Why Chickens Need Grit

In a recent recent video, I showed how to make grit for chickens. Many questions came in asking if their chickens need it or not. I thought I would take the time to answer some of the most common ask questions surrounding why chickens need grit.

older laying hens

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What is Grit?

Grit can be any tiny small rock or pebbles that a chicken picks up while free ranging. Grit is also sold in bags to chicken owners who don’t have access to small gravel or have the ability to free range your flock. The brand of chicken grit listed below advertises that it is insoluble crushed granite on the front of the package and on the ingredients it just states, “grit.”

Grit for Chicks

Below we have what is known as grit for chicks. Most chicks, especially meat birds, always thrive better when they have access to grit. When chicks are raised by their mother hens, they are shown to pick up small pieces of sand or pebbles when free ranging. Manna Pro Chick Grit is a digestive supplement that you can start giving your chicks access to when they are 2 weeks old. It is designed to aid them with digestion by providing the insoluble crushed granite at the right size for young chicks, and to provide them with a plethora of fermented things that will also give them a boost with their digestive tracks.

If you are raising your chicks in a brooder, you will need to supply them with grit meant specifically for chicks. Trust me, they will do much better and grow at a faster rate when they have it. After all, chickens need grit whether they are full grown laying hens, roosters or baby chicks. They size of what their crop can handle is where it’s important to pay attention.

If you have been raising chicks without providing a chick grit, I encourage you to give it a try. Your next batch of chicks in the brooder will allow you to see for yourself.

What Happens if Chickens Don’t Have Grit?

Because of a chicken’s lack of teeth, they can’t chew their food small enough. The grit is passed into the gizzard to grind up those bigger seeds before they get a chance to start fermenting. When food in the system starts to ferment, it causes an overgrowth of yeast which then leads to a condition known as sour crop. Chickens need grit to stop fermentation in the digestive system from happening and to keep their yeast levels in check. Sour crop is awful for a chicken when it can be so easily kept from happening.

How Important is Grit for Chickens?

Let me show you a short video of how much my laying hens like grit. You can decide for yourself how important it is for chickens to have grit. They love it!

We Make Our Own Chicken Grit

At Wild Heaven Farms, we have a creek that runs the length of our property. This means we always have access to all sizes of chicken grit. We use a 1/4 inch hardware cloth screen to filter out the larger pieces of stone. We give them the rest. I made this video to show just how we make our own chicken grit. I hope you enjoy it and learn something from it.

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