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Why feed chicken grit

on October 01, 2021

Why feed chicken grit

Have you got chickens and are wondering why feed chicken grit, then you have come to the right place to find the answers and there is no need to grit your teeth needed to find out all the information you need to know either!

So first of all….

Do chickens need grit?

Yes, Chickens need to be fed grit for digestion. As the old traditional saying goes ‘Rare as hen’s teeth’! A Chicken do not actually have any teeth! Nor do they have a stomach either.  So what do they have instead then? Chicken have a gizzard instead which is a muscle to grind down food digested.

Feeding chicken grit to chickens is important to enable them to extract all the goodness from their food that they eat. Otherwise without grit in a chickens diet they are going to struggle digesting most foods. Feeding your chicken poultry grit is a sure way for a happy digestive system!

The main two different types of poultry grit are:

  • Oystershell
  • Flint

To keep your chickens in good health, a mixture of soluble grit and insoluble grit should be used. You can find a good selection of grit in our online shop

So you maybe wondering what is the difference is between oystershell grit and flint grit and what is the best one to feed for my chickens.

Flint grit is an unsoluble grit finely ground up hard substance and used to aid digestion in chickens.

Oystershell grit is a soluble grit and a good source of calcium, as it dissolved and absorbed by the body store for later use for making good strong egg shells and strong bones.

eggsPhoto by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

If your free range chickens in their natural habitat they will naturally pick up some small stones as they forage. Chickens love spending time outdoors. However, depending on the ground they are on such as a grass then they may not get enough to digest their food. This is where giving chicken grit will ensure to promote a healthy flock.


Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash


When to introduce chicken grit? Baby chicks can be introduced to chicken grit usually from around two weeks old, after they move away from the baby chick starter food. We would recommend starting out with a specific chick grit such as Extra Select Chick Grit as this is smaller to get them started whilst they are young and will help them to develop a good gizzard. Before moving onto full size poultry grit .

When should I give my chicken grit?

Chicken grit should be offered to your chickens all year round, but is especially important during the summer months in the warm weather. During summer time, chickens tend to eat a little less and as such the balance of calcium maybe out of sync resulting in a thin shelled eggs. Providing oystershell grit to your chickens is how to make chicken eggs stronger!

Top tip! A sign that shouldn’t be missed is if you spot a chicken eating their own eggs as this is a sure sign that they simply do not have enough calcium in their diet. Feeding chicken grit should help to resolve missing out on those lovely fresh eggs!

How do I feed chicken grit?

The best place to feed chicken grit is from the ground or from a poultry grit feeder.

You can feed chicken grit by putting some in specific chicken grit feeder or if you haven’t got one of those, you could use something like an Extra Select Plastic Feeder on its own or pour a couple of scoops over your normal chicken feed. Perhaps if you feeling creative, you could always make a DIY one using an empty, clean recycled plastic bottle! The key thing is to offer some chicken grit to your chickens in their chicken coop or run.


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Something to keep an eye out for if you do choose to offer grit separately from the feed this allows for your chickens eat at different rates so this ensures they will get what they need.

The good thing is that chickens will only consume what they actually need, when they actually need it so its not something you can overfeed! So the only thing you will need to concern yourself is, making sure that you keep the chicken grit readily available. Even if they do not take the chicken grit, its there as and when they need it.

Have you got some chicken grit leftover are green fingered in the garden?

Chicken grit is good for the garden too as well as your chickens!


Photo by Melisa Hildt on Unsplash

Why use grit for gardening?

You use grit for gardening if you want to improve plant growth and better drainage to prevent root rot.  Adding oyster shell grit on the garden can improve:

  • soil structure
  • PH levels
  • Deterring those nasty pests
  • Providing all those essential nutrients for your plants to flourish and grow.

Plants like succulent love being planted with a mixture of poultry grit as they are part of the cactus family and need good drainage. This is why its great to mix chicken grit to use in your compost.


You should now know the reasons why your chickens need grit, giving your chickens a bit of bite (without the use of teeth!) is the digestion wizard that the gizzard needs to aid to ensure your chickens of all ages can easily digest food probably and a good boost of calcium chickens need for making a stronger egg. Plus you have the added bonus that grit can also be used in the garden to help boost some plants! 

We hope that you have found reading this article interesting. We also have other blog articles which you may be interested in such as feeding swan and duck so if you get a chance, check them out. If you have any more questions feel free to contact us today!.


Main image: Photo by shannon VanDenHeuvel on Unsplash

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