1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

help - so confused over what to feed them

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by erindubb, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. erindubb

    erindubb Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Hi everyone. I have been scouring the message boards and site to figure out a few things. I thought it might just be easier to ask. [​IMG]

    I have four chickens...I am pretty sure the are about 14 weeks. Actually the two bantams are more like 11 weeks. I think.

    Anyway, I have been feeding them a medicated chick food that I got from the Farmers Co-op. Well, we just ran out of that yesterday and I didn't have time to go all the way back to the Co-op. So, I went to the Tractor Supply store. I wasn't sure what to get, so I got the Purina grow chick food. I turned all the bags over to try and figure out what the differences were between all the kinds of food. I was in the store with my three year old, one year old and baby.....so I couldn't really read for very long. Ahhh! Did I buy the right kind?

    How much protein is what they need? I do let them go out in the yard about an hour each day or a few hours every other day... to peck around. I can't let them free range all day. I have given them a bowl of grit in the coop. Is this all they need? Purina food and grit? I do give them lots of treats - like every other day.....especially in this weather...I share our fruit and veggies with them. So far tomatoes, grapes and watermelon are the favorites.

    What is scratch? When do I give it? How do I give it?

    I just need some advice. Thanks guys.

  2. Smoky73

    Smoky73 Lyon Master

    Feb 8, 2007
    I would go with a grower food, what did you buy a flock raiser or purina start and grow? Any kind of grower/developer is what you want, I THINK it should have around 18% protein, but I do not read the labels anymore so do not remember. Yep, all they really need is the feed and the grit, they do not NEED Scratch, its not food, its like candy for birds, and all the other stuff your giving them for treats are just fine.
  3. PhilErvin

    PhilErvin Songster

    Sep 11, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    If you are feeding the chick food they do not need the grit. If they are free ranging, even for a short time, daily then they will pick up any grit they need, otherwise they don't need grit when they are on the chick feed. [​IMG]
  4. erindubb

    erindubb Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Oh - thanks guys.
    So scratch is like candy? When can I give it them? I like candy! [​IMG] Where do I get it? Or can I just make it? What is it? I bought some Black Oiled Sunflower Seeds. When can I give that to them?
  5. Hillsvale

    Hillsvale Songster

    Oct 20, 2009
    Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
    scratch is cracked corn.... oh they love it but they really should just be given some sprinkled on the ground or on the litter in the coop... they will turn up the shavings for you!
  6. MakNugget

    MakNugget Songster

    May 31, 2010
    Portland, OR
    scratch is cracked corn....

    Not necessarily. I feed my girls a 3 grain organic scratch mix that does not contain corn. The store I get it from also offers a 5 grain scratch mix that has some corn in it.​
  7. Hillsvale

    Hillsvale Songster

    Oct 20, 2009
    Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
    Quote:Not necessarily. I feed my girls a 3 grain organic scratch mix that does not contain corn. The store I get it from also offers a 5 grain scratch mix that has some corn in it.

    I stand corrected

  8. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    BOSS (Black oil sunflower seeds) is far better for them as treats than "scratch" or cracked corn. More protein. And it really helps with their feather condition.

    I feed chick starter, medicated, for 8 weeks. Then I transistion them to any general purpose chicken feed, like Purina FlockRaiser, or a grower/finisher feed. (I'm partial to Nutrena brand feed, by NatureWise.) That's what I feed everybody (except chicks under 8 wks old) and I provide crushed oyster shell, free choice. (Keep it in an empty tuna can nailed to an inside wall of the coop, all the time.) The layers take it as they need it.

    I have a flock of many different breeds and ages, plus two ducks. I don't provide store-bought grit, because they get it in the run and when they free range. When they were chicks in the brooder, I would give them some construction sand (bought at Lowe's, cheap, 50# sack for under 7 bucks) when I gave them any treats. Now I use that construction sand for their dust bath areas. (Also have two low-sided cat litter pans with sand in them, tucked under the cover of the coops so there is something to play in even when it rains.)

    (I appear to be fixated on parentheses today, sorry.)
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  9. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    I never feed scratch. All the ones here are primarily corn, milo and a bit of wheat. I do give them a no-corn pigeon feed occasionally, and just bought a 20 lb bag of black oil sunflower seed.
  10. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    OK, on the Scratch.
    If you are using the cheaper 3 or 4 grain Scratch you will want to keep the amount of Scratch they eat to a lower amount.
    Now if you are using a better grain mix for a Scratch then you can use a little more.

    I use a all Grain Pigeon Feed as a Scratch Grain and it has a 14% Protein and I can get away with feeding more..
    I feel that is in not the Scratch that is bad it is the type of Scratch that is bad.
    If you feed a good quality Scratch there isn't much difference between it and a all grain chicken feed...

    For example here are three type of all grain pigeon feeds. The 14% feed is what I use with a little extra ingredients added.

    • Racing Pigeon - 21.5% Protein - NO CORN
    Contains: Canada Peas, Maple Peas, Safflower, Austrian Peas, Whole Wheat, White Kafir, Red Milo, Vetch.
    Crude Protein (min) 21.5% Crude Fat (min) 4.0% Crude Fiber (max) 8.0%

    • Breeder/Conditioner - 16% Protein - NO CORN
    Contains: Canada Peas, Red Milo, White Kafir, Maple Peas, Oat Groats, Austrian Peas, Whole Wheat, Safflower Seed, White Millet, Red Millet, Canary Seed, Vetch, Buckwheat, Rice.
    Crude Protein (min) 16.0% Crude Fat (min) 3.5% Crude Fiber (max) 8.0%

    • Maintenance - 14% Protein - W/Corn
    Contains: Canada Peas, Milo, Whole Wheat, Small Yellow Corn, Safflower Seed, Maple Peas, Flax, Brown Rice, Vetch, Buckwheat,
    Oat Groats.
    Crude Protein (min) 14.0% Crude Fat (min) 2.0% Crude Fiber (max) 9.0%


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by