CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Your Chickens today CLICK HERE

What’s the difference between oyster shell grit and flint grit?

PUBLISHED: 10:49 06 June 2011 | UPDATED: 09:14 21 March 2012

My feed shop sells both oyster shell grit and flint grit. What is the difference and which is the best for my chickens?

Sonia Jenkins, Chester

Laurance Beeken replies: Oyster shell ‘grit’ is small stones and mollusc shells (not just oyster) mixed, and is what most people will find in their pet shops. The oyster shell is a hangover from old practices of adding sea shells in for calcium content to improve egg shell quality. Chickens, fortunately, are not stupid and will pick out the bits they need, invariably the stones, to use in the crop for food grinding. If choosing this option, check that there are stones included in the mix as you may find all shell, which is not much use for the birds.

Flint grit is just a mixture of small stones which provides grinding material for the crop. If you, in any way, doubt the benefits of oyster shell, then go for this option. Free range birds will naturally pick up small stones as they forage so this is the alternative most suited to their natural habit.

You will find a degree of ‘grit snobbery’ exists in breeders and enthusiasts as each one has their preferred type, but my recommendation would always be for flint grit only as there is little evidence that shells improve egg shell quality.

More from Care and Advice

Friday, August 10, 2018

Electric fencing can provide valuable extra protection for your poultry

Read more
Friday, August 10, 2018

Coops across the land are set to become littered with feathers as chickens shed their overcoats. Julie Moore reveals how you can help your flock during this stressful period

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

If you have to move your flock, Julie Moore has some practical advice

Read more
August 2018
Monday, July 16, 2018

When prevention is better than cure

Read more
August 2018
Monday, July 16, 2018

The ebullient Rachel Misra runs a boarding service for chicken owners who jet off on holiday. Susie Kearley pays her a visit

Read more
August 2018
Friday, June 8, 2018

Julie Moore takes a look at how the pecking order is established

Read more
July 2018
Friday, June 8, 2018

Can I leave a hen in the nest box to hatch her eggs?

Read more
July 2018
Friday, June 8, 2018

Can a fox jump over the fence? Will my chickens be hurt?

Read more
July 2018
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

In our second extract from her book How To Speak Chicken, writer Melissa Caughey considers play, trauma and loss

Read more
June 2018
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

David Herbert, of Hermit Crab Egg, tells how he got back on his feet after his poultry were killed

Read more
June 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Your Chickens monthly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most Read

Don't Miss...


Chickens Stateside

Fresh Eggs Daily

Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook