My girls are absolutely crazy over this feed! I like that it is closer to what they would be eating in nature, and I plan on taking whatever powder is left in their bowls and mixing it in with some warm cooked oatmeal during the winter. I will also try fermenting. Thank you to EmeraldSkye to looking into this and posting Scratch and Peck's reply.
Scratch and Peck Feed - Page 2
It's been a while since I used S&P feed, but I never noticed much of a powder issue. After 2-3 bags of it, there would be several cups of the powder in the bottom of the treadle feeder, which I would mix with water or kefir and feed back to them which they gobbled down. But nothing like 1/2 of the bag like someone here mentioned.
As for fermenting it, S&P uses Fertrell Nutri-Balancer as the vitamin/mineral pre-mix. I wrote to one of the Fertrell Nutritionists and asked him about fermenting feed with Fertrell Nutribalancer in it. He said he would not recommend putting the Nutribalancer through the fermentation process. He did not say why. I do know that especially B vitamins will break down when they get wet, though I don't know how quickly. Fermentation can also create some B vitamins, but I don't know enough about all this to know if there is a loss or gain of vitamins via fermentation. Mind you, I love fermenting things generally.
Mind you, this would apply to any feed with a pre-mix, not just Fertrell's. I mentioned Fertrell only because I had communicated with the company about fermenting their product.
But yes, S&P if very good feed. It's been minimally processed, so the nutrients will be fresher. as soon as you start grinding up grains, they will start to degrade. I think generally most feeds (cracked/ground/pelleted/etc) should be used within 3 months of processing. Not sure on the shelf life of S&P, but I never had a bag of it that older than 6 weeks anyways.
My girls get a hopper full of organic layer pellets to eat free choose, but their main food is S&P. I mix up several scoops in the morning with enough warm water to hold the grains and the fines together. The hens wait anxiously for me to bring this out every morning. They eat the mash during the first part of the day, and if they get hungry later they reluctantly eat the layer pellets. I like using both because there are days when I might not be there in the morning to mix their mash, and I know they can eat the pellets. But they are incredible healthy on Scratch n Peck; they are shiny, active, and lay plenty of strong-shelled and beautifully orange-yolked eggs.
Just got my first shipment of Scratch and Peck Layer feed today, I put it in the feeder and my hens went nuts for it. As to how it will affect egg production, i will add to this over the next few weeks and give updates.
my first thoughts:
- The feed looks amazing, whole grain, looks like scratch, which they love
- there is a a bit of power, but i am told it is crucial and by design, i only noticed it because someone mentioned it
- it is a bit pricey,i got it for $30 a 40 lb bag (75¢ a pound) , or I could get a 50 lb (50¢ a pound) bag non-organic pellets at my local feed store for around $25. so its about a quarter more a day for me.
- i bought it in bulk, 240 lbs, i hope they like it, because its what they are going to eat for the foreseeable future.
- it is organic and non-gmo plus corn and soy free, is that important, that is up to you.
if you live in the midwest azurestandard.com is a good place to get it
also, slightly off subject, i got a little giant gravity feeder, and i love it, it was around $40, it seems to keep them from tossing feed everywhere like crazy chickens.
We finally went back to Scratch n Peck feed after nearly a year on a different feed. The other feed we used was cheaper and supposed to be "not sprayed with chemicals and pesticides". I finally called the company and asked the owner and his answer was "the farmers don't use any unnecessary chemicals". Well "unecessary" is WAY open to interpretation, which was not good enough for me and he was rather defensive about it, so I lost trust in the company. Otherwise, it was a good feed, but not as good as S&P. S&P is largely superior (in addition to being organic) due to the fact they use Fertrell fish meal, a high quality protein source.
Anyways, after having been off S&P for a while, I now notice (we get their grower) the feed is less powdery than it used to be. The powder was never much of an issue for us, as we wouldn't add more feed to their feeder until they cleaned all the powder up (hunger is a powerful motivator). But now, the powder is even less. My guess is they are now using an oil or some other type of binder to make the powdery stuff stick together better, because a see little clumps of stuff in the feed whereas there never was clumps before. I do notice that there seems to be more oil stains in the innermost paper bag layer than there has been in the past, adding to my hunches of additional vegetable oil. While this is a convenience for chicken owners, it does reduce the shelf life of the feed. Vegetable oils (unless preserved with toxic chemicals, which S&P doesn't use) go rancid very quickly in the presence of oxygen and heat. Well, there is plenty of oxygen in that paper bag and the heat of summer is here. Rancid oils are not good and can produce toxic byproducts. In all reality, the amount of rancid oil in any given bag of feed (S&P or otherwise) is probably pretty small and I trust their little livers can do the job of cleaning out the toxins of the rancid oils.
If you have several bags of that feed (or any feed), I would consider storing it in the coolest and driest location you can. At a minimum in the shade, out of direct sun and stored in a dry container. I know one farmer who stores their chicken feed in big chest freezers, with the freezers plugged in and nice a frosty inside. I think she stores over 1000lbs of feed this way. That would be ideal, but not practical for many folks.
So i am at about 5 weeks of using S&P now. I have 5 Rhode Island Reds (actually some kind of RIR hybrid i think) and they go through about 1 - 40lb bag a month. Which seems fine.
About the eggs:
I have been getting 1 egg a day from each chicken now, i used to get 4-5 a day, now its almost always 5 a day. The eggs are very consistent in shape and size now, and have strong shells. On my old feed i would get some weird shaped eggs and some times brittle shells. As far as taste goes, i can't tell any difference.
I really like the feed, but part of it is it looks very natural, not pellets. Also, it is organic and corn and soy free, I figure if i am going to spend the time and money raising my own chickens for eggs, its worth spending the extra money on organic. I am very happy with it and the ladies seem to enjoy it.
Hope this helps
I know this thread hasn't been responded to in a while. I just wanted to say I just switched my chickens over to Scratch and Peck (I ferment it) and they go absolutely nutty over it! I have been getting 1-2 eggs per day from my Chocolate Orpington, with a nice strong shell. I feel really good about this feed, soy free and corn free! It looks good enough for human consumption! (Okay, but don't do that!) LOL