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Chicks and Oyster Shell

(Zone 5a)

We got a dozen day-old Rhode Island Red chicks on Monday. They've been doing well in spite of our inexperience. But it seems like anything else, you will find conflicting info. Drives me nuts. Firstly, we read, no oyster shell except for laying hens. Then the place we got our feed from says to give grit and oyster shell regardless of stage of life. I talked to the owner who said the same thing.

Today, I was searching about something else and ran into a website that says this is a big no-no. What is right?

Thank you for any insight.

Richmond, TX

The chicks don't need either one if they are eating commercial chick starter crumbles. Grit is to help them process hard foods like grain and seeds. Oyster shell is a source of calcium which laying hens need to help them build egg shells. One thing that chicks love is grass pulled up and offered roots, dirt and all. It provides some grit and will prevent pasty butt. Offer oyster shell when they are adults and are eating layer rations (which are also high in calcium). Grit still won't be needed if they free range and find their own.

(Zone 5a)

Thank you for your response. It's not crumbles, but an organic starter feed. It has ground corn, soybean meal, wheat mids and a long list of nutrients. We'll try the grass with roots and dirt. We've got plenty of that especially with all the grass pulling I do around my plant babies. :)

I think one recommendation is to let them outside a little bit at about two weeks, if the weather is good. They are inside right now. Our plan is to use a "tractor" like thing my son built and move it around every day or so. We have people over who own those large chicken buildings and this way we can keep the chickens in areas where the others won't walk in.

Here's the little bunch while the brooding area was being cleaned.

Thumbnail by Chillybean
Richmond, TX

Since the grains in their feed are ground the grit still won't be necessary.

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

Chicks need grit for their gizzards...but not oyster shell. Oyster shell/calcium..is only necessaty if they are pullets who have reached POL-point of lay. They will need the calcium to make egg shells.

Chicks....however..ALL chicks.....should get a good clump of dirt and grass from your yard. Best given with-in the first week. It will give them the good gut bacteria to help prevent pasty but.

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