Fowls Grit.

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10 years 6 months ago #36125 by KaiapoiKen
Fowls Grit. was created by KaiapoiKen
How do I encourage the chooks to eat grit?. There has been a bowl of grit in their enclosure for some time and I am a bit doubtful they are getting any of it. At times their egg shells have been a bit on the soft side. They are in their 2nd year of laying, perhaps that is a factor. Any thoughts?

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10 years 6 months ago #472139 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Fowls Grit.
KK, they will eat it when they feel they need it! If you are feeding them a commercial layer feed they are probably getting enough calcium anyway.

If you force them to eat more than they need, e.g. by mixing it in with their scraps or in a wet mash they will over consume calcium, which will unbalance the calcium to phosphorous ratio in their blood, which is also likely to give poor egg shells!

Shells will tend to get thinner as the laying season progresses, the eggs get larger and the birds get older. There are a few disease conditions which can also cause poor, deformed or no shells, so at this stage I wouldn't worry if you only getting thinner shells from birds in their 2nd laying season.

Unless you are feeding lots of extras so they are not getting their full complement of 3 to 5gms of calcium rich limestone from the feed every day from a commercial feed then just having the shell grit there as an insurance is all they need.

If you are in a limestone area and they are able to pick up a few grains of limestone from the soil when they free range, or perhaps they get milk or cheese as well, then they may never touch the grit you supply.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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10 years 6 months ago #472140 by KaiapoiKen
Replied by KaiapoiKen on topic Fowls Grit.
Thanks Sue, that clears that up. They have a very large area to fossick in (like 400 sq.m) and should pick up extra from the soil. Pity I can't encourage the sparrows to eat grit rather than layer food. :D

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10 years 6 months ago #472156 by Tanya
Replied by Tanya on topic Fowls Grit.
I've been wondering about this too lately... I was leaving a small tray of oystershell out for the hens to help themselves but one bird was eating a huge amount each day!! Maybe she thought it was food??

So I no longer leave any out as their egg shells are well formed so must be getting enough from the P&L.

Now that the hens are mostly confinded to the run, should I provide them with some insoluble grit (stones or something) for their crops? What do others do?

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10 years 6 months ago #472161 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Fowls Grit.
If the run has a few stones in the soil they will find their own!

Just in case some are confused about the terms soluble and insoluble grit.

Insoluble grit, the road gravel sort, stays in their gizzard (not the crop) and helps grind up the whole grains. It gives them no minerals at all and stays there for months-so free range birds, even those in a dirt run, are usually able to find enough small stones.

Soluble grit, or high calcium sea shells of various sorts or egg shell or limestone chips dissolves in the gut and the calcium goes straight into the blood stream.

Birds are usually a good judge of when they need extra calcium, so birds laying lots of eggs without a break will need more calcium than those which lay only 2 or 3 consecutive eggs before having a day off. Remember if you feed extra scraps or birds get plenty of good free range, then they may not be eating a full complement of 100gms of Layer feed or more per day, so will eat more oyster shell grit or similar to make up for a shortage.
The amount of calcium in foods like P&L is intended for that to be the birds complete diet-so if they eat a quantity of other foods as well, like wheat, or household scraps, they may well need to eat far more shell grit to make up their daily quota.

Tanya, your shell grit over eater may have been eating more of the other food available and not as much P&L as the others, so was making up her calcium shortfall.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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