Grit – Soluble & Insoluble
Grit is best supplied in a small flat bottomed container with a drainage hole in the base, or a specially designed grit hopper. It is used to stimulate the appetite, develop the gizzard muscle, digest food, and mixed grit helps with the shell quality in laying birds. Flint chips act as the bird’s teeth and assist in breaking down the food in the gizzard and the oyster shell provides valuable calcium. Between 3 and 10 weeks of age the grit particles should be 2-3 mm.and 3-4mm after 10 weeks. 3-10 week old birds will consume approximately 3g per bird per week and after 10 weeks approximately 4-5g per bird per week.
It’s a common misconception, even among seasoned poultry keepers, that their hens don’t need extra grit, either because they are free range and find all the required grit outside, or because they are given crushed shells from the eggs they have laid to provide plenty of calcium. If the range is in clay or limestone soil, there may be a shortage of flint and in flint areas the pasture will contain less calcium.
For a hen to be kept in peak condition, it needs a healthy digestive system, and to produce an abundant supply of good quality eggs, it needs an adequate and constant supply of calcium. In either case, the hen needs grit.
There are two different kinds of grit and both play an important part in keeping your hens in healthy condition.