Feeding and scratch question?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Peeps298, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Peeps298

    Peeps298 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    I am just starting out with a flock of egg layers. I keep their feeder full of layer pellets and provide them left overs from dinner (macaroni, veggies etc) and make plenty of fresh water available to them. I also have a small seperate feeder with oyster shell and grit available for them as well. Does everyone out there make scratch available to their flock? Should scratch only be fed in the winter time as I heard it raises the body heat of chickens? I was planning on tossing some scratch on the floor of their run so they could peck at it throughout the day when they are out in their run, does this sound reasonable?

    Ed
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ed, I like the advice from Oregon State University: "A general rule of thumb is to feed only as much scratch as the chickens can consume in about 20 minutes, or about 10 to 15 percent of their total daily food consumption. . . Table scraps and greens . . . The same rule applies here: the total supplementation of scratch and table scraps should be no more than can be cleaned up in about 20 minutes."

    Scratch doesn't raise body temperature altho' it is mostly just an energy food. I don't feed any during the hot summer months since it dilutes the protein in the hens' diets. During the cold weeks of winter, they can have more of these kinds of treats because they are eating more feed trying to stay warm. It is important that the total amount of balanced protein doesn't fall at any time of the year since so much of the eggs are made up of protein.

    So, if you want eggs - keep them on a diet with plenty of balanced protein but we are now getting to the time when a few "empty calories" can be useful.

    . . . my 2¢'s worth.

    Steve
     
  3. Peeps298

    Peeps298 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    digitS' :

    Ed, I like the advice from Oregon State University: "A general rule of thumb is to feed only as much scratch as the chickens can consume in about 20 minutes, or about 10 to 15 percent of their total daily food consumption. . . Table scraps and greens . . . The same rule applies here: the total supplementation of scratch and table scraps should be no more than can be cleaned up in about 20 minutes."

    Scratch doesn't raise body temperature altho' it is mostly just an energy food. I don't feed any during the hot summer months since it dilutes the protein in the hens' diets. During the cold weeks of winter, they can have more of these kinds of treats because they are eating more feed trying to stay warm. It is important that the total amount of balanced protein doesn't fall at any time of the year since so much of the eggs are made up of protein.

    So, if you want eggs - keep them on a diet with plenty of balanced protein but we are now getting to the time when a few "empty calories" can be useful.

    . . . my 2¢'s worth.

    Steve

    Thank you Steve [​IMG]
     
  4. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    The typical layer ration runs roughly about 16% protein which is what a hen needs to live and make eggs for you. If that is what you are feeding and you're supplying them with table scraps already I wouldn't bother with scratch. It won't serve any useful purpose for you. Maybe a handful per bird during severe cold spells, but otherwise no. Now if you are also free ranging for several hours a day or more a little scratch won't hurt anything since they'll likely be picking up additional protein from what they are foraging.

    If you are feeding a higher protein ration (18% or so) then half a handful of scratch per bird per day will give them something to do with their time scratching for it and not unbalance their diets. If it's even higher in protein such as Purina Flock Raiser (20% protein) you can put a feeder of scratch or whole grains out free choice and be just fine. At that protein level they'll eat 50-60% grain to the remained Flock Raiser and still get what they need for bodily maintenance and egg laying.
     
  5. Peeps298

    Peeps298 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    Thank you for the info. Maybe i will just throw a handful of layer pellets on the run floor for them to peck at along with the left overs and pass on the scratch.
     

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