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#65897 - 03/06/04 02:23 PM Shell Grit - for gizzard or shells?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi everyone. I bought shell grit, and my chooks don't like it.

I WAS WONDERING - Is shell grit - large pieces - for a chook to grind up food in the gizzard, or is it to supply additional calcium, or both.

I bought it assuming it was for calcium, as our chooks are free range and have plenty of rocks to chew on for grit. My chooks don't seem to eat it. Are they only eating little bits when they want it or none at all. Is it for grinding up food or calcium?

Thanks. confused

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#65898 - 03/06/04 03:32 PM Re: Shell Grit - for gizzard or shells?
Bill Ludwig Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 2582
Loc: Ohio
Oyster shell is for calcium. They wont eat much of it. I still have the same bag now for 3 years with 7 birds.

Bill

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#65899 - 03/07/04 08:49 PM Re: Shell Grit - for gizzard or shells?
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
The Gizzard holds Grit, which is the "teeth" of a chicken. It grinds all their food into what we term "poop". They instinctively eat enough grit (or other sand or stones) to keep the gizzard active

Those of you who buy chickens already cut and wrapped, may never have learned to clean a chicken. There is a trick to opening the gizzard, washing out the sand and grit, peeling the lining--and have an item fit for the best chicken broth you can inhale!

If your birds are not eating oyster shell or grit, they are not needing it at the time. They will eat it as needed. The grit pulverizes the oyster shell, so it can be absorbed. For some reason, my Bantams have devoured more OysterShell than usual, this winter. Most are not laying, so must be getting in condition for their next production sessions! Various grasses must be a source of calcium and free range hens may keep up their systems for good strong egg shells with little oystershell. CJR

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#65900 - 03/07/04 11:01 PM Re: Shell Grit - for gizzard or shells?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Doesn't 'shell grit' have enough calcium in it, or is it undigestible or unable to be eaten by chooks, or what. Because any shell is made of calcium, so why is shell grit not the ideal pick? I was told shell grit was for calcuim, and I do believe that oyster shell is too, but WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? confused confused confused

Anyway, I'll see if the layer pellets which say they have calcium in them, produce strong enough egg shells.

laugh

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#65901 - 03/08/04 12:21 PM Re: Shell Grit - for gizzard or shells?
Anonymous
Unregistered


If you are feeding a commercially available lay ration, you shouldn't have a calcium deficiency. If that is ALL you feed. If you feed a significant amount of treats, then you should probably be adding crushed calcium carbonate (oyster shell, limestone).

Calcium carbonate is a rock but it is digestible. It dissolves in acid (stomach acid - the pH of stomach acid is about 2).

My hens won't eat oyster shell on their own. I feed enough corn treat that I add crushed limestone which has a grain size equal to that of sand. I also feed calcium acetate in the drinking water. We wet the corn and let it sit for some hours. The purpose for wetting the corn is to make it more tasty to the hens and to allow the crushed limestone to stick to the corn bits. For every two scoops of corn, I add three cups of crushed limestone and two cups of granite grit. Here in the winter the ground is covered with snow so the birds can't get any grit naturally.

P.S. Brett, do you sell any eggs online from your eggsite? I've been thinking of doing that as well. Including export, but that will require my getting an export license.

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#65902 - 03/08/04 01:41 PM Re: Shell Grit - for gizzard or shells?
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
Seems to be a problem with the distinction between Shell and Grit. They are not the same. Shell is just that, usually marketed crushed shell of bivalves. (Oysters are the commonest). Grit is ground rock--Granite is the hardest, best, as it is longer lasting. Sandstone, and limestones are soft and require renewal in the gizzard more often. All Grit, eventually is ground up by itself and must be replaced. Those of you who have Ringnecks about, will see them along the roads, selecting rock (Grit), which is necessary for them to process hard seeds and grain that they glean, the same as for chickens. Grit is ground for sale in different sizes. Large, med, or baby grit, for chickens of different sizes or ages. A baby chick does not have a gizzard large enough to hold the large Grit. They are better off not fed whole or cracked grains until they are a good size! (sand or baby grit is available for chicks, but Starter feed is all they need, and has finely ground Grit as an ingredient). Grit is necessary to process any whole or cracked grains and other crusty bits that chickens eat, even bits of glass or metal will be processed. Chickens eat all kinds of unmentionables, hard and soft!

Leee described the Shell use by chickens. CJR

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#65903 - 03/08/04 02:10 PM Re: Shell Grit - for gizzard or shells?
Anonymous
Unregistered


CJR, I don't believe much limestone gets to the gizzard, unless they are very large pieces. This is because calcium carbonate dissolves in acid solution and most of it, if not all, dissolves in the stomach.

The granite grit that we feed is very sharp. The birds seem to tolerate it well.

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#65904 - 03/08/04 06:21 PM Re: Shell Grit - for gizzard or shells?
Sally Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/15/03
Posts: 686
Loc: Florida
At our store we sell Oyster shell, gravel also listed as (calcium carbonate) and red pidgeon grit. I had a problem several years ago with one of my ducks gotng weird on me. He would flip over on his back as if his equalibrium was messed up. One of my customers had a young goose that had done that several weeks before and the vet told them it was lacking minerals!! Sooo...I put him in a small cage he wouldn't flip over in, mixed up several handfuls of feed with a handful of red minerals (horse minerals was all I had at the time) and a bowl of water. He gobbled it down as if he never ate before!! So now I feed all 3 options mixed together hoping they will pick and choose their needs. It all gets eaten eventually. I have peafowl, guinea, phesants, chickens, and ducks, some all together and no more incidenses. Is there any downfalls to feeding the red pidgeon grit to poultry or the others?
Their main diet (95%) is 20 to 30% gamebird pellets, depending on the season.
Sally
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sallyDIABLO

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