Is there such thing as too much dirt??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Kawkawkaye, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. Kawkawkaye

    Kawkawkaye In the Brooder

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    Obviously chickens eat dirt deliberately for grit, but can too much dirt be an issue? I’m raising a blind chick (she’s six weeks old now) and she can’t tell the difference between her chick starter and dirt. She seriously will just chow down on dirt quite happily. She knows how to eat her chick starter– she’s memorised where the bowl is and knows that when she’s standing on the rim she can peck. But nonetheless she’s convinced that dirt holds nutritional value as well.
     
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  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    It could be a problem if she's packing her crop with dirt instead of feed, since the dirt (with no nutritional value) is taking up space that should have feed. Possibly there could be some sort of impaction issue as well if she's eating very large amounts.
     
  3. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    Normally I recommend that you give chick grit (crushed granite) free choice, but in this particular situation, it may be a good idea to sprinkle just a little on top of her feed.
    Yes, chickens do eat dirt, but she may not be finding suitable grit since she's blind.
     
  4. Kawkawkaye

    Kawkawkaye In the Brooder

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    Good point, I hadn’t considered that she might not be getting enough grit, of all things. When she’s big enough, we’ll be moving her onto the mixed feed, with wheat, seeds, pellets, and shell grit. Do you think the grit in there will be enough, or do you reckon we’ll still have to supplement her?
     
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  5. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    Depends on what "shell grit" is... I assume oyster shell? That'd be for calcium but doesn't work for digestion purposes. Standard non soluble grit would be granite, something sharp and hard that wears down slowly over time, to help grind down food.
     
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  6. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    With you calling it "shell grit" I going to "assume" you are in Europe? I think that is what we call oyster shell which is a soluble form of calcium, so it's not hard enough to act a grit for the gizzard.
    I would always make grit (crushed granite) available for her - you may be able to teach her that it is in it's own container and let her pick what she wants.
     

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