Why Do Pheasants Eat Gravel? (Explained)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

For one thing, birds and humans don’t eat the same things.

To survive, birds feed on insects, worms, grubs and other small animals.

When it comes to human nutrition, grains, fruits, vegetables and other protein sources are preferred.

Gravel is another strange food that birds eat. A look at why birds eat gravel in this article.

Gravel is important to pheasants because it aids in the grinding of food.

Even though they lack teeth and their digestive enzymes are incapable of digesting food on their own, gravel helps the pheasant digest its food and as a result, absorb it more efficiently.

Pheasants do not all eat gravel, only those who are unable to break down their food into small enough pieces.

What’s the importance of gravels to birds?

Why Do Pheasants Eat Gravel

1. Aids digestion

Gravel is used to breaking down food in the digestive tracts of birds because they lack teeth.

Their food will not be digested unless they eat gravel.

Note that some species do not require gravel because they can break down their food sufficiently before eating it.

Do pheasants need gravel?

Yes, they do. Pheasants love to walk around and after they do, they head to the roadside or other places where they can find grit (small pebbles or pieces of gravel that help the birds digest food).

Pheasants are hungry after gathering grit, and they want to fill their crops with food to keep them full.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on pheasants and molting

Do pheasants get grit naturally?

Yes, they do. Grit, in the form of microscopic stones, is ingested by pheasants naturally. Food is crushed up with all of its gritty contents in their gizzards as they move their gizzards.

What happens if you don’t give pheasants grit?

Some birds must eat gravel to break down the hard food they eat.

A lack of gravel in their digestive tracts could lead to internal scarring, blockages, and the inability to digest hard foods.

As a result of improper digestion, the bird will not be able to absorb the nutrition from the food, leading to malnourished birds.

Constipation, crop impaction, asphyxiation, and even death can result from blocked passages.

What other things can I use as grit for pheasants?

Gravel or grit for birds is not the only option. A grit and gravel-lined cage might cause bodily harm to some birds’ feet because of their delicate bodies.

There are some species of birds that don’t require gravel.

It should also be noted that birds do not solely depend on gravel as a source of calcium and digestive aid; instead of giving them gravel as a substitute, give them sand, coal, or shells.

Is it OK to feed pheasants eggshells?

It’s true. It is a good idea to include eggshells in your bird feeding program.

As well as serving as calcium for nesting females, crushed eggshells are also used as grit in the digestive process of seeds and insects by many different species.


Because birds do not have teeth, they rely on gravel to break down food in their digestive tracts.

Unless they eat gravel, their food will not be digested.

It should be noted that some species do not require gravel as they can break down food well enough before eating it.

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About the author

Chukay Alex

Chukay is a season writer and farmer who enjoys farming and growing plants in his backyard farm. When he is not farming you can find him at the nearest lawn tennis court, hitting a mean backhand down the line.


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