Homemade grit?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by darajosami, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. darajosami

    darajosami Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi I found this on a website and was wondering if it would be ok to do.

    "You can supplement the grit with finely crushed egg shells. To do this, wash the egg shells and allow them to dry completely. Then finely crush the shells with a rolling pin or pulse a couple of times in the food processor. The aim here is to provide a variety of grit sizes for the chickens."

    I also found this

    "As an alternative to Oystershell grit, you can bake crushed egg shells in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until they are crisp."

    Any advice?
     
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    14,418
    4,737
    456
    Jan 10, 2013
    Macon,GA
    I have seen those "recipes" as well. But, if their feed has calcium in it, didn't know how that would effect them. And I do think they are quite intelligent, and would worry they may realize these are eggshells and decide to make their own snacks from eggs???
     
  3. Wol1

    Wol1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    269
    40
    106
    Feb 28, 2014
    SW Ohio
    I think the gizzard is so strong it would make quick work of the eggshells. Are you trying to get a grit substitute, or an oyster shell substitute?
     
  4. Aronia

    Aronia Chillin' With My Peeps

    651
    14
    108
    Apr 8, 2014
    St. Catharines, ON
    Use sand.
     
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    17,232
    5,718
    501
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    I use egg shells to give to my girls - but the amount of shell produced is not nearly equal to the amount of supplemental calcium they take in in any given week, so I offer it WITH oyster shell because they need more than I could give them with just egg shells alone.


    I think the issue stems from some misleading terminology here. Rather than being a homemade "grit" it is a homemade calcium supplement.

    @ Wol -- agreed - - This is two different things- the egg shells are a great supplement to/for oyster shell, yes - but not as "grit" per say - it is used as a calcium source for your laying birds. However, it is not really meant as a grit (even though it is often listed as such on packaging). Calcium supplement is broken down and absorbed by the body to be used by the shell glad for shelling eggs and to help maintain good muscle contraction for the passing of eggs.

    Digestive grit is used by all birds (not just laying hens) as a tool by which to break up, grind and aid in digesting hard foods (anything that is not commercial poultry crumble/pellet - which is formulated to be water soluble) - the most common type of grit is granite. Stones used for digestive grit are meant to remain in the birds gizzard and work as a grinding medium until such time that the piece is worn down and no longer useful as a grinder at which point it is passed through the bird, excreted and replaced with new grit taken in by the bird at the other end. As you can see, for purposes of digestive grit egg shell is a poor option as it will not stand up to the rigors of digesting food and will be broken down by the food it is mean to be breaking up.

    @sunflour - chickens do not associate it with their whole eggs. You change the "form" of the shell by crushing it and it is, to them, no different than any other feed item they would pick up out of the dish or off the ground. This is the same as changing the form of eggs that you feed them by offering scrambled, boiled, etc eggs - which also does not lead to egg eating as there is no association between the food being presented and the whole, freshly laid eggs in the nesting boxes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  6. Aronia

    Aronia Chillin' With My Peeps

    651
    14
    108
    Apr 8, 2014
    St. Catharines, ON
    Thanks!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,627
    4,130
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    That quote is not correct. They are talking about two different things.

    Grit is small rocks or large pieces of sand they eat to crush their food in their gizzard. They don’t have teeth to grind up their food like we do so they use rocks in their gizzard as teeth. They can use whatever rocks they can find as grit. The harder rocks last longer, maybe as long as a month if they start out larger sized, but they all eventually get ground down and pass on through their digestive system.

    Oyster shell and egg shell are not suitable for grit. Egg shell is too soft, it just goes on through the gizzard after being crushed. Oyster shell is practically all calcium. The chicken’s digestive juices are acidic and will dissolve the oyster shell, so it doesn’t work either for very long. Oyster shell or egg shells are meant to give laying hens extra calcium they need for their egg shells. Unless they are laying eggs chickens don’t need a lot of extra calcium. Too much calcium could be bad for them, but all chickens that eat anything other than the prepared commercial chicken feed need grit to grind up anything hard they eat.

    If you are feeding Layer, which should have about 4% calcium, they probably don’t need extra calcium to start with. They can also get a lot of calcium when foraging if you have limestone rocks they will use as grit, but also form some plants and creepy crawlies. You can let your egg shells tell you if you need extra calcium. If the egg shells are soft or thin, you should offer extra calcium on the side. That can be oyster shells or egg shells. Hens that need it generally know to eat it and those that don’t need it know not to eat a lot of it. If they are getting enough calcium from other sources, they may not eat the oyster shell or egg shells because they don’t need it. It does not hurt anything to offer extra calcium on the side. If they don’t need it, it may last a real long time.

    You will get a lot of different opinions on how to treat egg shells if you feed them to the chickens. Some people do all sorts of things dry them, clean them, cook them, and crush them, worrying about the chickens becoming egg eaters. Some of us just toss the opened egg shells where they can get to them without cleaning, drying, or crushing. If you are more comfortable crushing, cleaning, cooking, and drying the shells, by all means do that. It won’t hurt a thing.
     
  8. Aronia

    Aronia Chillin' With My Peeps

    651
    14
    108
    Apr 8, 2014
    St. Catharines, ON
    Ok
     
  9. Wol1

    Wol1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    269
    40
    106
    Feb 28, 2014
    SW Ohio
    Our girls go outside where there are a lot of small stones. I bought a big bag of grit for $10 at the feed store and put that out during winter when they don't go out often, or if there is snow on the ground for a long time. Sometimes we let them out of the run to roam in the evenings and one or two always head to the gravel pile near the driveway and pick through and find just the right stone. Not too big, not too small, juuuust right. It's fun to watch the connoisseurs "taste test".
     
  10. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    11,005
    445
    328
    Jun 1, 2009
    Ohio
    Hard Grit (Grit) --
    Hard grit is a insoluble grit and consists of stones, most commonly pieces of granite or flint is used. Hard Grits are used to grind there food and doesn't dissolve within the gizzard and when to small to use it is passed.

    Soft Grit/ Oyster Grit (Oyster Shells) --
    Soft grit is a soluble grit and consists of mostly oyster shells. Soft Grits is mostly used as a calcium souse but is used as a soluble grit that helps grind food and dissolves within the gizzard.

    Red Grit (Oyster Shell Blend) --
    Red Grit is basically the same as a soft grit but with added ingredients. Red Grits contains mostly minerals but can contain Hard Grits like granite and flint.

    Red Stone/ Red Stone Grit --
    Red Stone is a red clay grit that is has minerals and trace elements in it and is heated to 1000 degrees Celsius/ 1842 degrees Fahrenheit before crushing into a grit.

    A lot depends on the location and what that person raises.
    People outside the U.S. tend to use the term Soft Grit or Oyster Grit when referring to Oyster Shells BUT in the U.S. these terms are mostly used but pigeon raisers/ breeders and some gamefowl raisers/breeders.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by