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Why do some act like Chicken Scratch should be avoided like the plague - Page 2

post #11 of 55

I think it's interesting to observe the difference between how we feed our chickens today, and our opinions on chicken food safety issues, versus all the comments I've read that start out with, "My grandmother raised chickens..."

When I first brought home my chicks, I was terrified I'd do the wrong thing, feed them the wrong thing, or in the wrong way.  I spent hours poring over the posts here, getting the latest up-to-date information on what you should and shouldn't feed chickens.

After hearing all these "My grandmother..." accounts, I finally decided to relax.  It seems that historically, people fed chickens whatever they happened to have on hand.  It wasn't nearly as high tech and scientific as the precisely balanced protein levels in the sack of Nutrena I bought last week, but hey, it worked. 

One thing all the "My grandmother..." accounts have in common is variety.  Ranchhand's grandmother is a great example - her chickens were free-range, and I'm sure the scratch was a pretty small part of their diet.  Fed in small amounts, with a variety of other stuff and exercise provided, it's a fun treat.

2 Buff Orpingtons (Martha and Ethel), one Rhode Island Red (Harriet), one Black Sex Link (Dolly), hatched March 24, 2009.
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2 Buff Orpingtons (Martha and Ethel), one Rhode Island Red (Harriet), one Black Sex Link (Dolly), hatched March 24, 2009.
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post #12 of 55

Years ago when I had chickens, chicken scratch was all they sold and all we fed them.  They did free range so they got alot of natural stuff, but we hardly had any problems.

Wayne

post #13 of 55

I have been feeding all my flock the best i could buy
from chx starter to Purina Layena with  greens and yogurt as a treat.
  now after finding so many roos in my new hatch ,after 4 months
I want to try mixing in a little scratch with their pellets until I can
    rehome with them .
they are eating us out of house and home LoL

HeavenCan Wait, Livin in Paradise.
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HeavenCan Wait, Livin in Paradise.
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post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sissy 

I have been feeding all my flock the best i could buy
from chx starter to Purina Layena with  greens and yogurt as a treat.
  now after finding so many roos in my new hatch ,after 4 months
I want to try mixing in a little scratch with their pellets until I can
    rehome with them .
they are eating us out of house and home LoL


They are like teenage boys! I had 7 "extra" boys I was feeding til they went to Kamp Kold last week. I was going through feed like there was no tomorrow! Since they are no longer eating, my feed usage is WAY down. They were aprox 5 months old and I swear they ate like my 14 yr old does!!!!

There are no stupid questions, only stupid people
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There are no stupid questions, only stupid people
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post #15 of 55

Here is a good thread that explains the problem with scratch, how it should be used, and debunks the myth that corn overheats chickens in hot weather:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=186904&p=2

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

9 hatchery and mutt hens

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

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Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

9 hatchery and mutt hens

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

Reply
post #16 of 55

most commercial feeds  and even layer feed consist of the products in scratch along with some fillers and such. but basically cracked corn, sorghum(milo or milo maize as some call it), millet in some high end scratch grains, wheat, and sometimes other seed. anyways most use it as a distraction for the birds and while it has low protien value if you give your birds grit or free range them they can process the hard seeds. scratch is fine but dont overdo it. corn has a chemical in it that can inhibit growth laying.  and fertility. it also is highly fattening which also can inhibit laying. corn is not this way to just birds. corn meal and corn gluten are both effective as weed control because they affect the growth and fertility of most soft stem plants especially grass and aquatic plants.

post #17 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave3877 

most commercial feeds  and even layer feed consist of the products in scratch along with some fillers and such. but basically cracked corn, sorghum(milo or milo maize as some call it), millet in some high end scratch grains, wheat, and sometimes other seed. anyways most use it as a distraction for the birds and while it has low protien value if you give your birds grit or free range them they can process the hard seeds. scratch is fine but dont overdo it. corn has a chemical in it that can inhibit growth laying.  and fertility. it also is highly fattening which also can inhibit laying. corn is not this way to just birds. corn meal and corn gluten are both effective as weed control because they affect the growth and fertility of most soft stem plants especially grass and aquatic plants.


???

The whole point is that commercial feeds have a higher protein content than scratch.  There is plenty of documentation that insufficient protein leads to problems like pecking and cannibalism.

Scratch may be an adequate offering if the chickens get enough protein elsewhere.  I don't think that bugs and worms provide this with the minimal opportunity backyard flocks get, in the typical pen or tractor or run setup for small flocks that is often described here.

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

9 hatchery and mutt hens

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

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Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

9 hatchery and mutt hens

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

Reply
post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechagrue 

I think it's interesting to observe the difference between how we feed our chickens today, and our opinions on chicken food safety issues, versus all the comments I've read that start out with, "My grandmother raised chickens..."

When I first brought home my chicks, I was terrified I'd do the wrong thing, feed them the wrong thing, or in the wrong way.  I spent hours poring over the posts here, getting the latest up-to-date information on what you should and shouldn't feed chickens.

After hearing all these "My grandmother..." accounts, I finally decided to relax.  It seems that historically, people fed chickens whatever they happened to have on hand.  It wasn't nearly as high tech and scientific as the precisely balanced protein levels in the sack of Nutrena I bought last week, but hey, it worked. 

One thing all the "My grandmother..." accounts have in common is variety.  Ranchhand's grandmother is a great example - her chickens were free-range, and I'm sure the scratch was a pretty small part of their diet.  Fed in small amounts, with a variety of other stuff and exercise provided, it's a fun treat.


There are some valid points here.  Where I live, cracked corn is still sold at farms as "chicken feed."  But these people typically truly free range their flocks, and offer table scraps as well, so the chickens have at least some additional protein available.  Also, they typically put hens in the stew pot after two or three years. 

I have four free range hens.  They have layer or chick feed, grit, and oyster shell available 24/7, and I give them a couple of handfuls of scratch every day.  It takes them weeks and weeks to go through a 25 lb. bag of layer.  They get a little treat some days.  Oyster shell and grit sit there for months. 

Guess it's all about balance -- but I do think we need to ensure adequate protein intake, one way or another, if we want them healthy.

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

9 hatchery and mutt hens

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

Reply

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

9 hatchery and mutt hens

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

Reply
post #19 of 55

I have a big barrel in which I keep my feed.  I usually just feed laying mash but will occasionally throw a bag of scratch feed or just cracked corn in the mix for variety.  My chooks free range, so they get a pretty varied diet but I like to change it up for them...especially in the winter. 

I strongly suspicion that my layer mash is just scratch grains ground up more fine! wink   Laying mash is cheaper here than scratch, so scratch is purely just a treat/variety addition for my flock.

My granny fed shelled corn she had grown herself.  That's it.  Just corn on the cob which she shelled off each time she fed.  I loved to pop the top off her corn barrel and see all those golden cobs! 

I don't know about formulated feeds....I wouldn't feed them at all, as they seem to have animal proteins in them.  I don't like the idea of that. 

Folks exclaim that my eggs are the best they've ever eaten, so the mash and scratch must be doing the trick.  My hens layed well throughout the winter without lights and are laying well in the summer heat.  No fall off of egg production when I feed more scratch. 

I don't put much value in popular opinion but I do in actual results.  I say experiment around a little and see what works for your flock.  If scratch is cheaper and your flock seems to thrive on it, I wouldn't give a flying fling about what others say!   thumbsup

post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beekissed 

I have a big barrel in which I keep my feed.  I usually just feed laying mash but will occasionally throw a bag of scratch feed or just cracked corn in the mix for variety.  My chooks free range, so they get a pretty varied diet but I like to change it up for them...especially in the winter. 

I strongly suspicion that my layer mash is just scratch grains ground up more fine! wink   Laying mash is cheaper here than scratch, so scratch is purely just a treat/variety addition for my flock.

My granny fed shelled corn she had grown herself.  That's it.  Just corn on the cob which she shelled off each time she fed.  I loved to pop the top off her corn barrel and see all those golden cobs! 

I don't know about formulated feeds....I wouldn't feed them at all, as they seem to have animal proteins in them.  I don't like the idea of that. 

Folks exclaim that my eggs are the best they've ever eaten, so the mash and scratch must be doing the trick.  My hens layed well throughout the winter without lights and are laying well in the summer heat.  No fall off of egg production when I feed more scratch. 

I don't put much value in popular opinion but I do in actual results.  I say experiment around a little and see what works for your flock.  If scratch is cheaper and your flock seems to thrive on it, I wouldn't give a flying fling about what others say!   thumbsup


This is why I use the Purina Layena and SunFresh feeds -- they do not have the animal protein; the protein source in these feeds is from plants only.  smile    My chickens love it, it is more "thrifty" to feed, their poo is less smelly and less in volume, which tells me they're digesting more of it than the DuMor feed, and the Purina feed even smells fresher.


Edited by crtrlovr - 7/2/09 at 9:18pm
Momma loves her babies!  8 cats, 45 inside birds, 3 guineas,  RIRs, BRs,  BOs ,  Lorpie girls, Golden Comets, OEGB  BBreds, bantam frizzle cochins,  3 white Silkies, EEs, some silkie/cochin mixes, silkie/frizzles, ducks (3 white Pekins, 1 buff Saxony & 1 Silver Appleyard), and 1 Blue Slate turkey who thinks she's a chicken...   (did I miss anyone?...)  Nope!  Now let's all have pie. 
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Momma loves her babies!  8 cats, 45 inside birds, 3 guineas,  RIRs, BRs,  BOs ,  Lorpie girls, Golden Comets, OEGB  BBreds, bantam frizzle cochins,  3 white Silkies, EEs, some silkie/cochin mixes, silkie/frizzles, ducks (3 white Pekins, 1 buff Saxony & 1 Silver Appleyard), and 1 Blue Slate turkey who thinks she's a chicken...   (did I miss anyone?...)  Nope!  Now let's all have pie. 
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