When do you start scratch and grit??


8 Years
Jan 25, 2012
Southeastern, Oklahoma
Hi! My chickens are 12 weeks old...

When should I start real life grit and scratch?

They live in a chicken tractor, so they are always on a pretty fresh parcel of ground where they dig and hunt all day....they LOVE LOVE LOVE clover! I took them through a full 5lb bag of chick grit, but that has been gone for a few weeks. When can I start giving them scratch grains and real grit? And what is the best way to do that, just throw it in their run?

I fed them oatmeal on Sunday. I made a quarter of a cup for 5 chickens...went back in an hour it was ALL GONE! I tried feeding them some just white sandwhich bread torn up, but they didn't care for it :(

Any other words of advice or wisdom when it comes to feeding 12 week olds?
I don't know about the grit, but I just came from the feed store and was reading all of the feed bags. Purina scratch grains said that it was for adult hens that had started laying already. My chicks are 13 weeks old and the store clerk recommended also that I should wait another month or two before I added the scratch grains to their diet.
Not sure what "chick grit" is and wondering how they went thru 5 lbs of it. Whoa.

They're eating off the land so they are most likely picking up grit on their own. That way they can digest all the yummies you've been giving them. Mmmmm oatmeal.

Also, just b/c they don't take to something immediately is not an indication that they won't eventually enjoy it.

Scratch is a treat you can toss ...hey, wait a minute. I'm confused by "chick grit" so maybe I'm misunderstanding "scratch." ;) !!
Well, at Orscheln's they sell a product called "chick grit" and it probably wasn't 5lbs....it was a small bag measuring about 10" by 10"....I think it was like $5...It was probably just the same grit as everything, but either way, I bought it, I gave it to them, they consumed it in some form or fashion.

I have just started experimenting with treats, they've mostly only been eating feed and clover (and whatever they unearth in their scratching and pecking). But I just wanted to make sure they were getting the grit they need from the ground. Will I ever need to supplement their grit with grit like you buy in the feed store (or a pan of sand or something in their run)?

I think you are probably understanding right about scratch...I'm talking about what you buy in the feed store called "Scratch Grain"...is there an alternative to this? And are they too young for scratch grains?

Also, I read that you can feed them table scraps to some degree (obviously minus potatoe peels or anything else that is a no no for chickens) How do people incorporate this? Do they just toss it in their pen/run or make some sort of feeder?

Thank you both for all your info thus far!
Hi I just want to post so I can find this thread later, I have 3 eleven week old chicks and am wondering the same, they have chick crumbs only until this week when they had a few grapes but should I be giving them grit?
At 12 weeks, you don't need "chick grit." Chick grit is just smaller pieces of granite. They can use poultry grit (larger pieces of granite). Prior to 8 weeks, I poured a 3lb bag of chick grit around the coop. They eat it up quick (my hens are all free range with a gravel driveway to boot). I do the same now with poultry grit. I'm not sure why this isn't done by everyone. I have a friend who never gave grit and whose birds did not have access to free range. I would think they wouldn't be digesting much which would ultimately stunt growth or worse?
Thanks everyone! This is all immensely helpful! I really appreciate it! Hopefully someday when I am a seasoned chicken keeper I will be able to pass this helpful info onto a newbie like me

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