Parakeet grit OK for grown chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Brienna, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Brienna

    Brienna Chirping

    Apr 26, 2014
    Quebec, Canada
    We are having a really hard time finding grit for our chickens. The people at the store where we buy our feed have no clue what we are talking about and insist that oyster shells do the trick but I've read that it isn't the same thing. We found one place who knows exactly what we're talking about (finally!) but they only have some during spring/summer.
    I have seen bags of parakeet grit in pet stores, is this okay to give to our 11 month old chickens as grit? It looks like it's pretty much the same thing?
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
    1 person likes this.

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I would feed it if it were me, if that is all you can find. It can have added calcium, which shouldn't be a problem if you are feeding it to layers.

    I would not give it to baby chicks, however, unless you can verify it has no added calcium.

    If your chickens free range they may be able to find sharp gravel in the soil. If you aren't sure they can find grit, or feed LOTS of whole grains (like me) then you may wish to offer some grit to them.

    Grit can stay in the gizzard for a year I have read, so they don't need a lot. I toss it on the ground near the coop periodically or mix it in the feed once in awhile. With oyster shells, however, I keep a constant supply for them. They really do chew those down as my feed mix doesn't have added calcium.
  3. Brienna

    Brienna Chirping

    Apr 26, 2014
    Quebec, Canada
    Thanks for your advice.

    It is winter here so the chickens are confined in the run and coop with sand as bedding. I won't be feeding it to chicks, they are all layers so I'm guessing the extra calcium can't hurt. I think I will give the parakeet grit a try as it is really all I can get for the moment..
  4. DDRanch

    DDRanch Songster

    Feb 15, 2008
    Well, there is always something to learn here on this wonderful site. ok.....can someone please tell me the difference between grit and oyster shell? Do chickens need both?

    I have always had oyster shell available to my hens but never "grit". What are my hens missing?
  5. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Songster

    Feb 7, 2014
    Jones County, Georgia
    Grit is sand/gravel that allows them to grind up grains and grass and other tough foods that a mammal would "chew". Their gizzard retains grit for that purpose. Chickens that are outdoors may be able to get enough gravel when the eat grass/bugs but many folks also like to supply a dish just in case. Chicks in brooders or caged birds must have grit supplied if they are not on soft foods (chick feed is a soft food).

    Oyster shells are strictly for calcium as a supplement for laying hens.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  6. DDRanch

    DDRanch Songster

    Feb 15, 2008
    Thank you. Now I know. My girls free range for 3-6 hours a day when I am home so they probably have picked up grit in the pasture, eating bugs, and from the gardens and fields. To be on the safe side, I could always add a dish.

    Always learning.....thanks again.
  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Buying grit is a luxury. Dump a wheelbarrow of dirt in the run for them to scratch and play in. They will get rocks and pebbles that will act as grit. The other option is to go to HD and for $5 pick up a bag of pea gravel or X coarse sand. Dump that in the run.

  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Good resources Percheron. Normally, chickens can find grit in their environment, but my gals have not seen bare ground since December, and at the rate things are going, they may not yet see bare ground until sometime in April.
  9. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Crowing

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Grit used as an aid to digestion is made of ground granite - very hard and angular, and very effective in grinding seeds and roughage in the gizzard. Sand does not work as well, due to the small particle size. Some birds will not have access to adequate grit, and some natural stone - such as limestone - is soft and not as effective at grinding. And in the winter birds may not have access to the ground due to snow cover. I would not call grit a luxury, whether you need to offer it or not depends on your housing. It certainly does not hurt to supply it.
  10. ShockValue

    ShockValue Songster

    Jan 10, 2010
    West Sound, Washington

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