What Do Chickens Use Grit For?

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

16 October 2014

Jungle fowl and silkie chickens eating shell grit in backyard coop

Ever seen your chicken’s pecking at small flecks of stone or rock on the ground, and wonder why on earth they have a craving for gravel? Or, perhaps you're not sure why it’s recommended that you feed your chicken’s grit, if they’re not free-ranging. Well, here’s the answers to all your poultry queries!

Why do chickens eat grit?

Grit is designed to help the chickens’ digestive system function well and break down the food as it should. The grit helps grind down the food in the gizzard, keeping their digestive system happy!

Shell grit also gives your chickens’ calcium levels a boost – something that is crucial to your flock’s bone strength and eggshell strength.

Should I feed my chicken’s grit, or can they find it themselves?

If you allow chickens to free-range, they should be able to find enough grit on the ground to peck at to satisfy their digestive system requirements.  However, adding shell grit/ground up egg shells to your chickens’ diet is a great way to keep their calcium levels up.

If you keep your chickens in a coop run or fenced enclosure, it is recommended you add grit to their diets as they may not be able to forage enough naturally.

You can buy grit from most pet stores, if you think your flock might need some added to their diet. Here’s some more information on why grit is so good, and also what to feed your flock, if you’re a newbie to the chicken keeping (and feeding) game!

Sources and further reading

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