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Ok, call me stupid but I'm learning.......... What is grit?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sjarvis00, May 6, 2009.

  1. sjarvis00

    sjarvis00 Songster

    May 4, 2009
    Shawnee, OKlahoma
    I have 9 babies, 15 older babies, and a few hens. Just started raising chickens and I keep reading about feeding them grit. What is grit? And what ages need it?

  2. willowcol

    willowcol Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Macclesfield NC
    Grit is to help with digestion, it is like sand that helps the chicken brake up the food. I don't give my chicks grit until I start feeding treats, as long as they are on starter food they don't really need it. I don't give it to my hens since we have alot of sand in our yard and they get the grit they need from there.
  3. chilling in muscadine

    chilling in muscadine { I love being disfunctual }

    Jun 8, 2008
    muscadine, al.
    Grit is tiny rocks your can get at the feed store. They need it to digest there food. It grinds there food up for them. You can get the baby grit. Can't remember what its called. I feed my babies medicated starter so they don't need it as much as your hens. Get some for your hens TODAY. A 50lb bag isn't expensive but they have to have it. Hope this helps.


    No questions is stupid, we have all been where you are so ask away.
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  4. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Songster

    Nov 14, 2008
    Lynn Haven, FL
    Since chickens don't have teeth, they need grit to grind their food in their gizzard. It can be sand, small stones, or other such material. Chickens that free range or have access to the ground, normally don't need supplemental grit but caged birds and those kept off the ground need some to properly digest their food.
    Baby chicks normally don't need grit as their starter food is sufficiently small sized to be able to be processed without having to be ground up. If you start feeding adult sized food, i.e. pellets, to the pullets and they don't have access to the ground, I would introduce grit at that time.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    The only stupid question is the one not asked.

    Chickens rely on their gizzard to grind up certain foods so they can digest it. If all they eat is chick starter, they don't need grit, but for almost everything else, they do.

    Grit is sand or small rocks that the chicken eats that goes to the gizzard to help grind up the food. The gizzard cannot gring food without it. Most of the grit sold is made from granite since it is very hard and lasts longer. If they eat sand or small rocks made of another substance, like silica or limestone, the grit will be ground up sooner and sooner passed on through their digestive system. They will then need to eat more grit. If they have access to the natural ground they are probably getting sufficient grit.

    Some people get oyster shell confused with grit. They are not the same thing. Actually, chickens need grit to use oyster shell. Oyster shell supplies extra calcium, needed by the hens for their egg shells. If your natural stone is limestone, they are probably getting plenty of calcium from that. They also get calcium naturally from other things they eat, such as hard shelled bugs. Extra calcium should not be given to chickens before they start to lay or are of an age to lay, say around 20 weeks.

    When a chicken needs grit is not an age thing. It depends on what they are eating. Many people successfully do not offer their chicks grit as long as they are eating starter and are not giving them any treats. I personally like to offer grit on day 3, just because I don't know when they will ingest something they need grit to help pass through their system, like when a hard-shelled bug wanders into their territory.

    Hope this helps.
  6. sjarvis00

    sjarvis00 Songster

    May 4, 2009
    Shawnee, OKlahoma
    Thank you. All my chickens are outside and have access to the ground except for my little babies and all they eat is medicated chick starter for now. I will pick up some grit.
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  7. bigdogmom130

    bigdogmom130 Songster

    Apr 23, 2009
    Glen Burnie
    I just bought my 1st bag of grit yesterday. The first place I wet to sold me oyster shells, so I went and bought the chick grit from the feed store that I bought my chicks from. I'so glad I found this site because I would have never realized the difference between the grit and the oyster shells. You'd think the feed store around my way would know the difference! My chicks are 2 weeks old today,, so I'm gonna sprinkle some in their brooder this evening nd se how they do with it. opefully they'll do well.

  8. chilling in muscadine

    chilling in muscadine { I love being disfunctual }

    Jun 8, 2008
    muscadine, al.
    Quote:Oyster shell is good for adult hens. It makes there egg shells stronger. Also good to have on hand.

    You would think a business would know the difference. [​IMG]

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