is grit needed forever?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rhaj, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. rhaj

    rhaj Chillin' With My Peeps

    304
    0
    109
    May 30, 2010
    NE'ern Connecticut
    I have six 5 week old chicks. When I give them mealworms, I put some parakeet gravel in with their food. Not really sure how much or anything but I throw some in.

    Is that just for chicks? or will they always need grit when they eat worms, even when fully grown???
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,265
    3,552
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Chickens do not have teeth. They grind their food in their gizzard. Since the gizzard is not hard enough to grind up the harder or tougher food, they swallow dirt, sand, and small bits of gravel and use that in their gizzard as substitute teeth. They do not grow teeth as they get older, so yes they will always need grit.

    Baby chicks need grit the size of sand. Adult chickens use anything from a fine sand to gravel about the size of a pea. Your 5 week old chicks can use sand and small gravel, the pieces they can use getting bigger as they get bigger. The grit gets ground down in the gizzard and eventually gets passed on through their system when it gets ground down pretty fine. So yes, it gets used up and they need a new supply.

    If chickens have access to the ground they will find their own grit, even eating dirt if there is not sand or small gravel available. The dirt just passed straight through though so they have to eat a lot of it. They really do need sand and small gravel. You can buy chicken grit for the larger chickens at the feed store. They might even have chick grit, but that is less likely. Coarse sand, like construction sand, works well for young chicks. You can use parakeet grit of parakeet gravel but be a bit careful. Some parakeet grit contains extra calcium which is not good for growing chicks. Too much calcium at a young age can cause liver problems. I have been known to go to a gravel road or driveway and collect small pebbles and sand to use as grit. If your road or driveway is salted for ice, that is not a good idea since their systems cannot handle the extra salt.

    I do not mix the grit with their food for the exact same reason you gave. I don't know how much they need. I offer it on the side in a separate container. They can eat as much or as little as they want. Once they are out of the brooder and on the ground, they have to find their own.

    Good luck!
     
  3. rhaj

    rhaj Chillin' With My Peeps

    304
    0
    109
    May 30, 2010
    NE'ern Connecticut
    Thank you! That was very helpful!! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by