True Grit?

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by DonHess, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. DonHess

    DonHess Out Of The Brooder

    I have had backyard hens in two different lives, 5 in Canada and now 15 in Virginia. I have googled and read about the benefits of grit yet I have never provided it.

    In both cases, outside of the hen house was a run, the current one is 30' by 10'. In the morning, when first let them out, the girls eat every bug and worm that was foolish enough to be in their vicinity, and all day, in addition to Layena Omega 3 they get fruits and vegetables and scratch. No grit.

    BUT -- like all chickens, they have their beaks in the dirt all day, picking up whatever interests them.

    So, do I need to add grit to their menu? I didn't last time (because I didn't know about it) and enjoyed 5 healthy, happy hens who produced large eggs just about every day. Do you think I need to with my current flock?

  2. SueT

    SueT Overrun With Chickens

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Well there is probably quite a bit of grit to be found in a run that large. That being said, they do need grit to digest foods like scratch grains. It would probably be a good idea to offer it. I didn't give grit to my hens when they were free range, but now that they are confined, I sprinkle grit on the ground. It looks like they don't eat much of it, so it lasts a long time.
  3. DrPatrickBiggs

    DrPatrickBiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2015
    Great question, Don.

    Grit is only necessary if your hens are not allowed to free-range and are fed any kind of hard-coated seed or grain. Birds that free-range will naturally eat tiny stones, and confined birds that are eating a commercial pellet or crumble do not need grit because the ingredients in the feed were all in the ground form prior to being made into a crumble or pellet. Once that crumble/pellet hits the moisture in the crop, it will soften into its former mash condition. However, confined birds being fed scratch grains or bird seed as a treat will benefit from eating some grit. For your ease, you can just put some in a bowl or sprinkle it on the ground in their run and they will pick it up -- you needn't go to the extra effort to mix it into their feed. Grit is made from granite, so it will last a long time in their gizzard. You can feed it as seldom as once a month or every day if you wish; they will eat as needed.
  4. DonHess

    DonHess Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks. I bought a small bag a couple of weeks ago and spread it on the ground near their water. The next day I couldn't see any, so they either ate it or buried it a little.

    They get Purina Layena pellets as their main diet plus scratch and black oil sunflower seeds. Plus the occasional fruit treat; apples, grapes, melon. They completely rejected green peppers. So, I have 15 children who won't eat their vegetables. Although they love it when I grab handfuls of un-mowed grass and weeds and toss it into their playground.

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