Shell Grit - how much is too much?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TheWolfRaven, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. TheWolfRaven

    TheWolfRaven Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 11, 2015
    I have three lovely 16-18 week old Australorp girls who I've just started on shell grit.

    I'll put a scoop (probably 3/4 a cup) of grit in a seperate hanging container I have for them, and usually by the end of the day it's all gone. I've been filling it up daily and I'm concerned that im overdoing it...

    Should I be limited the grit offered? They have access to a run which they are able to find their own grit.
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Affix your shell grit can where it can't be moved or knocked around by your birds. If 3 pullets are going through 3/4 of a cup of what is likely oyster shell, and they go through this amount every day then they are either playing in their limestone supplement or knocking it out of their can in some other way.
  3. TheWolfRaven

    TheWolfRaven Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 11, 2015
    It is fixed up so they can't knock it- I know one hen in particular seems to enjoy 'digging' through it with her beak but they all seem to pick it up off the ground- I can't find any trace of it in the morning.

    It's beach-shell grit, it's supposed to be a mix of soluble and insoluble grit
  4. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    I'm not familiar with beach shell grit. Perhaps it's lower in soluble calcium content than oyster shell and that's why they're eating so much. Or they've clean their run of insoluble grit (not likely though) and they need more grit.
  5. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    It is not unusual for pullets to clean out a container of oyster shell the first time they see it. Novelty of something new I guess. Since they don't need that much grit or oyster shell a day I would cut way down on the amount put out.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  6. CuriousChicken

    CuriousChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    My new hen went through about a handful of oyster shell the first day and for the last 3 days she has eaten about a half a tablespoons worth a day. Since she was feral previously I'm guessing she wasn't getting enough calcium, I dropped a fistful (roughly 5 tablespoons) in the shell bowl on day two and there's still plenty left. So yeah I'm guessing your babies are playing in it.
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I'm a little confused so forgive me if I'm barking up the wrong tree here. Grit and shell grit are two totally different things. They need grit to grind their food in their gizzards. Oyster shell, or shell grit as I've heard it called, is a calcium supplement. Laying hens need both - pullets that are not yet laying, roos, and chicks just need grit. It could be that because they are using shell grit as both, they are taking in more to do both jobs. I was told that shell is okay as a grit, but that it dissolves much faster so doesn't do them much good as in the gizzard. I give my chickens both grit and oyster shell in separate containers. The grit disappears faster than the oyster shell, but even at that they don't go through it as fast as yours seem to. Mine are also out in the yard everyday, where they also pick up small rocks and such for food grinding.

    As I said, if I'm off base here I apologize, but your post reads as if they are getting just shells for grit.

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