Feeders or scatter?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Noodlynoo, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Noodlynoo

    Noodlynoo In the Brooder

    Jul 20, 2014
    Sorry if this is a stupid question, please bear with me!
    Everywhere I've read, their chickens seem to have feed available 24 hours a day in feeders. Is it best to feed this way? I've been going to them periodically during the day and scattering their feed so they scratch and search for it themselves.
    I was thinking this would avoid over eating, boredom and be more natural.

    Am I depriving my girls? :/
  2. Mah1Mah1

    Mah1Mah1 Chirping

    May 25, 2014
    Australia, NSW
    No you are not, I scatter feed for my girls too. Problem is sometimes they can't be stuffed to look for it themselves so I just put it in the feeder as well [​IMG]
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    I keep the layer feed in a feeder, it stays clean and dry and they eat what they need and never run out. If I scattered it they won't clean it all up because it's not interesting enough for them to search out all of it, it will attract birds and rodents and get wet/moldy in winter. If I only put out enough that they clean it all up right away then they may not get enough throughout the day and it's a hassle for me. So a feeder is the easy answer to all of that. Scratch grains I scatter feed but I just toss out a couple handfuls of that in the morning and it is all cleaned up very quickly.
  4. Joules Newton

    Joules Newton In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2014
    I love the feeder I made myself. I got all the parts at dollar tree for $3.50. [​IMG][/IMG][/IMG]
  5. Joules Newton

    Joules Newton In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2014
  6. Joules Newton

    Joules Newton In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2014
  7. crazyfeathers

    crazyfeathers Songster

    Aug 24, 2013
    Auburndale, Wi
    I also use feeders and scatter. I scatter because I have ducks. Most of my flock flies out of the run and free ranges and come back in when they have had their fill so I don't worry about boredom. If it is going to rain or the ground is wet I don't scatter, it's not only a waste but I don't want my chickens eating soggy feed. If I am not on my game and forget to put the lid on the barrel of feed the girls just help themselves LOL. Good luck.
  8. tridentk9

    tridentk9 Songster

    May 2, 2014
    One of the old chicken breeding books recommended scattering grains in straw as the second evening meal (a light meal in am and pm, then grains as a last meal). That way the chickens had to search for their food, stayed well muscled by scratching through straw, reduced risk of fatty liver disease, went to bed tired, laid more eggs (exercised hens laid better), and were entertained. On the negative side, the author did admit that the grains could get wet or covered with feces, neither good for them.

    Using the positives and trying to eliminate the negatives- IF you used straw inside their coop and IF you had a poop board under roost, that might be an option. Or, I wonder if you could make something similar to a sand box with straw. Hmmm. As others have said, grains would work better than pellets or crumble.
  9. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    I offer free choice mash, and in the pine shavings I throw a handful of 'scratch' in the evenings. This gets the birds searching and 'scratching' for the grains in the scratch mix. The birds should do a little work round the place, and turning the bedding, or litter is a perfect job for them. I do believe it helps with boredom as has been noted. But scratch is not a complete ration. As such it needs be a treat more so that a feed. I believe that chickens should have feed and water available to the during all of the dawn to dusk hours.

    Best to all and your birds,

  10. B-Goock

    B-Goock Chirping

    Jun 8, 2013
    southern indiana
    For my 16 gals I use a 10lb feeder in the coop and a 7lb feeder in the roofed part of the run, both are layer feed and 24/7 access for them.
    I do throw some scratch grains in the runs. I just spread out a couple hand fulls here and there so they keep busy. Usually in the evenings after they have laid eggs. The run litter is mostly grass clippings and straw so they have to scratch around to find it. As long as I throw it out there with hours for them to search not much gets wasted. If it's raining I only throw it under the roofed part of the run.
    I made the mistake of mixing in the scratch feed with the layer feed and they throw the layer feed everywhere just to get to the scratch. Almost as bad as mixing candy in cereal for a 6 yr old expecting them to eat it all.

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