The Science Of Feeding Grit To Poultry

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

  1. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    This thought got me thinking about sources of quartz to use for grit. My flock have been crossing through the woods into a little holler to pick for grit and I'd prefer they not go that far out of the meadow, so I decided to find them some quartz for grit. Found some 4 lb bags of quartz at Lowe's in the garden center. They went through a 4 lb bag of quartz in under a week and repeated that not long after when I got them another one. That's a lot of rock for a flock of 14 birds and I'm not seeing any in the stool, so not sure what to think about that.

    I'm not seeing much difference in their intake or weight with the addition of more grit to their diet, so not sure I'll keep repeating that process too often, but have an extra bag of quartz on hand for the next time I see them using the holler a lot for picking up quartz.
  2. birds4kids

    birds4kids Songster

    May 15, 2015
    Honestly they will likely "recycle" the grit after they are done with it once as they scratch around their usual areas.

  3. Grit has to be the proper size to get 'stuck' in the gizzard, once it's ground down and too small it's passed, other smaller birds might recycle what is passed if it's the appropriate size for them but not birds of a similar size as the ground down grit that passed as it's now too small for them...
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Yep! [​IMG]
  5. mama4cpta

    mama4cpta In the Brooder

    Mar 26, 2016
    NoVa/Western Loudoun
    Help! I have 6 week old "chicks" I've only given builder grade sand to once. Have I messed them up?!?!
  6. Rockvillian

    Rockvillian In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2016
    Rockville, Virginia
    Can I give my birds "granite dust" from the local stone quarry?

  7. Dust will do no good, it has to be the proper size so it gets stuck in the gizzard and can be used to grind the food, too small and it passes right though...
  8. elaineinspain

    elaineinspain Songster

    hi! Sorry to re-awaken this subject if you've already put it to bed, but I got my first ever chickens 3 days ago. They are 7 weeks old and have only ever eaten commercial mash, so they never received grit.

    I live in Spain, and when I ask at the farmers supply store down the road for chicken grit, they laugh at me and tap the sides of their heads like to say I'm crazy!

    I would love to give my chicks treats, you know a couple of mealy worms, slice of tomato, cucumber, cabbage leaf, and I know they need grit before I can give them any.

    I have been told to dig some earth and grit from the area they will eventually be free ranging, and give them that while they are still in the brooder. (Hubby is putting the finishing touches on the coop) I did that yesterday. I have seen them peck at it a bit.
    Also a neighbour said I can hammer a house brick into grit sized pieces, as there isn't much natural grit in the clay earth here.
    I have done that and given it to them this morning. They seem more interested in it, maybe because of the red colour.
    But none of it is granite, like the commercially packed stuff, nor do I know how big is the correct size of grit to give them. It's all different sizes! some rounded, some sharp.

    I'd love to hear your opinion on this, (or anyone else's that knows about these things) and advice.

    Thank you
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  9. Years ago my flock was free-range and let the mama hens worry about their chicks but now I find myself with chicks. I have been giving them sand and putting some dirt on the floor of their cage for them. Now I wonder if that is enough. They are growing at an amazing rate and eat everything that we throw in the pen including their starter feed. I will be looking into some better sources of grit besides sand. I want my feathered-babies to be healthy and happy. They already get busy scratching and chasing each other over treats. Thanks for providing this information.
  10. If your feed store is giving you funny looks when asking for grit, it's time to find a new feed store... Or inquire about 'flint' grit as that appears to be more popular in Europe...

    As for using chunks of bricks, it's a very temporary solution unless they have an endless supply, as the bricks are no where near as hard as granite and will be ground up and expelled from the gizzard quite fast...

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