What's the big deal about grit?

To grit or not to grit?  That really shouldn't be a question.  All chickens should have access to grit.  I'm not talking about the oyster shells you may give your hens for calcium.  I am talking about stones.  Yes, chickens eat stones.  This is called insoluble grit, usually flint or granite.  You can start chicks right away with chick grit, and the pebble size increases as they age.  This grit is accumulated in the gizzard and as the muscles of the gizzard contracts, it moves the stones around, breaking down their food so that it is digestible.  Grit is essentially chicken teeth, or hens teeth, but easier to find.  ;)  See what I did there?  

But what if you have your chickens outside?  Shouldn't they be getting grit, pecking away at the dirt?  Short answer is, not really.  What they are normally getting from the ground isn't big enough to do any good, unless they are picking stones from your driveway or landscaping.  

Benefits of feeding grit?  Well, you may see a little lower feed bill, better feed conversion, and happier, healthier birds.  

You can feed grit by sprinkling in their feed or using a self feeder.  Don't worry if it doesn't go down very fast.  Chickens don't require a lot and it takes a while for it to pass through their system.  They usually know what they need and when.  You can get self feeders here in the shop.  I use them in all my pens for both grit and oyster shells and they are handy to have.  

Shetland Hen at Grit Feeder

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