The Science Of Feeding Grit To Poultry

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

  1. Lisa Wood

    Lisa Wood Songster

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    Yes, my husband bought a used coop, tore it apart, and remade it. He has to add roosts, block off some ventilation open areas under the roof, and I think he is gonna make a secure screen door out of one of the two doors, because he heard me read that they need to be locked in coop for a week. We want to see them. He is also adding wire roof to the 10 by 45 foot run, because we are afraid of air raids. I van see Hawks every day cruising overhead......
     
  2. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Smart man! You can also roof that run with tarps. Makes a big difference when it rains. All my smaller runs are roofed. Buy a tarp at Harbor Freight and some of those bungie cords with the ball on the end for canopies. Stretch the tarps over the roof and insert screws into the uprights near the top of the stud. Pull the tarp taut and put the bungees thru the grommet holes, looping the bungee over the screw. Tight enough to hold it but not to rip the tarp. Works great for us. The slight overhang of the tarp sends rainwater into the grass, not back into the run. The bungees give enough flex to the tarp that the tarp doesn't rip when the wind blows. If you need more than one tarp, duct tape the overlap seam so the water doesn't leak between the tarp seams and into the run. Our has lasted for years until an 80 ft. pine tree fell on the run and demolished it. ( yes, the chickens were fine but the run( not the coop) is a goner.
    Best,
    Karen
     
  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    I think that the fermented food is easier and softer to digest so the grit doesn't have to work as hard. Still, grit in the gizzard is natural for fowl. The gizzard is a muscle and grit exercises it to keep it healthy. Yes one can feed super soft, easy to digest feed to birds and yours obviously are thriving. But that doesn't mean the gizzard is getting the best exercise. Grit also helps clean out the rest of the G.I. tract as it passes thru the bird, helping to keep it clean of build-up.
    There were 2 main reasons the farmers of the 1930's were keen on standardized grit for their poultry. One was to increase egg production. The other was to create healthier gizzards and stop some of the gizzard health issues they were seeing in their birds. The grit fixed both issues.
    Best,
    Karen
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Don't know that I've ever heard that grit exercises the gizzard nor cleans out build up in the intestines. Grit is primarily to help the gizzard grind seeds and bug shells into a more digestible form. When grit exits the gizzard it's normally worn so smooth that it's no longer any good for this purpose, so not sure about the cleaning out the build up? in the intestines. Been killing and cleaning birds a long time and never once known a chicken to have intestinal buildup? The gizzard gets exercise when grinding food but not sure if the grit causes the exercise....should be the act of grinding.

    Sure would love some reference materials on the ideas about grit being used for exercise and cleaning out the bowels. Should make for interesting reading.
     
  5. Lisa Wood

    Lisa Wood Songster

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    AIKEN, South Carolina
    Karen! This is awesome idea, especially since we can direct run off water to the garden! My question is, will it hurt them to not have direct sun? And will grass still grow under tarps? I feel like I got off grit topic.
     
  6. birds4kids

    birds4kids Songster

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    The idea grit helps exercise is common sense, gives it something to work against.
    Far as clearing the digestive tract roughage, common sense again, at least if not blindly out to argue.
     
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    But...isn't the food something for it to work against? And everything a chicken eats is pretty much roughage, so I'm not really seeing grit as a necessity for such as that. Grit is pretty much a mechanical aid in digestion, as chickens lack teeth. That they gain exercise of the gizzard when digestion occurs, with or without grit, is a foregone conclusion, as is stones moving through the digestive tract a form of roughage, but I fail to see that grit is used primarily for these purposes or because of these....common sense would tell you that those are just side effects of its real purpose of helping the bird to break down seed casings and bug shells. Their very diet would take care of those two needs, with or without the addition of grit.

    That's like saying, if a human were to swallow small, rough stones, that they helped the stomach gain exercise and helped clean out the intestines.....well...of course they would, but why in the world would a human swallow small stones in order to do that? Chickens eat stones to help them grind food, the other aspects of eating stones are just a natural side effect of consuming small stones but the stones are not necessarily a needed thing to perform those functions....their feed alone does that.
     
  8. Rockvillian

    Rockvillian In the Brooder

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    Its my understanding the gizzard contracts periodically, with or without grit. I have read that the presence of grit helps in the development of a healthy gizzard. I don't think the gizzard would be very effective without adequate grit and, overall health might be effected. As far as clearing out the intestine, I imagine macerated grain would more easily move through the digestive tract. IMHO only.
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I have noticed this....since switching to fermented feed, the ruggae in the gizzards are not quite as deep as they were when feeding dry mash all the time. Kind of noticing that the harder the grain is to grind, the more muscle and more distinctly ridged the ruggae seem to be. Don't think this has anything to do with the nature or amount of grit available, as the flock pretty much has the same type and access to natural grit as they always have....seems to have more to do with the difficulty of grinding the food.

    I'd venture to say that commercial poultry farmers that feed all pelleted feeds don't present much of a challenge to the typical gizzard, so the addition of daily grit to the feed may help those gizzards gain more tonicity in the absence of anything else worthy of a deeper grinding action of those muscles.
     
  10. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    No it will not hurt them to be in the shade. And it will be helpful to keep the run drier. Yes, grass will still grow. The sides are still open to let light in,.
    Best,
    Karen
     

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