SAnd? Grit? Both? NOne HUh?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kera!, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. kera!

    kera! Chillin' With My Peeps

    436
    1
    111
    Jan 1, 2011
    Navajo County
    If the floor of the run is nice small sand do I need grit? I know it helps them because they dont have teeth. can someone help me from start to finish with the food thing....Chicks get gro gel and then grower or chick feed? when do they need scratch? what is scratch? what is grower? what combinations at what age? I would appreciate all the help and opinions on how everyone does it...Thanks to allof you I really apreciate it....[​IMG]
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Chickens pick up plenty of grit, most times of year, naturally by roaming about. If you keep yours penned tightly, offering a little grit is a good thing. What can it hurt?

    Our barn floor is gravel and our land pretty sandy and our drive is gravel. They pick up what they need.
    I also believe there is some grit in the commercial pellets/crumbles as well.
     
  3. NoseyChickens

    NoseyChickens Feathers On The Ground

    2,405
    16
    193
    Aug 3, 2009
    Southern California
    Mine are on sandy dirt as we live in the desert. I do not offer them grit. I did when I first got chickens and DH laughed at me. The type of ground they are on I don't need to supplement.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Lots of opinions on the food. This is just what I do. I have had perfectly healthy chickens, great layers, and zero mortality, FWIW.

    They get the chick starter for 2 months or 9 weeks approximately. I begin to transition them over to a grower type, nice high protein, from 9 to 16 weeks. I don't start the layer pellets until they are approaching POL, ie, point of lay. It's rich in calcium and I don't wish to over do it too early. Option 2 is to simply leave them chick starter straight through until 18 weeks.

    That's it. That's the program for hens. Meat birds never need the layer formula.

    Scratch is french fries and McDonalds for chickens. Yup. It's "junk food", (as I duck for incoming flaming). But seriously, it is nutritionally inadequate and if your young birds fill up on it, they eat too much, they poop too much, and they potentially can pick on each other too much due to protein deficiency.

    Scratch has it's place, in very amounts, as a behavior modifier, but NOT as food, if you want egg production, it simply is inadequate to make up more than 5-10% of the hens diet. You'd be far better off with green grass, bugs and other natural foods that birds find in their browsing about. Of course, these are tough in the winter months, sadly. Best regards.
     
  5. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    If they have access to hard stones and rocks that are about 1/4" in size, they don't need additional grit. (btw, that's the size for adult chickens; babies need access to a slightly smaller size stone for grit) Hard rock grit, for example, is something similar to granite - in other words, it's undissolvable.

    They only need to eat grit, if they eat foods like scratch, weeds, other treats, or whole grain feeds. Don't feed too much scratch or other treats. I toss out a little scratch occasionally, mostly as a way to get them inside their coop when I need to lock them up earlier than usual. My chickens free-range most of the daylight hours, so they already get their choice of whatever bugs and weeds are out there -- though, I always make sure their feeder is full of layer feed, so they always have plenty to eat.

    Hope that helps.

    ETA: baby chicks need chick crumbles until they get closer to laying age, then layer feed. I've never used grower feed, but I believe people use it mostly to grow out meat chickens to slaughter age.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by