Are you going to have new chicks and want to be prepare everything they need beforehand? If so, then you surely worried about their grit preparation. However, your concern is right as being a new owner of chicks it is necessary to prepare their food. But do chicks need grit? What if you are unable to find grit for your chicks? Can we find chick grit substitutes? Let’s explore this.
No doubt, grit is the essential part of a chickens’ food. You may say that chickens are unable to digest their food properly without grit. But is it the same for chicks? As chicks are unable to eat like chickens, so it is necessary to explore that do chicks need grit?
Do Chicks Really Need Grit?
Shortly saying, yes, chicks need the grit to digest their food. However, the reason is that chicks don’t have teeth for chewing their food. Not only do they have a weak beak but also they don’t know how to peck their food.
So they have to swallow whatever they get. And all their food is initially stored in the crop, under their neck, rather than moving straight to the stomach. The crop is that part of the chicks’ digestive system which stores all food of the day.
During the night the food moves in the digestive system for the further process. In which it has to be stay in the gizzard, (a stomach like part of the chickens) which breaks the food into small pieces.
And this is the place where chicks need grit, as they need it to break their food into small pieces. After that, the food goes into the small intestine where all the nutrients from food absorb into the body.
Do You Need to Give Your Chicks Grit?
As in the above discussion, we get an idea that grit is an important part to digest their food. Because the nutrients of the food absorb into the body only when it is broken into fine pieces. And this only happens with the presence of grit in chicks’ food.
So if you are going to be the owner of chicks then make sure that you have proper grit for them. As less grit in their food means that it is not going to break well and then your chicks become unable to get all nutrients.
However, if you are feeding them commercial food then you don’t have to feed them grit separately. The reason is that commercial foods contain grit and fulfilling their grit needs completely.
But if you are not feeding them commercial food then you have to give them grit for their proper digestion. However, let’s have a look that what is chick grit?
What Is the Chick Grit?
Grit is the small rocks that chickens have to swallow with their food. However, these rocks are not special ones, but any hard rock which is not digestible for chickens is grit. As grit helps in the digestion of food so it shouldn’t be digestible.
And the same rocks work as grit for chicks but in more small and fine pieces. The reason is that chicks are unable to swallow large pieces of rocks. However, you may say that the flakes of rocks are grit for chicks. And you have to feed them only when you are not offering them commercial food.
However, if the chicks live with their parents then their mother teaches them to swallow rocks. But if you are unable to get chicks grit then can you use chicks grit substitutes? If yes, then let’s explore their possible substitutes.
What We Can Use as Chicks Grit Substitutes?
However, chicks need grit that helps them to digest their food properly. If you are unable to get flakes of rocks for your chicks as their grit, then you can use grit substitutes. For example, you can use regular play sand as your chicks’ grit. As it is very fine so your chicks don’t feel any trouble swallowing it.
Moreover, you can buy commercially available grit for your chicks. Commercially available grit comes in two sizes so while buying make sure that you are getting very fine grit for chicks.
It is equally possible that you run out of both the above options of grit. However, we can use several other options for chicks’ grit. For example, you can use coarse sand, small flakes of stones, etc.
What Happens If Chicks Are Unable to Get Grit?
Grit is an essential part of chicks’ lives. As they become able to get full nutrients due to the proper quantity of grit in their food. Because grit helps them to break their food completely into fine pieces. After that their small intestine becomes able to absorb all the vitamins and minerals from food.
So if there is no grit in their food then they become unable to break their food properly and get nutrients from it. Getting an insufficient amount of nutrients makes them sick and in severe cases, it could be fatal for them.
Not only this, grit helps them to move their food from crop to digestive tract. But if there is no grit then it is possible that some portion of food stays in the crop and starts to ferment, which could be fatal for them.
A Final Thought:
Chickens need the grit to digest their food completely. As they cannot get all nutrients from their food if it does not break well, which is not possible in the absence of grit. However, many people get confused are chicks need grit? Or are there any chick grit substitutes available?
Then let me tell you that chicks equally need grit for their digestion of food but in a smaller size. And if you want a grit substitute then you can use regular play sand for it.