What's the real deal with Grit?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by In2Ice, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. In2Ice

    In2Ice Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2012
    What is the proper way to feed grit? It is really necessary if the Chickens are eating feed and occasionally getting a treat such as grass clippings and meal worms? I was just wondering if I should run out and get some or if I only really need it if they eat certain foods. I have 4 chickens that are 6 weeks old. They have been in a brooder box but will make their way in to the main coop this weekend. They will have access to dirt, sand and rocks in their run. I have given them grass and hay clippings and mealworms in the past without having them have access to grit. They also pick at the paper in their box and the wood shavings I put in there too. What are your thoughts?
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Quote: They have everythnig they need right there
  3. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    If you deny your chickens grit, you have taken their dentures away. Grit functions in the gizzard to grind food. So as soon as you start giving your chicks treats firmer than chick feed, you should provide access to grit. Just keep a small bowl in the brooder or cage. I would think they would eventually become cropbound without it, especially since you're feeding hay and grass, which is silica and very hard to grind.

    They will take grit as they need it, and as the stones become too polished in the gizzard to be effective, they are passed, and the chicken eats more grit. You can buy chick-sized grit or just find some handfuls of fine roadside grit, washed free of salt or contamination. They will consume appropriate sized pieces if you provide a variety. If they have access to appropriate ground, they will find their own.

    So, grit going! [​IMG]
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The chicken survived for 1000's and 1000's of years without store bought grit. Providing grit only became popular a relatively few years ago when the keeping of chickens in very confined spaces became popular. A chicken with access to sand, stones, gravel and pebbles in nature has little need for their owner to provide grit.

    Birds kept confined, even confined with a run, may not have access to enough coarse grit and providing an additional source may be wise.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    For clarity, the crop is far ahead of the gizzard, so providing grit will not likely have much effect on preventing being crop bound. Grit is used in the gizzard or grinding, not in the crop. Hay and grass are vegetable matter. We think of silica as fine stones or sand. Just to clear up a few points. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  6. Dutch552

    Dutch552 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2011
    Hart County, KY
    I have it for my little one before they leave the growout pens and enter the coop and runs. Plenty of sand, rocks and pebbles for them to find. A 25lb bag will last you a very very long time.
  7. gale65

    gale65 Chillin' With My Peeps

    When ours were about 10 days old I put some garden dirt in a pan and put it in their coop (they didn't go outside at this point). They pecked at it and kicked it out and I refilled it.
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009

    Quote: Crop bound has to do with improper feeding and has nothing to do with having grit or not.

    Silica is sand much like diatomaceous earth which is 80 to 90% silica.

    Quote: Stones are passed only when they are to small/fine to be used, even if the stones are polished they are used in the crop.

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  9. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    Also, for chicks, sand is perfect grit. I give mine some sand in the brooder from time and time. I also have some sand with small stones mixed in that contractors use when making concrete. I find this is just perfect grit for all sizes of chickens. I dump a bit out every so often for them. I hate to buy a sack of rocks when I have a guy right next door with all I need for free.
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    [​IMG] Exactly. Hate to buy sand and rocks when our property is mostly sand and rocks. We got a saying around here about being dumb. "Dumber than a ......" well, you can finish it if you know it.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012

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