When do you start giving baby chicks grit?

Rick&Chris

Songster
Aug 15, 2018
349
442
151
Southeast PA (Bucks County)
My girls arrived today! I ordered the minimum of 15, but only 13 were shipped (?) and one passed away an hour after I took her out of the box (so sad). So I am keeping 8-10 (probably 8 for the size of my coop). Thoughts on that??

My main question is, when do you start giving chicks grit? They are getting chick starter food from my local feed store. I have the grit, but haven’t put it out yet. Also, I’m adding the pine shavings tomorrow (I heard they eat them so I thought it best to only give them food to start).

A photo of my baby girls and my (unfinished) 6x12 coop attached. The coop is 6x6 and the run is 6x6.

Appreciate your input!
 

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Lady of McCamley

Crowing
8 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,001
4,649
462
NW Oregon
Technically the formulated chick start feed is digestible without grit. However, it does not hurt and can help to simply set it out in a separate bowl (other than it can make for more mess).

If you begin to give other food in form of treats, especially hard grains, then they will need grit.

I don't worry about mine as they are on natural dirt (being broody hen raised) which also gives them some grit.

As to how many to keep, that depends on whether they stay in the coop just for roosting at night or if you intend to keep them in the run together for long stretches of time.

Typically the rule of thumb is a minimum of 2 square feet roosting space per bird in coop and 4 square feet movement space per bird in run. You'll need to do the math for your coop and run to get a general idea. A nest should be about 12inx12inx12in and accommodate 3 to 4 birds per nest maximum, so number nests accordingly (being aware that even if you have 10 nests for 5 birds, they will tend to all fight over one nest).

Those are just general rules of thumb. Less space is needed if the coop is just for night time and the birds have free access to a large run upon waking. More space is needed if the birds are truly confined for a time period. Flock personality also can factor in. Flightier birds may require more space (and netting) while calmer birds withstand confinement and closer neighbors better.

LofMc

Edited to Add...seeing your dimensions....a 6 x 12 coop is 72 square feet, divided by 2 square feet each bird....36 birds....but your coop doesn't look like it would/could hold anywhere near that...are you sure the coop (henhouse) isn't 6 x 6? That would be 36 square feet divided by 2 which would be 12 hens...which with the apparent dimensions and appearance in the photo still looks a bit ambitious. I think it would be closer to accommodating 8 hens.

Your run is small if 6 x 6 or 36 square feet...that would be 9 hens (assuming a minimum of 4 square feet each hen)...if the run is 6 x 12 (assuming the area under the hen house for range), then you can accommodate about 18 hens math wise...but again that would be overly ambitious. Don't over crowd.

My guess is 8 to 10 hens would be the maximum in that coop as long as they had free range regularly.

If you are locking them securely in the coop all day long, I'd go down to about 6....assuming again I can feel from the photo as I don't have any scale to go by.
 
Last edited:

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Jul 23, 2018
3,884
18,761
882
Edgewood, KY
My Coop
My Coop
My girls arrived today! I ordered the minimum of 15, but only 13 were shipped (?) and one passed away an hour after I took her out of the box (so sad). So I am keeping 8-10 (probably 8 for the size of my coop). Thoughts on that??

My main question is, when do you start giving chicks grit? They are getting chick starter food from my local feed store. I have the grit, but haven’t put it out yet. Also, I’m adding the pine shavings tomorrow (I heard they eat them so I thought it best to only give them food to start).

A photo of my baby girls and my (unfinished) 6x12 coop attached. The coop is 6x6 and the run is 6x6.

Appreciate your input!
You can start chick grit after two weeks.
 

cavemanrich

Enabler
5 Years
Apr 6, 2014
12,002
31,491
1,127
Melrose Park Illinois
Chicks do not need grit until they eat something other than Chick Starter Crumbles. Saying that,,,,,,,,, it does not mean you can not offer grit to them. They will pick it up as they see need. Offer it free-choice when you start to give them treats like greens and such. Of course they do need it when they start to munch on grains.:)
Pine shavings is something chicks may pick up with their beak, but not likely to eat it. Everyone is using it for their chicks, and I have not heard any problems arising. :idunno
You coop is sized correctly for the amount of chicken you want/intend to keep. If you can free range your HONEYS:love,,,,,, YOU CAN POSSIBLY SQUEEZE A FEW MORE. Most problems occur when chickens are overcrowded in daytime run area. You will know how your chickens behave/interact with each other when grown. You can make your own judgment call then.
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and:welcome
 

Kylo_Hen!

Songster
Jun 28, 2018
562
1,391
206
My girls arrived today! I ordered the minimum of 15, but only 13 were shipped (?) and one passed away an hour after I took her out of the box (so sad). So I am keeping 8-10 (probably 8 for the size of my coop). Thoughts on that??

My main question is, when do you start giving chicks grit? They are getting chick starter food from my local feed store. I have the grit, but haven’t put it out yet. Also, I’m adding the pine shavings tomorrow (I heard they eat them so I thought it best to only give them food to start).

A photo of my baby girls and my (unfinished) 6x12 coop attached. The coop is 6x6 and the run is 6x6.

Appreciate your input!
nice coop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
5,955
10,983
642
Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Sorry to hear about one of the chicks not making it. Shipment is stressful on them and unfortunately sometimes it's too much for them.

I give mine grit right away. They don't necessarily need it if strictly on chick starter, however knowing that chicks will likely pick up and try eating things other than their feed, IMO it's better to provide grit than not.

Your run area is definitely small for 8+ birds. Since you called the whole thing the coop, are you planning to free range or add additional run space? 10 sq ft is the general recommendation on here for the run, but I'd always recommend more when possible. Birds don't usually spend as much time in the coop, so having extra run space makes a huge difference when it comes to flock harmony.
 

Rick&Chris

Songster
Aug 15, 2018
349
442
151
Southeast PA (Bucks County)
Technically the formulated chick start feed is digestible without grit. However, it does not hurt and can help to simply set it out in a separate bowl (other than it can make for more mess).

If you begin to give other food in form of treats, especially hard grains, then they will need grit.

I don't worry about mine as they are on natural dirt (being broody hen raised) which also gives them some grit.

As to how many to keep, that depends on whether they stay in the coop just for roosting at night or if you intend to keep them in the run together for long stretches of time.

Typically the rule of thumb is a minimum of 2 square feet roosting space per bird in coop and 4 square feet movement space per bird in run. You'll need to do the math for your coop and run to get a general idea. A nest should be about 12inx12inx12in and accommodate 3 to 4 birds per nest maximum, so number nests accordingly (being aware that even if you have 10 nests for 5 birds, they will tend to all fight over one nest).

Those are just general rules of thumb. Less space is needed if the coop is just for night time and the birds have free access to a large run upon waking. More space is needed if the birds are truly confined for a time period. Flock personality also can factor in. Flightier birds may require more space (and netting) while calmer birds withstand confinement and closer neighbors better.

LofMc

Edited to Add...seeing your dimensions....a 6 x 12 coop is 72 square feet, divided by 2 square feet each bird....36 birds....but your coop doesn't look like it would/could hold anywhere near that...are you sure the coop (henhouse) isn't 6 x 6? That would be 36 square feet divided by 2 which would be 12 hens...which with the apparent dimensions and appearance in the photo still looks a bit ambitious. I think it would be closer to accommodating 8 hens.

Your run is small if 6 x 6 or 36 square feet...that would be 9 hens (assuming a minimum of 4 square feet each hen)...if the run is 6 x 12 (assuming the area under the hen house for range), then you can accommodate about 18 hens math wise...but again that would be overly ambitious. Don't over crowd.

My guess is 8 to 10 hens would be the maximum in that coop as long as they had free range regularly.

If you are locking them securely in the coop all day long, I'd go down to about 6....assuming again I can feel from the photo as I don't have any scale to go by.



Thanks for the reply. Each section is 6’x6’ - they would have full run of both sections all day long. We do plan on doing an outside / fenced area around the entire unit by next spring - this would be supervised ONLY until we get some sort of bird netting for the top. So you still think 8 birds max?

Also, when can I start giving them treats, other than their chick starter, and what is recommended for babies?
 

Rick&Chris

Songster
Aug 15, 2018
349
442
151
Southeast PA (Bucks County)
Sorry to hear about one of the chicks not making it. Shipment is stressful on them and unfortunately sometimes it's too much for them.

I give mine grit right away. They don't necessarily need it if strictly on chick starter, however knowing that chicks will likely pick up and try eating things other than their feed, IMO it's better to provide grit than not.

Your run area is definitely small for 8+ birds. Since you called the whole thing the coop, are you planning to free range or add additional run space? 10 sq ft is the general recommendation on here for the run, but I'd always recommend more when possible. Birds don't usually spend as much time in the coop, so having extra run space makes a huge difference when it comes to flock harmony.
The baby did not make it (). Yes, Thanks for the reply. Each section is 6’x6’ - they would have full run of both sections all day long. We do plan on doing an outside / fenced area around the entire unit by next spring - this would be supervised ONLY until we get some sort of bird netting for the top. So you still think 8 birds max?
 

Rick&Chris

Songster
Aug 15, 2018
349
442
151
Southeast PA (Bucks County)
Sorry to hear about one of the chicks not making it. Shipment is stressful on them and unfortunately sometimes it's too much for them.

I give mine grit right away. They don't necessarily need it if strictly on chick starter, however knowing that chicks will likely pick up and try eating things other than their feed, IMO it's better to provide grit than not.

Your run area is definitely small for 8+ birds. Since you called the whole thing the coop, are you planning to free range or add additional run space? 10 sq ft is the general recommendation on here for the run, but I'd always recommend more when possible. Birds don't usually spend as much time in the coop, so having extra run space makes a huge difference when it comes to flock harmony.
Thank you - please see my reply below regarding the “coop”
 
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