Homemade scratch question

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Freerange Chick, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. Freerange Chick

    Freerange Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 27, 2014
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    We are surrounded by corn fields and are allowed to pick up corn that is left in the fields after harvest. I'm hoping to use the corn to make scratch for winter. My plan so far is to use a wood chipper and use the whole corn cob. Any one else done this? Suggestions or warnings?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I would shell the corn first. The only animal I've had that ate the whole ear (cob and all) were cows. The horses and chickens only ate the seed.

    You can probably find a cheap hand sheller at an auction or flea market.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  3. Freerange Chick

    Freerange Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks... I'll look for one.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Leave the kernels on the cob. Torque ear partially as fed out leave majority on. Birds will peck the kernels of after the get the shelled stuff. It is not a race to eat all they can especially when they likely board out of their gourds during the winter. With birds on walks we simply went out with about 20 lbs of ear corn and put it in bushes or near base of a tree where birds had easy access to in a location protected from predators. We had setup so you could see from a distance if they needed more. When snow deep they could go for days consuming almost nothing but that corn.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Such a good point.
     
  6. Freerange Chick

    Freerange Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Holden, Missouri
    Thank you! Love this idea! Do you mean to leave the husk on and just twist it open for them to pull off to get to the corn? So much easier than what I was thinking of doing! Yea!!!
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    IMO, if you leave the husk on, they'll leave the whole thing alone. I'd remove the husk and then let them pick it. Or even grill it and then remove the husk to make it easier.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    You still shuck (remove "husk") to expose kernels. Even breaking or simply twisting ear next loosens some kernels making so birds can make a start going after the kernel still attached.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    The use of gleanings is a good idea. If I had my preference, then I would like to have sunflower and milo as well. No need to invest in shelling of any of them and store them elevated in a cool dry location. If practical, then use spilled grain as well so long as it has not gotten wet. Avoid soybeans for such use. Wheat works great as well. Another form of "scratch" can come in the form of quality hay offered during winter months when snow covers access to greenery. For me, these items are treated as energy and not included in calculations for meeting protein requirements.
     
  10. Freerange Chick

    Freerange Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 27, 2014
    Holden, Missouri
    I was thinking about sunflower and milo too. But wasn't sure if chickens could crack the outside of the sunflower or if they just ate the whole thing. This is my first flock and I want to be as resourceful as possible and use what is easily available to me. And of course have healthy happy chickens! I had read somewhere about using mixed bird seed as a treat for chickens. I found a bag of cracked corn with pumpkin and squash seeds in it called "Critter Cuisine". It was clearance out at Orchelins and was cheap so I thought I'd try it. Looking for area farmers to take their leftovers from fields too. Trade out some eggs even....
     

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