Grit vs. Oyster Shell


13 Years
Mar 8, 2010
Mid-Coast Maine
Hey all,
I got some oyster shell today from our local feed store. I was going to buy grit, but the guy said Oyster Shell was better. Said it would strengthen their beaks. I asked the guy if this would serve the same purpose as Grit. He said yes. After searching here I am finding he was wrong - as I suspected. I can got get some Grit tomorrow. I would love to give my birdies some grapes tonight. They are just over 4 weeks old and deserve a treat. Would it be OK, even if they have not had any grit yet? I have mixed some Oyster Shell into there feed this afternoon. Input?
Do you have some sand or fine gravel or gravelly dirt around somewhere? That's all they need. I ordered some "chick grit" for my little ones last year, and when it arrived, I realized it was just coarse sand. EXPENSIVE coarse sand. Just give them some of that. And OF COURSE you'll be peeling those grapes for them, right? (just kidding!!) PS: don't you wish people would just own up to it when they don't actually know the answer to your question?
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You give oyster shell to pullets when they start laying it is an extra source of calcium. Do not give it to your chicks they do not need the extra calcium and it can harm kidneys. If you have some small gravel or sand that would work in a pinch.
You shouldn't give 4-week old birds oyster shell at all. Oyster shell is used as a calcium supplement for laying hens, it helps prevent soft and thin shelled eggs. Extra calcium can be harmfull to young birds and cause organ faliure when they get older, they don't need it and their little bodies have a hard time getting rid of the extra.
Chicks that young cannot process the extra calcium in oyster shells. It is not good for them. They won't need that until they start to lay eggs.
You should make grit available if you feed anything besides chick crumbles, cooked eggs or yogurt. Rule of thumb: If you need teeth to chew something, they need grit to digest it.
Good news is: you can give them a handful of dirt from your yard and if there are various sized bits of sand in it, they can use that quite well.

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