When can I start giving my chicks grit?

Madisan

Songster
Jun 5, 2015
251
16
106
Florida
I have a few different age groups in chicks. I have 8 week olds, 6 week olds, and 3 week olds. When can I start giving them grit? The 8 weekers and 6 weekers are already in the coop but I have them separated for now until they get integrated. Should I have been giving them grit all along? I have raised many chicks before and never have given any grit until about 20 weeks old. I saw chick grit today and never knew it existed until now... :( should I give chick grit to all the chicks? Or just the 6 and 8 weekers?
Thanks!
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,846
21,979
907
Southeast Louisiana
You CAN give your chicks grit at any age. They don’t NEED grit until they eat something other than normally processed chicken feed because chicken feed has already been ground up. If you feed them chicken feed that has not been ground up, they need grit. Chickens will use any rocks they eat to grind up their food that needs to be ground in their gizzard. The grit you buy is almost certainly granite, which is cheap since it is waste from a granite quarry and very good for grinding since it is very hard. If your chickens can get to the ground they will find their own but if you contain them where they cannot get to the ground and feed them something that needs to be ground up, giving them grit is a good idea.

Language barrier warning: In the USA grit means Insoluble Grit that is used in the gizzard to grind up food. In other parts of the world Soluble Grit means oyster shell or something similar that provides calcium for hens to use to make their egg shell. Soluble Grit should not be fed to growing chicks.
 

Madisan

Songster
Jun 5, 2015
251
16
106
Florida
You CAN give your chicks grit at any age. They don’t NEED grit until they eat something other than normally processed chicken feed because chicken feed has already been ground up. If you feed them chicken feed that has not been ground up, they need grit. Chickens will use any rocks they eat to grind up their food that needs to be ground in their gizzard. The grit you buy is almost certainly granite, which is cheap since it is waste from a granite quarry and very good for grinding since it is very hard. If your chickens can get to the ground they will find their own but if you contain them where they cannot get to the ground and feed them something that needs to be ground up, giving them grit is a good idea.

Language barrier warning: In the USA grit means Insoluble Grit that is used in the gizzard to grind up food. In other parts of the world Soluble Grit means oyster shell or something similar that provides calcium for hens to use to make their egg shell. Soluble Grit should not be fed to growing chicks.

Okay thanks! The chicks that are in the coop do have access to the ground but the 3 week olds don't
 

3riverschick

Poultry Lit Chaser
10 Years
May 19, 2009
8,453
3,309
512
Ridgerunner has great advice. If you want to research deeper, here's a research paper I wrote on the subject a while back. all 4 or 5 posts.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/891051/the-science-of-feeding-grit-to-poultry
Newest research indicates that when chicks start on grit very early their grow bigger gizzards.
Just like Gran-I-Grit said would happen. Bigger gizzard means better ability to digest feed
which means more nutrients for eggs which means better ability to lay eggs.
Best Regards,
Karen
 

Madisan

Songster
Jun 5, 2015
251
16
106
Florida
Ridgerunner has great advice. If you want to research deeper, here's a research paper I wrote on the subject a while back.   all 4 or 5 posts.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/891051/the-science-of-feeding-grit-to-poultry
Newest research indicates that when chicks start on grit very early their grow bigger gizzards.
Just like Gran-I-Grit said would happen. Bigger gizzard means better ability to digest feed
which means more nutrients for eggs which means better ability to lay eggs.
 Best Regards,
 Karen

Thank you for sharing that with me! I will definitely check that out!
 

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