Caged Bird Grits - All You Need to Know
If you are new to keeping caged birds then you may be wondering what grits are and why you need to feed them to your pets. After all, from a human perspective, eating grits sounds unpleasant and potentially dangerous! But then we don’t have birds’ digestive systems. Here’s everything you need to know about caged bird grits.
There are two types of grits which you can feed to your birds – soluble and insoluble
The soluble forms of grit include oyster shell, cuttlebone and gypsum. This material is dissolved by the birds’ stomach acids and so will not accumulate in their digestive tract. These caged bird grits serve as a valuable source of calcium and minerals.
This type of caged bird grits are generally various forms of silica including sand and pebbles. This material does remain in birds’ gizzards and can help to boost the mechanical breakdown of their natural diets.
The gizzard is a muscular portion of birds’ stomachs which grinds and crushes coarse foods such as the fibrous shells found around some seeds. These may not be removed by the beak before ingestion. The food is ground down in the gizzard into smaller particles which can be easily tackled by the digestive enzymes. Wild birds must eat whatever they can forage and so they may have to consume tough shells. This means that the . Doves and pigeons do not remove the husks from seeds and so also require the ingestion of grits. But caged birds can are usually fed pellets or seeds which can be easily hulled and so they may not require grits to aid their digestive system.
However, pet birds suffering from pancreatic disease or digestive problems can benefit from the addition of grit to their diets. If you have any concerns about your bird’s digestive health then you should seek assistance from a vet. Some birds, especially parrot species, can eat too much grit given the chance and this can cause an impaction (blockage) in their digestive tract.
Grits should never be placed on cage floors as they can become covered in droppings. Plates of insoluble grits should not be made continuously available as this could lead to over consumption. You should never provide grit which contains charcoal and this affects birds’ ability to absorb vitamins.
Soluble grits play an important role in pet bird nutrition but insoluble grits are often unnecessary and can prove problematic if consumed in large quantities. Provide your birds with soluble grits to ensure that they receive all of the vitamins and minerals that they need but seek veterinary advice before providing them with insoluble grits.