Confused about feed . . . Is scratch-mix a staple or just occasional?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by catw0man, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. catw0man

    catw0man Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 10, 2011
    Splendora, TX
    With so much info out there re: feed, I'm a bit confused. I've been feeding my chicks scratch-mix in a trough and laying crumble in a seperate feeder. They get this in the morning. In the afternoon, about 5-ish, I go out with what I call a "treat" for them. This is either cut-up tomatoes, lettuce, celery, cucumbers, etc. They seem to look forward to our afternoon get-togethers. I know I do. [​IMG]
    My ? is this: should I be providing some other kind of feed as a staple or is what I'm doing sufficient? My chicks are healthy, but no eggs yet. They are about 5-6 months old.
    Thanks for any advice.
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Layer feed either crumbles or pellets is a complete nutritional feed for your chickens. Nothing else is really needed.
    Of course we all like to give treats to our birds.
    Scratch, vegetables, fruits, kitchen scraps, BOSS, bird seed, catfood etc are all treats.

  3. myhubbycallsmechickeemama

    myhubbycallsmechickeemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2011
    Arco, ID
    I would give scratch as a treat but not in the summer. The corn tends to heat them up so it's great for winter exercise. JMHO [​IMG]
  4. sheila3935

    sheila3935 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    Stonington, illinois
    Only feed small amounts of the scratch. Around here we call it crack because they go nuts over it and if they had a steady supply would only eat that and not get enough nutrients. Treats should be no more than 10% of their diet.
  5. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    Scratch is like chocolate cookies. they love it so much they'll over eat it, and become both fat and mal-nourched. It's great leverage when training chickens, say what area you want them to be in. So think of it as a doggie biscut instead of dog chow.

    *Disclaimer it's late and 've taken my meds... see below.
  6. feliciamckee

    feliciamckee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    J Bro
    I have Jersey Giants and they LOVE to eat. The scratch is their favorite. I was like you at first, I was only giving them scratch but they free range so they get lots of grass and bugs also. When I did finally give them pellets...they wouldn't eat them...they kept waiting for their scratch. After a while, they realized they weren't going to get it as much and will reluctantly eat their pellets. I didn't realize I was spoiling them with the scratch![​IMG]
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Looking forward to the time that "corn heats the chickens" myth dies a death it deserves, but anyhow..... [​IMG]

    Since scratch is only 8% protein and does NOT have the vitamin/mineral and essential amino biology that in included commercial feed, the diet you are providing is very poor as compared to feeding only a proper commercial feed.

    Chicken have survived for centuries on much less, but if you want the optimum for your birds, you present regime isn't providing it.
  8. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps


    Corn does NOT heat up the chickens. That is an old wives tale that has no basis in fact.

    I recommend you use Scratch as a treat since is it made up of grains which provide energy. Feeding too much scratch or other treats will dulte the nutrition the birds get from their complete feed ration.

  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Lazy J and Fred - conserve your scratch myth frustrations for late Fall/'ll have LOTS more opportunity to vent then. You both made me laugh [​IMG]
    OP - really, scratch has very low nutrition value, so cut way back on it (a handful or two a day only), and focus on their nutritionally balanced feed.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
  10. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    First "Scratch Grain" will not heat up chickens!

    For the most part Scratch Grain is either a 3 or 4 grain mix that is low protein high energy mix meant to be pitched on the ground to encourage scratching and pecking at the ground.
    I will also say that all Scratch Grains are not created equal and some are far better than others a Cock Scratch or Pigeon Grain Mix are much higher in protein and "balanced" that a simple 3 or 4 grain that only contains Corn, Wheat and Milo or Corn, Wheat, Oats and Milo.


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