When to add grit to chick feed?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Oktober, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Oktober

    Oktober In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2011
    Rhode Island
    I just had our first batch of chicks this week and although we lost one, the others seem to be doing fine. We've been feeding them medicated starter mash, which has gone over well. However, I'm not sure if or when I should start adding some grit to their feed. I think I remember reading somewhere that chicks won't need grit if they stay on starter feed exclusively, but will need it if they start getting other snacks. Anyone have any thoughts?

    Also, speaking of snacks, what treats does everyone give their fuzz balls from time to time? Lettuce? Cabbage? Insects?


  2. colebarnhart

    colebarnhart Songster

    You can start now mixing in a small amount of sand in with the feed. There is grit made for chix that is smaller than regular grit and you can find it at a local farm/feed store. All chickens need grit even early on and if you imagine chickens without human help, what would they eat, how would they eat it, what is the process after they eat something, how are they made, why do they need grit, etc? If they free range then they will get grit while scratching and eating off the ground, but you should always have some available inside your coop/run and they will eat whatever amount of grit they need.
  3. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    I've found that grit for chicks is sometimes hard to find. Sandbox sand works well if you can't find the other.
  4. Black Cochin Bantams

    Black Cochin Bantams Songster

    Feb 24, 2010
    I have never added grit in all the years I have had chickens. They really don't need it. Sand won't hurt them. The treat mine get is dry cat food 2-3 times weekly.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    If all they eat is chicken feed, they do not need grit. It has already been ground up pretty fine before being made into pellets or crumbles. Their gizzard can handle that stuff fine.

    If they eat much of anything else, they need grit. They can eat yogurt, boiled egg yolk, even small pieces of bedding, many bugs, and small pieces of things, but their system really works better if they have grit in their gizzards. And if they eat too much or too big a chunk of things that won't pass through their system without grit, they can get in trouble. It's called an impacted gizzard.

    I don't buy grit. I usually take sandy dirt from my run and give that to them. I've also taken sand and very small pebbles from my gravel driveway and give that to them for grit. Or you can cut a chunk of sod and put that in the brooder. They'll get grit from the dirt and enjoy the green stuff.

    Many people never give grit, feed them only chick feed, raise them on wood shavings and never have a problem. But with the grit, none were prepared when my wife stunned a wasp and dropped it in the brooder. They really enjoyed that.
  6. Oktober

    Oktober In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2011
    Rhode Island
    Regarding insects as treats, is there any problem feeding baby chicks these insects? Ours are only a few days old and we were contemplating dropping in a captured bug into the brooder, but decided against it given the chicks had not had any grit yet and we just weren't sure. Can we feed the little guys the occasional insect, or should we wait for them to get a little bigger before we do?

  7. turbodog

    turbodog Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    Independence, La.
    I suppose babies foraging with momma would be getting grit and bugs right from the get-go, but I waited till mine were a couple of weeks old before giving treats and grit. Mine loved little grasshoppers. Lots of fun to watch em playing keep away.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  8. Oktober

    Oktober In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2011
    Rhode Island
    Quote:That's a valid point and was the basis for why we were thinking about dropping a bug or two in there, but held off just because we were not sure.

  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:I agree with Ridge on this one. With my first batch of chicks I wanted to do everything by the book. The chicks got parakeet grit (without the added calcium) when I started giving them treats - boiled egg, bugs @ two weeks old. A couple days later I had them outside on the ground. I would scoop up a large shallow pan of dirt to offer them. First they would dustbath in it, then they would pick through it to seek out the small stones for grit. After that I never again offered grit.

    Now my broodies raise the chicks. Within three days of their hatch Mama Hen has the chicks out on the ground, eating whatever she finds for them to eat. I have watched the mamas show the chicks "grit" too. I was mildly concerned when the chicks started eating the scratch grains I meant for the adult birds, but eat it they did. All have grown up fine and healthy.
  10. chickmchickie

    chickmchickie Songster

    Jul 6, 2011
    Ely Mn
    I always used oyster shells.. we have 5 acres that they will run on, and ton sof wood ticks and others yummy things to eat. But you all are talking grit and sand, what about oyster shells. I just got a 50 pd bag
    hello btw from Ely MN

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