Confused by food/grit/scratch

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Cupcakes, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Cupcakes

    Cupcakes Hatching

    Aug 2, 2011
    My brother-in-law set us up with out coop and gave us a bag of 'layer pellets' and told us that that was all they needed and that we could feed them food scraps.

    I've read the list of foods that they can and can't eat and have been giving them a little of what they can have - yesterday I gave them my corn on the cob husk (left them some corn on it) and they loved it. The coop is on grass, which I am happy for them to eat as the coop can be moved every couple of days.

    What is grit? Can I buy it at a big petstore? Do I feed it from a bowl?
    Same with scratch - is it a mix I can buy and how best do I feed it to the chooks?

    Thanks in advance [​IMG]

  2. AZBootsie

    AZBootsie Songster

    Nov 10, 2010
    Congress, AZ
    My Coop
    Grit is a sand with little rocks in it. Chickens eat the rocks to grind food in their gizzard. They will find pebbles in the dirt. I haven't ever given mine any since they have a dirt run. Scratch is coarsly ground grains, seeds and corn. The chickens love it, like a candy to them. Good for treats. The layer pellets have the nutrients they need to stay healthy. So it should be the majority of their diet. Pellets, Grass and scraps are great and then just a little scratch for a treat. The scratch can raise their body temp, so probably best to avoid in hot weather. Good for winter. You may want to add some oyster shell also. Just offer a small dish and they will eat it when they need more calcium.

    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
  3. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Grit expressly for chickens is granite grit, but you may or may not need it. I get mine at the feed store, but places like TSC have it, although it is much smaller than the pullet grit I get at the mill.
  4. ChickenDayz

    ChickenDayz In the Brooder

    Aug 1, 2011
    Mine have Layers pellets in their feeder in the coop... they have a bowl of grit and oyster shell that I buy from a local farm stores (they only sell it mixed!) Sometimes I might chuck a cup of mixed grain on the grass as they love to scratch about and find it all... and if im feeling really generous I will chuck them some dried meal worms .... they love those! (bought from pet stores, garden centers etc)

    If I'm in the supermarket I sometimes get a pack of corn on the cob but I cut up the large corns (with a hatchet in the garden! lol) so that they don't bicker over who's got what... however they do run around checking out who has what and trying to eat each others... ;D

    As we haven't had an awful lot of rain of late and the grass is looking a little tired... I have been giving them a cabbage... mine seem to prefer the savoy cabbage but they currently have an ordinary white cabbage... I have cut it in half but only because I wanted to see what the 10 week old chicks would make of it.... they were not impressed! lol

    and I add organic cider vinegar to their drinking water every now and again as it helps to deter worms...

    Alex [​IMG]

  5. BrokenRoadFarm

    BrokenRoadFarm Chirping

    Jun 10, 2011
    North Central NC
    You didn't mention how old they don't want to feed layer formula unless they are old enough to lay. It can damage the liver or kidneys (can't remember which) of younger pullets....I do not give grit either - their run is sand over dirt. And since it has been so hot, they have dug down below the sand to get to the cooler dirt beneath. Mine are 20 weeks and I just switched them over to the layer crumble (mine prefer the crumble over the pellets). I also give them plain yogurt, cottage cheese, chunks of cantaloupe, grass clippings and such. I tried the cabbage and corn on the cob - you would have thought I threw grenades in there!! Avoided them like the plague [​IMG]
  6. mystang89

    mystang89 Songster

    Jul 12, 2011
    Just remember with scratch it is only a treat and not something that should be a regular thing. It isn't very nutritious and from what I've read can decrease egg laying. As a treat it is ok but I try not to mix it with the other food. I may a handful once every two days or so for my 5 hens just to make them happy. I used to use oyster shell grit alot just throwing it in there run but then I started to let them free range and don't use it as much.

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