Poultry Grit: Essential for Healthy Chickens


Poultry grit is a crucial yet often overlooked component of raising healthy chickens. It plays a vital role in the digestive process of poultry, ensuring that they can properly break down and absorb the nutrients from their food. Understanding what poultry grit is, its types, and how to use it effectively can significantly impact the health and productivity of your flock.

What is Poultry Grit?

Poultry grit is a type of crushed stone or sand that chickens ingest to aid in the digestion of their food. Chickens lack teeth, so they rely on grit to grind up their food in their gizzards, a specialized muscular part of their stomach. This grinding process is essential for breaking down food particles, making nutrients more accessible for absorption.

Types of Poultry Grit

There are two main types of poultry grit: insoluble grit and soluble grit. Each type serves a different purpose and is beneficial to chickens in unique ways.

  1. Insoluble Grit: Also known as flint grit or granite grit, this type consists of small, hard stones. Insoluble grit remains in the gizzard, helping to grind down food particles. It is particularly important for chickens that are fed whole grains or free-range, as these diets include harder, less processed foods that require more mechanical digestion.
  2. Soluble Grit: This type of grit, often made from crushed oyster shells or limestone, serves a dual purpose. While it also aids in grinding food, soluble grit dissolves over time and provides a valuable source of calcium. Calcium is crucial for laying hens as it is necessary for the formation of strong eggshells. Including soluble grit in the diet of laying hens can help prevent issues like thin or brittle eggshells.

Importance of Poultry Grit

The inclusion of grit in a chicken’s diet is essential for several reasons:

Improved Digestion: Grit enables chickens to break down their food more effectively, leading to better digestion and nutrient absorption. Without grit, chickens may suffer from digestive issues, such as impacted crops or sour crops, which can be harmful and even fatal.

Enhanced Health: Proper digestion and nutrient absorption directly contribute to the overall health and productivity of the flock. Chickens with access to grit are more likely to grow well, lay consistently, and exhibit good feather and bone health.

Eggshell Quality: For laying hens, the calcium provided by soluble grit is vital for producing strong, healthy eggshells. Adequate calcium intake helps prevent problems such as egg binding and ensures the production of high-quality eggs.

How to Provide Poultry Grit

Providing poultry grit is straightforward. Here are some tips to ensure your flock has access to this important dietary component:

Separate Containers: Offer grit in separate containers rather than mixing it with their regular feed. This allows chickens to consume as much grit as they need without overconsumption.

Monitor Consumption: Observe your flock’s consumption of grit. While they typically self-regulate, a sudden increase or decrease in grit intake could indicate underlying health issues or dietary imbalances.

Free-Range Considerations: Free-range chickens often find natural sources of grit while foraging. However, it is still advisable to provide supplemental grit to ensure they are getting enough, especially if the natural environment lacks suitable grit materials.

Age-Specific Grit: For young chicks, provide smaller-sized grit that is appropriate for their size and developmental stage. As they grow, transition them to larger grit suited for adult chickens.


Poultry grit is an indispensable part of maintaining a healthy and productive flock. By understanding its types, benefits, and proper provision methods, chicken keepers can ensure their birds have the tools they need for effective digestion and overall well-being. Whether for improving nutrient absorption, enhancing eggshell quality, or supporting general health, incorporating poultry grit into your chickens’ diet is a simple yet highly effective practice.