Please don't eyeroll...a question about GRIT.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by KSCluckah, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. KSCluckah

    KSCluckah In the Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011
    I have a mixed flock of 32, Black Australorps, Welsummers, Wyandottes, Turkens, Dominiques, Buff Orps, Americanas, and Marans...10 cockerels who are getting along quite well and the rest pullets. 11 weeks old now, outside, super healthy and active. They eat mesclun mix lettuce from the garden, along with june bugs and crickets and various treats including scratch and some table scraps.

    My question is, is it ok now to feed them grit that has calcium carbonate in with it? I have read that you don't want to feed oyster shell to young chicks as the calcium affects them adversely. But they are "teenagers" at this point, eating a variety of food, and I want to be sure they're able to digest everything they're taking in properly.

    My chicken guy at the feed and seed says they don't need
    grit yet, but the majority of natural chicken raisin' books say, let perch and scratch as early as they want.

    Help! I've had birds all my life, and my instinct says they need grit and can handle it, but I would love some confirmation!


  2. mljohnson05

    mljohnson05 Songster

    May 16, 2011
    I always have grit out...They will only eat it if they need it....I also have sand in my coop and run...that acts a grit too...and they also eat that on occasion.

    Best Wishes,
  3. bburn

    bburn Songster

    Jul 9, 2010
    Delaware, Arkansas
    I have extremely sandy soil and do not put grit out for my main flock. Before they left the brooder I started putting out oyster shell and actually kept it up until I ran out. Now a year later I have really good layers and nice hard shells on the eggs. If there were not so much sand in the soil that they live on I would add to it. I do give them egg shells for calcium and treats with calcium in them. The little guys in the brooder use their sand to take dust baths in and also consume the sand. All are healthy and well. No problem with crops in the older chickens.
  4. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Quote:Grit and calcium supplements are two different things. If they have access to the ground and are picking and scratching, they are getting what they need for grit to grind their food; sand and small pebbles.

    You can give them oyster shell free-choice, they may or may not touch it. It's generally not advised to give them calcium fortified layer feed until they start laying.
  5. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida
    If they are eating food other than chicken feed, they need grit. Your instincts are dead on. [​IMG] I just sprinkle granite grit in their favorite scratching areas. If your birds are freeranging then they may be getting enough on their own.
  6. classicsredone

    classicsredone Songster

    Jan 6, 2011
    Crunchy California
    Did you get mineral fortified grit? I got some on accident when I went to a different feed store and just asked for chicken grit. It is regular granite grit (chick sized, though) with oyster shell mixed in. I'd so go ahead and set it out for them if that's the case. They'll take what they need.
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Quote:That sounds like pigeon grit which is normally mixed with calcium. The chicken grits that I've seen are usually just granite or flint, in two different sizes.

  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    If you have a Tractor Supply in your area they usually carry Chick Grit (granite). That is what I use. I have smashed up some regular grit into smaller pieces when they were out of it. Also if you have some regular grit you can try to sift it to get some smaller pieces.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  9. CarolynF

    CarolynF Songster

    May 11, 2011
    Puget Sound
    My Coop
    Quote:They need grit because they're eating veggies, bugs, etc. If they free range or peck sandy/rocky dirt all day they're probably getting enough grit on their own. If not, give them store bought grit.

    They don't need calcium in the grit, or oyster shell, or any other shells until they start to lay, of very shortly before. So there's no need to pay extra for grit that has calcium added. As you said, it's not healthy at this age.
  10. torrelee

    torrelee Songster

    Apr 6, 2011
    long beach, wa
    Not trying to steal the thread here.... I bought canary grit at the pet store because I couldnt find chick grit. It has a small amount of oyster shell and charcoal in it. Can I use it?? I figured that they would only use what they needed and leave the rest, and that it couldn't hurt, but I'm still a newbie!!
    ETA: 2 and a half week old silkie chicks, I want to start giving them treats is why I want to feed grit.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011

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