The Science Of Feeding Grit To Poultry

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 3riverschick, May 27, 2014.

  1. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Out of all the kinds of rock available to my free range flocks down through the 40 yrs I've kept and butchered chickens, there is consistently one kind of stone I find in gizzards across the board...white quartz. That seems to be the preferred stone of all kinds available, even when actual commercial grit is supplied. That is also what we find in wild turkey gizzards.

    Not sure if any studies done on that but that's the one stone that I always find more prevalent than other kinds of rock. Second to that are wild cherry pits. [​IMG] Long, long after cherries have been eaten and are no longer to be found, I'll butcher and find cherry pits. Not because they cannot be digested and passed along...if that was the case the birds would all die from impacted gizzards.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    I disagree, for the small flock owner it should be offered as a side dish free choice not mixed with food... The chickens will seek it out and eat what they need when they need it...

    It's not just stone as stones are not created equal... Commercial grit is generally crushed granite, it's the proper size, very hard, insoluble and maintains sharp edges all good traits for grit... Can you say the same for local stones they birds might pick up free ranging? One has to also consider their local region, in some areas limestone makes up a vast majority of stones in the area, it has little desirable grit traits...

    I'm not saying local stones picked up by birds won't work, they will, but honestly for what it cost (I spend about $15 a year for 100 birds) to provide a bowl of known good grit to your birds at all times, is a no brainer investment in their health for me...
     
    2 people like this.
  3. bcarver

    bcarver Out Of The Brooder

    18
    1
    24
    Apr 10, 2015
    ok ,,, My birds are now 8 weeks and have been grit free until now. Should I go straight to adult grit or bring them up in size?
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Quote: If I had penned birds I would provide grit, but I can't see the point of buying stone for chickens if they have plenty available in their environment. I've bought grit before and they consumed it...and I saw no conceivable change in health, egg production or size, etc. whether they had a bag of grit there or not. I'm not convinced that commercial grit has any advantage over stones they select for themselves out on range...I've seen no proof of it and that's where it all comes down. Where the rubber meets the road, I saw no changes when commercial grit was available than when it wasn't.

    If allowed, a chicken will find and consume the stones most likely to aid in digestion in their own environment....millions of chickens all over the world in places with myriad stone choices~not all of them granite~since time began and were able to remain healthy enough to reproduce the species...I'm just not convinced that modern day agricultural scientists know more than God on that subject.
     
    Betsy57, Wishapup, mechanic57 and 3 others like this.
  5. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    If they are being fed only a commercial feed (no ranging or fresh offerings) there is little to no need for grit, and grit has to be properly sized for the bird or it does no good...

    At 8 weeks you would probably want 'layer' sized grit aka size #3 or a mix of #2 (grower) and #3 (layer) if you have some smaller birds in the mix...
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. JetCat

    JetCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    806
    52
    106
    Oct 26, 2015
    Southeast Alabama
     
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I don't see the need to mix it with feed either....they could possibly consume more grit than they need at that point just to get enough feed. What would be filling their digestive tract the most at that point? Rock or feed? Grit should always be free choice and not offered as part of the feed...why should they have to eat their way around rocks? And, if they can't, why should they consume more grit than they need in order to eat the feed that is along with it?

    Not necessary and even detrimental.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. JetCat

    JetCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    806
    52
    106
    Oct 26, 2015
    Southeast Alabama
    I guess all those hypothetical's could happen if you mixed it 50/50 with the feed and that was their only source of food, but in that case they wouldn't need grit so there'd be no need to add it. on the other hand if yours eat things other then just commercial feed where they need it then 1lb mixed in 50lb of feed is far from detrimental, YMMV but i doubt it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    IMO that is A LOT of grit in 50lbs of feed, and thus would be excess and a waste over just offering it free choice on the side...
     
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    That's what I was thinking...there is very little grit needed in a gizzard for good grinding and, if it's worth anything at all, it should last a good bit. I can't imagine having a need to actually place it in the feed on a daily basis when they can fully choose what they need in a free choice situation....unless, of course, someone is keeping chickens in cages where they have to be fed this grit free choice individually so it's easier to just put it in the feed rations.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by