Do they need grit?

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QI am new to hen keep­ing and have been told I need to get my hens ar­ti­fi­cial poul­try grit. Why do hens need grit?

AChar­lotte Popescu says: Grit is needed be­cause it helps hens digest their food. Free range hens can pick this up from the soil but it is al­ways best to sup­ply ar­ti­fi­cial grit as well, just in case your hens don’t find enough lit­tle stones in the soil. Hens don’t have teeth and there­fore the grit which goes down through the stom­ach and sits in the giz­zard is used to grind up the grain when it ar­rives. So grit and grain com­bine in the giz­zard and even­tu­ally this mix­ture comes out as chicken pooh. Oc­ca­sion­ally I have seen whole grains of corn in chicken pooh which would in­di­cate a hen has not taken in enough grit. The grit can usu­ally be bought as a mix­ture which in­cludes oys­ter­shell; this is cal­cium needed for the pro­duc­tion of egg shells.

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