Does corn scratch really help maintain egg production?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 4urbanchicks, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. 4urbanchicks

    4urbanchicks Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 26, 2010
    My hens stopped laying during the winter and a friend of mine who has had chickens for 20 years said that I should be feeding them corn scratch to maintain laying during the winter. He said it is a "hot" food that they need in order to maintain egg laying through the winter. His hens are the same age as mine and didn't ever stop laying this winter. I started feeding them corn scratch daily three weeks ago, and this week they started laying again. However, they could have just started up again since the days are getting longer! They are all about 2 years old, so who knows what really got them started back laying!

    I know there are a lot of people out there with many years of experience, so I am interested in your thoughts on corn supplementation!
  2. peepmommy

    peepmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2012
    My hens stop in the winter time too. Unless you put lights on them, they will slow down or completely stop laying. No feed will change that!
  3. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    On the really cold days a little scratch feed in the morning can help them out with some extra calories which they'd otherwise have to get by consuming more protein than is needed from the complete layer ration you should be feeding. Otherwise the scratch isn't doing you any particular good and if overfed can be counter-productive.

    The fact that your birds are 2 years old probably had more effect than anything. They're beginning to slow down and there's not much to be done for it.
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I suppose it might be meaningful, but only if your feed is a low percentage of corn, by content, I suppose.

    The reality is this. The layer mash I buy is merely corn anyhow. Well, something akin to 80% corn anyhow. That is typical of most feeds. Corn is the likely the single largest item in chicken feed, of most any brand. To the ground corn base, the mills add soybeans to up the protein, other grains, fiber fillers, but most importantly the mineral/vitamin package. Good, balanced, rich nutrition is important. Frankly, corn, by itself is only in the range of 9% protein and is lacking in many other necessary nutrients.

    Point is? Simply adding even more corn to their already corn rich diet (which would, in effect, replaces a portion of their prepared feed) just isn't likely to make a whole whizz bang, big deal of difference. Shrug. There's no magic in it.
  5. AprilAWZ

    AprilAWZ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2007
    northeastern MN
    Another thing about corn - the whole "hot" thing really only applies to ruminants. Food ingested by ruminants will start to ferment in the rumen, one of the many "stomachs" you hear about in cows, goats and a few other animals. This helps the animal break down cellulosic foods like grasses and other tough, woody foods, but as a result of this bacterial action, heat is also released. Grains, especially corn, being relatively high in sugars, will produce more heat in a ruminant's gut. A chicken's digestive system just doesn't work this way. It simply doesn't hang out in the digestive tract long enough for it to start to ferment. The only heat provided would be from the chicken's own metabolism, fueled by the calories in the corn.
  6. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    I only use scratch (cracked corn) so the birds can build fat reserves for the cold. Egg production dropped about 50% but is now up to 90 95%.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by