand and small gravel, you won't need to buy grit because they will pick up their own.
  4. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

    Jun 17, 2011
    Morristown, AZ
    Like the others said,

    Oyster shells are for laying hens and help the egg shells.

    Grit is to be used by the gizzard to help grind the food.

    They will need both...
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  5. Fierlin1182

    Fierlin1182 powered-flight

    Aug 26, 2011
    We've never used grit for our birds because they free range, so if you let yours out of the coop some time you probably won't need it either. [​IMG]
  6. ChicKat

    ChicKat Crowing Premium Member

    Quote:Oyster shells won't 'spoil' so you can keep your large bag going for a long time with no product degradation. Grit is harder than oyster shells. If you make it available to your chickens you know that they will get what they need, so why not provide them with some.

    welcome to the forum and good luck with your chickens.
  7. ORChick

    ORChick Songster

    May 20, 2007
    ray's two cents :

    We've never used grit for our birds because they free range, so if you let yours out of the coop some time you probably won't need it either. [​IMG]

    My birds free range almost everyday, and they still clean up the grit I have put in their run. I figure it is cheap insurance; if they need it they have it, if they don't need it now, it won't go bad. I just put a small container (like an empty tuna can) full of grit where they can reach it.​

  8. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Songster

    Oct 13, 2008
    ray's two cents :

    We've never used grit for our birds because they free range, so if you let yours out of the coop some time you probably won't need it either. [​IMG]

    I'll go one step further, and say that I don't free range, nor have I ever used grit. The dirt floor of the coop and run apparently provides enough grit. Most dirt is full of tiny pebbles and such and that is where my natural "grit" comes from. One more reason chickens should always be kept on a DIRT FLOOR! I never even knew much about grit till I joined BYC... [​IMG] Sure it's cheap enough and it doesn't hurt I suppose if you find yourself in doubt, but I can't see why you would ever need it unless you insist on having your chickens on an artificial floor or have some strange pebble-free dirt in your area. And personally I'm not into buying things I don't need... [​IMG]
  9. Duramaxgirl

    Duramaxgirl Songster

    Feb 12, 2010
    My chickens don't quite free range but they have a HUGE run. I thought I'd give them some grit the other day. They went through a whole quart in one day. My DH made me a small feeder for grit and oyster shell, now I'll have it for them at all times. I do feed BOSS and scratch every so often. I've read if you feed lots of whole grains its a good idea to provide them with grit.
  10. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Songster

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    Oyster shell will serve some of the purpose of grit, but its value in that role is limited.

    The biggest difference is solubility. Oyster shell will have some sharp edges in it fresh-crushed out of the bag. But it is soluble and digestable (that's how it's calcium nourishes the bird). As it is dissolved and digested, the edges useful for grinding food in the gizzard dull and round off, and become useless as a grit to grind up large or fibrous chunks. Remember, this stuff was produced by a living creature.

    Grit, on the other hand . . . is stone. Typically granite or another volcanic rock, as opposed to limestone (which is nothing but the compressed shells of ancient critters other than oysters, again, the shells of a once-living creature, little different from oyster shell) so not at all soluble and difficult to digest. It doesn't dissolve. If anything, it erodes in the gizzard from use, and passes through as something smooth that doesn't get digested much, if at all on its final trip out of the chicken.

    Your birds know the difference and will find the balance from the two. Oyster shells are good to have out for them for when their individual needs for calcium may not be met by the content of their processed feed. Grit, whether from ranging, from a feeder, or off the dirt floor of the coop, is something all of them need.

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