What Is Grit?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rooster47, May 15, 2010.

  1. rooster47

    rooster47 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have my first 5 chickens (Isa Browns) and they are almost 6 weeks old. They are such a joy to watch. Getting chickens has been on my "bucket list" for a long time. After 40 years of marriage my husband finally agreed to letting me have 5. Anyway, I am feeding them Chick Starter Grower 20% Protein (Purina Brand). They seem to be thriving on this and growing like weeds. I am wondering if I should be feeding them "grit"? I don't know what grit is but everyone seems to be talking about it. I tried to give them some mint from my garden today but they just snubbed it. What other herbs or treats could I give them. I really want to spoil them. I have 3 grandaughters who are going to enjoy them, too. And, in fact, I think my husband is getting to like them a little! I've been putting them in a small fenced area for a few hours a day until our run is done so they do get to eat grass and bugs. I am also wondering at what age I can let them go free range for a few hours a day - while I keep my eyes on them! Will they know how to get back into their coop? I have visions of me chasing them all over the field to catch them. They were so adorable tonight. They were all sitting on their perch ready to go to bed before dark tonight.
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Grit is small stones or pebbles that the chicken needs in order to be able to grind up their food, lacking teeth.
    The kind sold commercially is usually ground granite.
    If you are putting your chicks on the ground, chances are they are finding small stones to substitute for store bought grit.
    When chicks are eating nothing but chick starter grit is not necessary, but if they are eating other things like bugs, harder grains, etc., they will need grit.
    Here's the link to the treat chart:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=21530
    When my adult birds were chicks, I started them out with plain yogurt and chopped hard boiled eggs as their first treats. Added one treat every couple of days so I could see what agreed with them and what did not.
    Don't be surprised if they are afraid of treats at first. They're afraid of anything new in their enviroment. Leave the treat in with them and they'll soon overcome their fear. It helps if you make a habit of always offering their treats in the same bowl, preferably a brightly colored one. They learn to associate that bowl with yummy stuff.
    At six weeks old I would keep them somewhat confined while they "free range", otherwise you'll get real good at chick wrangling. Perhaps fashion a small pen with the coop door as one end. Once they demonstrate that they know to go back in the coop at dusk you can give them more freedom.
    Good luck and enjoy your long awaited chicken adventure! [​IMG]
     
  3. rooster47

    rooster47 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Kat! I'll try the eggs and yogurt soon. Think I'll keep them outside in a small pen a few more weeks to play before I let them go all over the place by themselves.
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Not a bad idea. The young ones are more prone to hawk and other predator attacks because of their size. I think mine were about 10 weeks old before I felt comfotable about letting them be out for any length of time without supervision.
     
  5. toscany

    toscany Out Of The Brooder

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    The best grit, I find, is of Oyster shell. It can be purchased at the Feed Stores. It is an excellent mineral supplement.

    Try to store it in a plastic container after you open it. It is usuall sold in 25 lbs. bags.

    HMB
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Oyster shell is not considerd a suitable grit. Oyster shell breaks down in the chickens system alot faster than grit does. Plus, young chickens should not have the amount of calcium that OS provides.

    Just a bit of FYI [​IMG]
     
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Quote:Oyster shells are not a grit, Oyster shells are a calcium supplement like ground lime stone, Calcium carbonate or Calcium phosphate.
    Oyster shell tend to break down fast and does not grind grain very well also Oyster shell isn't very good for roosters and young birds because they don't need the extra calcium.
    A good grit to use is granite grit or builder sand. If you use a true grit and not the Oyster shell your bird will be better off.


    Chris
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Oyster shell is not considerd a suitable grit. Oyster shell breaks down in the chickens system alot faster than grit does. Plus, young chickens should not have the amount of calcium that OS provides.

    Just a bit of FYI [​IMG]

    You're exactly right. Oyster shell is soluble and will pass through the gizzard, offering no help grinding up food. Additionally, you shouldn't be offering oyster shell to chicks. Too much calcium is bad for them.

    I offer grit to chicks and hens, but oyster shell only to laying hens.
     

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