There is often a lot of confusion when it comes to chicken grit. What is it? Do chickens need it? How do you provide it to your chickens? Here is a quick guide that answers all your questions and makes chicken grit simple.
What is Chicken Grit?
Chicken grit is small pieces of gravel or stone which chickens eat. Chickens don't have teeth and instead grit acts like teeth in the chickens gizzard (a mechanical stomach that grinds up food).
Grit stones become smooth over time before they are eventually passed through the chickens digestive system, which is why chickens need a regular source of grit.
Grit for chickens is often confused with shell grit or oyster shell. However they are not the same thing and serve completely different purposes. Shell grit is made of small pieces of broken up shell (often oyster shell) which provide chickens with an excellent source of calcium.
Do Chickens Need Grit?
It is very important that backyard chickens have access to a source of grit. However grit is often available naturally to chickens when free ranging and foraging around in your backyard or in your chicken run.
However if chickens are confined to a chicken coop or small chicken run that doesn't provide grit, then you'll need to provide a your chickens with a source of grit.
Do Chicks Need Grit?
Like adult chickens, chicks need grit to digest their food. The only difference is they need smaller pieces of grit than an adult hen.
What to use as Grit
Small granite pieces are a popular source of grit for chickens. However any small pebble / stone will do the same job.
How to provide grit to your chickens
Grit should be provided in a seperate feeder for your chickens and should be made freely available (free choice) at all times. This will allow your chickens to eat grit when its needed. A small container or pvc feeder will do the job as a grit feeder. Or you can try this diy pvc waterer which has a specially made grit feeder at the bottom.
What size grit do chickens need
Ideally you should provide grit in a range of different sizes, so that chickens can choose what they need, based on their age and size. Chicks will need smaller grit than adult hens. And small breeds such as bantams will need smaller grit than large breeds. As a rough guide:
- Grit for chicks: 1/16" - 3/16" / 1 - 5mm
- Grit for adult hens: 3/16" - 5/16" / 5-8mm
More questions about grit?
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