Substitutions for chick grit?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by JazzysChicks, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. JazzysChicks

    JazzysChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 25, 2015
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    My chicks will be here in just a few short days and I'm having a hard time finding chick grit. Our local farm/co-op has been sold out. Are there any substitutions I can use in the mean time until I can find some (we're talking worse case scenario)?
     
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

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    I have read that many people use sand for chicks as grit. I would make sure it is a good sand with no added crud in it that could hurt them. I would also give it a good rinse and dry before using it.
    I am thinking I will use sand for mine this time as well.

    However I have always only fed chick starter no treats and never used grit while they were in the brooder. I never lost one in the brooder stage either.
     
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  3. JazzysChicks

    JazzysChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    How long do you usually feed them the starter without any chick grit?
     
  4. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

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    Right up until I put them in the large coop. For me that is about 3 months. I do not give treats during this time just the starter then the grower at 3 months to laying stage.

    edited to add:

    I am sure that when I take them outside and put them in the tractor they find bits of rock or sand in the dirt when they are about 2 months.
    I take them out when they are well feathered for a couple hours each evening if the weather is good. But not until they are about 2 months old.

    I know a mother hen would have them out at a day old lol.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
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  5. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use corn ground at a finer level. I buy it at my local feed store at .35 a pound and usually buy a gallon size bag of it, it last for ever as I just sprinkle a bit every day... I also don't feed my chicks on chick starter but an all purpose or All flock feed. It has a slightly higher protein level than the chick starter. If I forget to buy it in crumble form when the chicks start hatching I just take pellets and run it through my grinder .. I have been feeding my entire flock this as I don't have to buy different feeds for different ages and also, because I have Turkeys that require a higher protein feed. In over a year I have yet to lose a chick or have a chick suffer with pasty butt or other issues. I put out oyster shells for the layers.
     
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  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    When a broody hen brings her chicks off the nest, one of the first things she does is take them to dirt and teach them how to peck. They are finding bits of sand or rock in there that is used as grit. There are other benefits too. By eating the dirt they will eventually be living in and that the older chickens have been pooping in, they get probiotics and start developing flock immunities they may need. To me grit, probiotics, and flock immunity are all good. So you can just give them some of your dirt to eat, especially if it has visible bits of sand or tiny gravel in it.

    You can get some sand for them. Coarse sand like construction sand is better than fine sand like play sand. The particles need to be big enough that they can use it to grind food in their gizzards. A good place to get some might be a sand bar in a creek or river. I’d rinse the salt out of beach sand before I used it. Chickens don’t handle high quantities of salt very well.

    As long as all they eat is the chicken feed you buy, they don’t need grit. It’s already been ground up. Even if it is in crumble or pellet form, the moisture in the chick’s digestive system will soften it so they can digest it. But I like to feed them something for grit just in case they eat something they need to grind up. For me, that is just dirt from my run.

    The grit you buy is granite, collected by straining the debris from a granite quarry so they get the right sizes. Granite is really hard and the larger chunks might last a month or so before it is ground down to a sand in the gizzard and passes on through their system and out the back end. Other rock can be used but since they are probably softer than granite they will wear out faster. There is no set amount of grit they need or how often you need to offer it. That will depend on how hard the rock or sand is and how big the chunks are. So give them some but make sure most of what they at is their feed, not grit.

    Good luck!
     
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