Good chicken feed vs "scratch"

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Stephine, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi!

    Does anyone know the actual ingredients in factory produced chicken feed? I always read "scratch " is junk and feed is what they need, but when I have been able to find actual labels of feed it seems to be made of "scratch grains", mainly, and artificial vitamins and such. Most are mainly corn, then wheat middlongs and soy beans. That does not sound superior to corn, wheat and lentils or peas, sunflower seeds etc. The feed is processed which destroys some nutrients, that's why they have to add them in again. Other than it being higher in protein, I really don't understand how people can be down on corn and wheat in whole form, and yet feed the same thing ground, heated and pressed into pellets.
    I have a hard time believing that "scratch ", with some oil seeds, fresh greens, vegetable scraps and a variety of bugs wouldn't be far superior to processed feed.
    Does anyone know the details?
     
  2. Chickensfan

    Chickensfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Stephine.
    If you are not wanting to go with scratch, you can also use corn, barley, wheat or oats. I am going to assume that is what they mean when they say, "scratch grains." if you are still worried, you can ask a person who works at your local feed store. When my dear little free range flock used to be little chicks, I fed them medicated feed, so you can also go with that. But a little oil seeds, fresh greens, vegetable scraps and bugs does go a long way. You may just want to find what is right for your chicks. And I completely understand.
    I hope this helps~ Chickensfan.
     
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Scratch is mostly corn and wheat. It is not a nutritionally complete diet. It's lacking in protein by quite a bit. Most scratch blends are only about 8% protein content. Chickens require a bare minimum of about 15% for egg production. Veggies, seeds, greens, and a few bugs aren't going add enough protein.
    Feed is more than just corn, soy, wheat and a few supplements. It's a scientifically researched diet that is a complete, nutritionally balanced diet. Chickens require 13 different amino acids for proper health. And feed has all of the essential vitamins and minerals add in just the right ratios. Given the amount of research that is put into commercial feeds, it would be very difficult to replicate the kind of nutrition your birds get, for the same price.
    If you're not a fan of the big name brands, there are more organic/whole grain feeds coming into the market. Scratch and Peck Feeds produce an outstanding quality product, at fairly affordable prices.
     
  4. hamard

    hamard Out Of The Brooder

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    my pullets beg for the scratch. I am trying to cut back so they will eat more lay mash. they are just spoiled. It is time for them to lay but have not yet.Hoping to improve on the eating habit. All chicken have different personality They are very interaining.
     
  5. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! The feeds that I could find ingredient information for did have just that: corn, wheat middlings, soy and a Vitamin, Mineral mix. What I am saying is that people talk about corn and grains being junk food for chickens, but those are the main ingredients in those feeds.
    I will check out Scratch and Peck. I have some of their starter feed but right now am still making my own starter...
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    It's not necessarily junk, but grains, on their own, will not meet the nutrition requirements for optimum development and production. Corn and wheat provide the calories in feed, the soy is usually the primary protein source, and the rest fills in the nutritional gaps, in just the right ammounts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Just stop giving them the scratch they will get over it...


    They might be major components in the commercial feed but they are not the only component... It's all about a balanced diet and meeting the nutritional needs of the animal, corn alone or grains alone is considered 'junk because it's not nutritionally complete diet...

    For all intents a 'corn' or 'grain' only diet is junk to us as well, but that doesn't equate to corn or grains being bad for us as long as it's not our entire diet...

    Feed companies change their formulas based on seasonal prices and availability, that is why feed tags are used on the bags as they are filled vs printed on the bags... The feed you buy today might not be the same formula next week they tweak them to be balanced based on what they use...

    Here are two feed bag tags, about a year apart, I highlighted the differences, this is why feed companies don't generally advertise or list ingredients as they do change regionally, seasonally, by availability or based on market price of the raw ingredients...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
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  8. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, I understand now. So it would be more accurate to say if there is too much "scratch " in their diet, the chickens don't get enough protein. Like if we only ate vegetables. Nothing wrong with vegetables but eating mostly vegetables is not a good idea. That makes more sense...
     
  9. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Yes, too much of anything is bad... Chicken feed is a balanced diet as is, so technically when you feed them anything else it unbalances that diet, but in small amounts just like any 'junk' food it can be tolerated without any big problems...

    Most people like it keep 'treats' to 10% or less of the birds diet, your average standard sized layer will eat about 4oz of dry food a week or about 1.5 - 1.75 lbs of feed a week, thus if you are going to stick to the 10% rule that means about 3 oz of scratch a week or about 1/2 oz a day, or about (scratch grains weight will vary) 1.5 Tablespoons a day per bird... Since scratch grains are not empty foods you could go a little bit more and probably be fine but the more you give the more you mess up their balanced diet as they are eating that instead of the balanced feed...
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  10. Chickensfan

    Chickensfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:corn and grains is perfect food for them. Sometimes i feed them my table scraps. as a little treat, try feeding them watermelon. Edited by Staff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2016

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