Am I feeding too much scratch??

Toi-toi

Songster
9 Years
May 12, 2010
403
2
121
Central MA
I have 6 of 21weeks old SS.
I feed them 2xday with mid container full. You know that mid-size container when you buy salad from super market deli.
Normally when I put in the food in the morning, it will be gone by end of the day then I will add one more container full.

But getting cold here so I started feeding them chicken scratch.
I do a half of same container 2xday.
Now regular food is left a lot. Seems like they only eat a half of amount they used to.

Is that mean, I'm feeding too much of chicken scratch???
 

Olive Hill

Crowing
10 Years
Apr 19, 2009
4,203
135
253
In a word, yes.

Why don't you just put a feeder full of food out and keep it full for them? They will regulate their diet based on their appetite, which will change with their needs and the seasons.

Scratch is meant to be a treat, not a supplemental feed source.
 
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Higins00

Songster
11 Years
Nov 19, 2008
522
9
131
Ct
I leave layer pellets out so they can eat how ever much they want. During the winter I scatter the scratch when the pickings are bare to give them something to do. If I left them both they would eat more corn and because they won't get the protien they need they lay less. It's great to offer the scratch but just as a treat not a meal.
 

gryeyes

Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
15,506
432
358
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
Scratch is to chickens as crack cocaine is to people. Or M&Ms, in my case....
I never feed mine scratch - it has hardly any protein in it and will upset your flock's protein intake because they'd rather eat IT than their regular feed.

A handful for the whole flock would be enough, as a treat, only.

As I said, I don't give mine any scratch at all, but I do treat them with Black Oil Sunflower Seed (BOSS), hulls and all. It's a good source of protein and oils and is helpful in keeping feathers nice and shiny - also supports feather growth.
 
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Toi-toi

Songster
9 Years
May 12, 2010
403
2
121
Central MA
Reason why I don't fill up always full, because I read book said "feeder should be empty then fill it up".
Also the book said when weather get cold, should feed scratch so they can be warm....

I guess I was reading wrong...
 

woodmort

RIP 1938-2020
9 Years
Jul 6, 2010
3,524
978
301
First, yes you're feeding too much scratch even for midwinter. Second, as far as your chickens are concerned, it is not cold. I suspect your temperatures aren't any colder than we are here (been down in the upper 30's) and I wouldn't dream of feeding scratch yet and when I do I'll toss a couple of handfuls to my 40 birds. Wait until the temperatures fall in the low 20's or lower before considering them cold--even that isn't cold to SS. In midwinter scratch is a good source of corn and grain that helps build fat reserves and keep the birds warm--the opposite is true when the weather is warm, you don't want your birds to have too much so they overheat.
 

Cindy in PA

Crowing
13 Years
Jul 8, 2008
2,768
1,149
421
Fleetwood, PA
I feed scratch year round, not just in winter. Not true that scratch has no nutrition, it's the same grain found in chicken feed. It is true that scratch isn't high enough protein to sustain egglaying. My scratch has spelt, wheat, oats and cracked corn and is 9% protein. I think the rule of thumb is don't feed more than 10% scratch. My 15 chickens should eat about 5 lbs. of feed a day, so I should give them no more than a half pound of scratch. They also say no more than they can clean up in 10-20 minutes. I don't measure. Maybe just go easy until they start to eat their feed again. Hope this helps.
 

zippitydooda

Songster
9 Years
Apr 23, 2010
398
0
129
Ottawa, Ohio
Quote:
Ok, really dumb rookie question:

what IS scratch exactly? and where do you get it? I feed chick feed and am about to switch to layer crumbles (they are 19 weeks old). I have given them BOSS as a treat every so often. I also give them our leftover veggie scraps and they free range daily. How much feed should they be getting? I just keep the feeder full on a daily basis along with loads of fresh water. They don't seem hungry...
 

Cindy in PA

Crowing
13 Years
Jul 8, 2008
2,768
1,149
421
Fleetwood, PA
Quote:
Ok, really dumb rookie question:

what IS scratch exactly? and where do you get it? I feed chick feed and am about to switch to layer crumbles (they are 19 weeks old). I have given them BOSS as a treat every so often. I also give them our leftover veggie scraps and they free range daily. How much feed should they be getting? I just keep the feeder full on a daily basis along with loads of fresh water. They don't seem hungry...

Most "scratch" that is labeled as such is a 3-4 grain mix, usually with cracked corn. Normal around here is wheat, oats & cracked corn. Some has all the grains broken up. Mine has the spelt & oats crimped, the wheat whole & cracked corn. I have bought some that had a few sunflower seeds mixed in. It really depends on who makes it. Some call just corn scratch. The bottom line is that most stuff sold as "scratch" will normally be 8-9% protein, so much lower than the 16% required for layer feed. I have made scratch from 16% pigeon feed, so you can up the protein many ways, like by adding BOSS that is 15% or more. There are just so many variables when people mention "scratch". Some people give mixed bird feed conatining millet etc. Regular chicken scratch would be purchased at a feed store, mill or places like TSC.
 

MANNA-PRO

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