If you have read any of my other posts you know I am extremely new to chickens and basically know the bare minimum about them! I just got three bard rock chicks, and was wondering what I should use for grit and where I should get it???
IF you're giving them treats in the brooder - other than shredded cheese or yogurt or finely chopped hard-boiled eggs, or scrambled eggs - basically, any greens or mealworms or stuff like that which would need to be "chewed," you can also sprinkle some all purpose or construction sand on the treats. If you put a small plate of it in the brooder, they will probably eat it all. Not a problem, but they don't really need to scarf down a tummy full of sand....
I use all purpose sand because, unlike play sand which is very fine, it has small bits of granite and pebbles in it - perfect for grit purposes. And it's cheap - a fifty pound bag is like 3 bucks or so at Lowe's or Home Depot. And you can use it in a dishpan or plastic litter box bottom outside for them to dust bathe in!
I just picked up starter grit at my local Southern States... $0.40 cents a pound. I bought a pound and will most likely never have to buy it again. It is really small. I sprinkled some on their food and they thought it was a treat. Silly chicks.
I gave my chicks some grit because they are trying to eat their bedding and I've got one that I believe is having crop issues. I'm treating, but I think she came from the feed store with the crop issue. I'm not even sure how she can still be alive, she's a fighter that one.
There are two types of grit, "soluble" and "insoluble" .
Insoluble - is usually Gran I grit brand and is granite bits, used by chickens to "grind" up feed, grasses, and grains in the gizzard. This is important to help avoid the sour crop we read so much about. Its especially important if you feed household scraps. It eventually passes through the system and is eliminated with the rest of the waste aka poop.
Soluble - grit is usually an Oyster shell type grit given to promote calcium in your hens and assist in the formation of the egg shell. It dissolves and goes into the system of the bird.
Chickens will eat grit as they need to. There is chick size grit you can use if you think you need to and probably should if your giving them bits of lettuce or other greens. I usually just sprinkle it on the floor of the brooder. Greens however is a treat and not necessary to feed them. They will do fine without treats. I haven't given my chicks greens since the first batch, because I'd rather not deal with it.
Both other types of grit should be available on demand for older birds. I keep two tubs, feeders or whatever you choose to use in the coop and run. You don't want to place "soluble" grit out in the open cuz the rain will just wash it away. A covered area is best and to keep it dry.
Insoluble grit comes in different sizes here, layer, starter and grower. Chickens will decide what size is best. They won't try to swallow a boulder.
Even in a free range situation I think it's best to offer grit. It's better to not risk sour crop than to have to deal with it. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I got a 5lb back of "chick grit" at tractor supplys. I have also read that you can get grit from pet stores if the farm stores dont have it, because "pet" birds need it as well. make sure you get CHICK grit though or if at the pet store something else thats hella small for small birds.