Is grit and oyster shell the same thing?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Attila the Hen, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I discovered on BYC that I need to get oyster shell for calcium. I went to the feed store and was told that grit is the same thing--I already have a huge bag. I am giving the girls their egg shells and they love them. I don't rinse them I just put them in the microwave for a couple of minutes and then crush them.
    The question is--do I need to find oyster shell or do I already have it?
     
  2. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    No, they aren't the same thing! Grit is tiny pieces of stone or gravel that is used in the gizzard of the chicken to grind their food. Oyster shell is a source of calcium for strong egg shells.

    If it's large enough pieces oyster shell might grind food like grit, but grit will never supply calcium.

    Crushed egg shells will provide calcium, we don't rinse ours. In the winter we keep an old tin pie plate on the woodstove and just drop the shells into it as eggs are used in cooking. Every few days I dump the shells from the pie pan into a stoneware bowl and crush it and then put it (Bowl and all) in the hen house.
     
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Oyster shell will not hold up in the gizzard the way granite grit will. I provide oyster shell in both coops. I've never offered grit, except when the chickens were itty bitty, because my birds free range and find their own grit.
     
  4. Gallusfarm

    Gallusfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    grit is typically crushed rock of some sort - granite usually- used for grinding food. Oyster shell just that - ground oyster shell - has lots of calcium, so yes there is a difference. I have been slack about giving my girls oyster shell and they still have nice egg shells. The key is they should be on layer feed - it has the calcium they need. Supplementation w/ oyster shell or their dried shells (like you are doing) helps.
     
  5. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Blue Ridge GA
    Thanks. That's what I thought--shells are different from grit. I put out grit but no one seems interested. My birds free range when I am home, so at least an hour a day.
    Again, thank you.
     
  6. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    If they free range they are probably getting all the grit they need naturally. [​IMG]
    We give ours both grit & oyster shell, but they almost never eat any of the grit, but I figure it's there if they need it. Our's free range too, or have large pens.
     
  7. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    Grit is ANYTHING small enough for the bird to swallow and that is harder than the food they eat. Oyster shell is considerably harder than water soaked corn so it can serve as grit if the birds don't find anything better.

    I don't feed grit to any of my birds that are on the ground. But I have no naturally occurring gravel here on the sand ridge so the birds make do with either oyster shell or just plain sand. I feed around six to seven thousand pounds of whole corn per year.
     
  8. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    Quote:Get a couple of silkiebators
     
  9. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    Quote:They probably get all the grit they need free rangeing. But it is cheap and it sure wont hurt to have some available if you have it. If your oyster shell is like mine it is the size of small pebbels so I figure it should work as grit if they want to eat it. It is definatally harder than anything they eat.
     

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