Oyster Shell vs. Grit

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Val3rie, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. Val3rie

    Val3rie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2009
    Long Island NY
    I think I am getting conflicting stories... The guys at the feed store said that if I'm feeding the layer pellets I don't need to feed them anything else. Then they said that if I feed oyster shell that oyster shell *IS* grit for them so I don't need grit. And I read somewhere that oyster shell is not grit at all. I'm sure the guys at the feed store just consider me the silly american woman that likes to spend too much money on her chickens, as in their country, chickens are chickens and they aren't coddled like pets, but anyway... can anyone clear up the dilema for me? THANKS !
  2. scbatz33

    scbatz33 No Vacancy, Belfry Full

    Jan 23, 2009
    South GA
    Oyster shell is not grit. Oyster shell is for calcium for egg shells.

    I feed layer pellets. I also add grit. My girls don't like oyster shells. If your birds have "free range" you may not need the grit. Birds will eat rocks and such to help grind their food.

    My girls go out in the yard but I have the grit anyway. It's not super expensive and it's better safe than sorry.

    Since chickens have no teeth, they need something to help grind up the food they eat.
  3. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    The guy at the feed store has barely a clue. I would say no clue, but he is right that if all you feed is Layer pellets then you can get away with nothing else, but if you are giving treats, and letting them out of the coop they should have grit, it is the grinding agent in a chickens gizzard, so if giving anything else it is like trying to feed steak to a toothless person. The Oyster shell is a Calcium that hens will process to make the eggshells hard. Often you will hear of those that never give grit, but the chickens are picking up stones(grit) from the ground/run etc. It is best to just give them free choice to both, if they need it they will use it if not, you are not out that much, so just to be safe I would offer it to them.
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    The layer pellets I feed have calcium in it. I offer them a little extra as insurance, but I know lots of folks around here that only give the layer feed.
  5. sandypaws

    sandypaws Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2008
    desert of calif
    yup.. the guy at the feed store is an idiot.. you should print this out and go ED-JUMA-CATE him.... hahahahahah:gig

    oyster shells,, is Xtra calcium for the egg production..
    GRIT,, is for digestion,,it stays in the crop to help grind up food..

    my chickens freerange over the desert (lots of sand) so i dont have to offer grit..
  6. Val3rie

    Val3rie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2009
    Long Island NY
    OK I get it. That's what I figured, more safe than sorry, and I'll put it out there and if they want it, it's there. Next question.... put it in bowls? or on the ground? (I'm new at this) They have layer pellets in a feeder and I sprinkle a bit of scratch on the ground just cuz they love it so much, not the corn but the other bits in it. I have been giving them oyster shell and they eat that off the ground, but I was thinking about putting in two dishes, one with grit and one with oyster shell. **OR** just mix it in their feed??
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  7. RooptyDoo

    RooptyDoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    I feed my bunch layer in their feeder, scratch on the ground and floor of the coop, and they always have grit and oyster shell available that they feed on as they need it. They don't seem to eat much of it at a time so it lasts quite a while. I see someone visiting the grit/oyster feeder every few days. If you put it out they will find it and nature will take care of the rest.
  8. scbatz33

    scbatz33 No Vacancy, Belfry Full

    Jan 23, 2009
    South GA
    I mix the gri in with the feed per the instructions on the bag of grit. Thatall goes in the feeder. They get scratch on the ground cause it gives them something to "do" even when they are out in the yard. This time of year there isn't much out there to begin with!!
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You do not need to feed oyster shell until they are ready to lay. I would not give it to young chicks. The special feed for young chicks has what they need. And they can get calcium from their foraging. Any bug with a hard shell has some calcium.

    As far as grit, my philosophy is that all chickens at any age need access grit as long as they are over 2 days old. There are plenty of people who do not give access to grit as the feed they use does not need it. However, what if they catch a bug with a hard shell and need to grind it up in their gizzard?

    Many chickens will get calcium and grit from their foraging so they don't use much. The way I look at it, you can't go wrong offering them shell and grit. You might go wrong not offering it. It is cheap.
  10. Lobzi

    Lobzi Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Having knowledge regarding ones chosen work has gone the way of common sense and common courtesy (see discussion on another thread), so say "Goodbye" to them. Say "Hello" to ignorance.

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