Feeding Mostly Scratch??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by BawkBawkBeep, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. BawkBawkBeep

    BawkBawkBeep Hatching

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    I was curious if replacing my chicken feed with scratch would be ok. I am aware that scratch is lacking in protein, so if anyone could recommend a good source of it that would be helpful as well. I have Buff Orpingtons and Barred Rocks.
     
  2. MamaRoo

    MamaRoo Songster

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    I'm curious why you'd want to do that. You'll need to add a calcium source as well.
     
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Free Ranging

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    Scratch is unbalanced in more ways than just protein. It its high in fat, lacking in adequate calcium, and has an unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio. It is pretty much junk food. And not much less expensive than layer feed, especially when you consider the drop in egg production you can expect.
     
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    How was you planing on using it?

    You could mix it with a concentrate, like the ones Buckeye and Hubbard make.
    Basically you mix a fixed amount of Corn or in your case scratch with the Concentrate. The down fall is that both concentrates are a mash form.


    Chris
     
  5. The answer depends on what you expect from your birds. If you merely want to have chickens running around the yard without regard for egg production then feed them scratch. However, if you want them to thrive, produce eggs efficiently, and maintain their health you should feed a complete ration fortified with the appropriate amino acids, mineral, and vitamins.

    Jim
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Agree 100%, but why are you thinking of doing that? For some monetary savings? My layer pellets are $1 less than the Knockout Game Feed I use as my scratch, same price as lower quality regular scratch, so it would do me no good.

    With lowered production or any risk to overall health, you won't really be saving anything, especially if you have to add some protein to balance the high fat and carbs of corn scratch. I can see it being not a huge deal for very short periods of low egg production, as long as they aren't molting at that time, but not on a regular basis.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  7. BawkBawkBeep

    BawkBawkBeep Hatching

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    I am not concerned about egg production. I am raising these birds with a meat mentality, because I have so many birds that eggs aren't really a problem. I do have the ability to feed fresh veggies from my garden, and i am growing pumpkins and sunflowers for the chickens. Would any of that give me the supplements i need?
     
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    You wont get much meat off of "basic scratch" fed birds. You need protein to produce meat.

    Chris
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Agreed. I've seen birds raised on all or mostly scratch from chickhood. They are usually fairly scrawny and underdeveloped IMO. Had an occasion to see a cockerel raised like that which someone had purchased from me, after it was raised to about 7 weeks of age by me on 18% chick starter/grower. When compared to his brother I kept as my breeder rooster, I was shocked at how bad he looked. Mine was stocky and robust-looking. The other one raised on basic corn scratch looked sickly and thin, same age, raised on the same feed until 7 weeks, but at 16 weeks of age, there was no comparison. It was almost like he had stopped growing the day he left my place. Even I had a hard time believing it.

    So, yeah, for meat birds, scratch won't give you what you're wanting to achieve.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012

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