Feed verses scratch - ever wonder?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kipper, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. kipper

    kipper Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've always wondered how much difference it would make is pullets were fed scratch instead of chick starter. Recently I had the opportunity to find out.

    We split and order of chicks with some friends this spring, this was their first experience with chickens. We kept all the chicks for a while, feeding them CHS chick starter. Eventually, they were ready for their chicks and took them home.

    We have the same breeds of birds. Last week, their daughter was over and saw our pullets. She mentioned that ours were much bigger than theirs. I said they may look bigger because we have ours in with some banties. She insisted ours were "way bigger".

    When her dad came to pick her up, we chatted and I mentioned we were starting to get eggs from ours. He was shocked, and wondered why his weren't laying. Apparently they were using only scratch because a friend suggested this and they are frugal. I suggested he switch to layer feed and explained why.

    I have never seen or heard of what happens to young birds fed exclusively scratch until now. Will this cause them long term harm? Will they "catch up" with their growth (they are now about 22 weeks)?
  2. crazeetxn

    crazeetxn Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 20, 2010
    West Texas
    Not an expert, but hopefully they'll recover when given the proper nutrients...

    Got our chickens from a friend who moved. 10 in all plus a roo. He told me to just go to the feed store and get some scratch. Ok, I did. Put it in the feed bucket and the mess began.

    Come to find out, it's supposed to be a treat and not a meal...thanks to BYC, they're now on layer feed and I can tell a big difference in their size, egg production, feather production and all around health.

    I'm really glad I switched over. Felt bad for just letting them eat scratch. Asked my buddy and he said yeah, but he would let his free range for half a day every day too. [​IMG] THAT would have been a good piece of info to have.

    Oh well, they're on track now...

  3. Boo-Boo's Mama

    Boo-Boo's Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

    One of my friends bought 4 hens that were suppose to be laying this past Spring. She emailed me and said the man who sold them to her said to feed them scratch. I told her scratch was just a treat...not intended for their only food and she really needed to get layer feed. Last time I talked to her only two were laying...the other two had never laid...this was months after she bought them.

    I tried to explain about the scratch but she said the guy she bought them from had a lot of chickens...I tried to get her to check BYC but she was not interested. I'm not sure if she is feeding scratch or what. If so, I feel sorry for the chickens.
  4. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    Well, I guess you can lead a lady to BYC but you can't make them learn.
  5. Liamm_1

    Liamm_1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    in many countries people can not afford to buy a special feed for their chickens, so they feed them corn and rice. They still produce eggs I guess. Interesting though, maybe the eggs have a lower nutritional value.
  6. faykokoWV

    faykokoWV Mrs Fancy Plants

    Nov 4, 2008
    Cross Lanes, WV
    Liam, I would guess that the people that can't afford special feed in those countries allow their chickens to free range. If they can free range they can get a lot of their nutrition from bugs, weeds, local plants etc.
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:Yep...I think THIS is the key to just about any folks who feed scratch as a primary supplement and still have fairly productive chickens....
  8. Moabite

    Moabite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2010
    I mix the scratch 50/50 with layer pellets and add a cup of oystershells and a few cups of BOSS to the feeder. I thought it was working fine. I do get the mess around the feeder, and egg production started out good but has dropped off since adding scratch. Or is it just the shrinking days? Could it be that the scratch is more desirable so they are pecking out the pellets to get more scratch?
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Moabite...egg production in general is down a bit due to the shrinking daylight hours (and for many molting hens). But your feeder mess is definitely a result of your birds digging for "the good stuff" down in the feed (the yucky stuff...lol). They're going to go for the scratch and boss WAYYYY before touching the actual feed... I'd cut way back on the scratch (and not mix it in) and offer the oyster shell in a totally separate dish. I'd offer the sunflower seeds separately too, although those are good if egg production is down (protein).
  10. Moabite

    Moabite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2010
    I guess that is why it is called "scratch" instead of "mixed seeds". [​IMG] Thanks for helping me to see the obvious.

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