Parakeet Grit OK?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jessicaroo, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. jessicaroo

    jessicaroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I purchased grit at the store today, but all they had was parakeet grit.... I figured grit was grit, but then I read a post on an old thread NOT to give parakeet grit b/c it has too much calcium. Is this true? What would the extra calcium do to the chickens? Thanks for any feedback!!
     
  2. thebanthams

    thebanthams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    dont see why not? it wont hurt chickens.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Here are a couple of studies that show what excess calcium, like the amount in Layer, does to growing chicks. It damages their internal organs. I don’t know how much calcium is actually in that parakeet grit, if much at all, and I certainly don’t know if it is enough to hurt growing chicks.

    Avian Gout
    http://en.engormix.com/MA-poultry-i.../avian-gout-causes-treatment-t1246/165-p0.htm

    British Study – Calcium and Protein
    http://www.2ndchance.info/goutGuoHighProtein+Ca.pdf

    You said chickens, not chicks, so I expect you are talking about mature chickens no longer growing. It’s pretty unlikely there will be enough calcium in that grit to harm grown chickens.
     
  4. jessicaroo

    jessicaroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry, I have chicks, just a few weeks old. I did give them some of this grit... So I should probably stop and wait till they are older/fully grown? Would just gravel/sand work ok instead? Should it be washed before giving it to them? Thank you for helping!
     
  5. sand will work fine, but rinse it first.
     
  6. jessicaroo

    jessicaroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Grit is just bits of rock they use to grind up their food in the gizzard. The stuff you buy is granite which works really well because it is so hard and it is cheap. They just screen the waste from a granite quarry to get the right size, package that, and sell it. But chickens can use any rock as grit. Softer rock just doesn’t last as long. Grit eventually gets ground up in their gizzard and eventually passes on through their system as fine sand. Decent sized chunks of granite might last a month but softer rock will not last as long.

    Chickens will get grit from the soil if they have access to the ground. If your flock forages much on the ground they will find their own. Probably doesn’t help you much with small chicks.

    There are a lot of ways you can get grit for young chicks besides buying something labeled as grit.

    You can buy a coarse sand like construction sand. Don’t use the real fine sugar sand like play sand. That stuff is so fine it will go right through their system.

    You can go to a gravel driveway or gravel road and get some of the smaller stuff. For young chicks, use pretty small pieces. For adults, they can use anything the size of a pea or smaller. If your roads are salted, you might want to rinse this first. Too much salt is bad for them too.

    You can just use sand, maybe from a sand bar in a river or stream or a beach. If it is a salt-water beach you might want to rinse it, again to get rid of the salt.

    Take some dirt from your property and give them some. I purposely take dirt from my run where the older flock has pooped. This will introduce anything that lives in the ground or that the older flock has to them while they are young and in the brooder. They’ll be exposed to this later anyway. I’d prefer that exposure come while they are in the brooder and I can better observe them and better control their environment.

    To me, this does three things. It gets grit in their system. It gets any probiotics the older flock has into their system. And it exposes them to any bad things, like Coccidiosis, the older birds have. For some things like Coccidiosis they can develop immunities better when they are very young and, as I said, they are eventually going to be exposed anyway. Coccidiosis can usually be controlled by keeping the brooder pretty dry. I think they will be healthier if they are not raised in a sterile environment and are later dumped into a non-sterile environment.

    People do all sorts of things concerning grit. If all they eat is commercial chick or chicken feed, they don’t even need grit. Commercial feed has already been ground up, even crumbles and pellets. I personally like to get their system set up for it, but a lot of people never give them grit in the brooder and do fine as long as they don’t feed them treats like green stuff or grains, just the commercial chick feed.
     
  8. jessicaroo

    jessicaroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, that was very helpful! I give my chicks alfalfa hay - do they need grit for that? I just wanted to make sure they have it if they need it. I have also chopped up a couple grapes and they've gone nuts over them, I've only don't that a few times. I'm sure they need grit for the grapes, they love them.,.. I'm trying hard not to spoil them lol
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, they need grit to grind up the alfalfa.
     

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