Can I feed 7 to 10 weeks pullets some scratch????

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Omran, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    I have 20 young pullets 5 of them are 10 weeks old now and the others are hatched on sep 27th 2008.
    I am ofcourse still feeding them starter grower medicated, but I like to give them some treats, so my question is: can I let them have some scratch? and what other treats can I give them?

    Thank you all for your help.

  2. allisojo

    allisojo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2008
    Nuevo Mexico
    I bet the answer to this is no, and I think I've read on this forum that scratch at too young an age can cause diarrhea and/or other bowel or nutritional problems. Having said that, I have my ten and sixteen weeks in together, and they all get some scratch in the afternoon to help ward off the cold. They all seem to be doing just fine, but I've never been an absolutist when it comes to mature dates, and something might pop up in the next few weeks or down the line . . .
  3. Sure, at 8 weeks they are ready for a 50 50 mixture of scratch and starter. You do not even have to feed the medicated stuff anymore at this age. Really at 5 weeks, I have done this. The ones that eat the starter pick out the starter and the older ones pick out both.

    You can also start feeding game bird or grower at 8 weeks and you can mix in the poultry grain (scratch) along with it.

    I have thrown 8 week old RIRs into the main barn from the nursery and they got along just fine with the free range, the scratch and a little bit of starter to get them acclimated.

    What you have to watch for is a sudden change in the diet. poultry grain is a bit too harsh in one fell swoope. If you mix it up with the starter they will be fine. Remember a chicken has a gizzard and they need grain eventually to grind up thier food.

    This is why if you continue starter after 8 weeks the poop gets runny and they will start eating the shavings off the floor of thier pen and the feathers lost by the birds you have. Chicken will eat feathers even when they get older. They seem to need the material for thier gizzards. Guinea fowl are bad at eating shavings, but the seem to do O.k. as they are really a hardy animal.
  4. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2007
    sure they can have scratch -- just make sure you give them plenty of grit -- keep some in a dish at all times, or let them free range and pick up their own stones.

    Here's a little secret: I feed all my birds (day old chicks, 8 week olds, grown hens and roosters) the very same feed! It is a layer mixture of cracked grains and vitamins, etc. and the little ones just pic out the tiny bits, and the big ones just pick out the big bits. It's worked well for me for years. Mine do free-range all day though, so I'm sure they're balancing out their diet with other bits of food they find like bugs and seeds.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  5. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    Thank you very much for the info I think it will help me a lot.

  6. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    Quote:Do I need to crush the grits for them?
  7. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    You can also buy "chick scratch" which is ground to smaller pieces than regular scratch.

  8. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    I bought my chooks their first bag of scratch last month I believe. They're 16 weeks now. You should be fine.
  9. AngelzFyre

    AngelzFyre Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 18, 2007
    Pell City, Alabama
    The grit is already crushed when you buy it, it comes in various sizes depending on what you are feeding.
    The small chicks get "chick grit" and then the larger/older chickens get regular granite grit that's a bit bigger in size.
    If you free range your birds or have them in pens with small rocks and gravel available they will also pick up some of these to help them digest their food.
    Ask your feed store if they carry grit for your chickens or if they'll order it for you.
    When they hit laying age, make sure to keep crushed oyster shell or aragonite available for them also in a separate dish/container.

    I also give my younger chicks some cooked oatmeal and amaranth and will feed them yogurt and buttermilk as well. Those are a couple more treats to add to your list [​IMG].

    Good luck with your babies!
  10. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    OMG If I didn't offer scratch I think they'd tear down the door. In the afternoons as the temp drops hard I usually bring out some scratch. I also have been putting some in the feed.

    I have a few that absolutely fling themselves at me hollering for it when the temp goes below 35. Spoiled brats.

    Moderation. The combination with other good food stuffs, the presence of available grit from some source, and it's all good.

    I also used it to encourage them to explore the coop upwards as they matured out of the brooder. Higher shelves and the nest boxes all get some scratch on them to encourage the smaller chickens to settle into new areas.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by