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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jjcuna, May 19, 2015.
Can you clarify your question? Are you asking how much and how often on the scratch or how much on scratch and how often to feed in general?
Scratch, or any treat, should be just that - a treat. You don't want treats to comprise any more than 10% of your birds' overall intake because you want the bulk of their diet to be nutritionally appropriate feed. I don't have a set schedule for feeding treats - they get the "chicken bucket" (kitchen scraps) ever 2-3 days as it becomes filled and needs to go out and I use scratch as a lure/reward to get them back into the run when they have been let out to range and/or as a little treat on days when they are not able to go out and range so they can have something different to do in scratching and pecking for scratch in the run. Treats comprise well under that 10% limit for the diet of our flock.
I free feed the base diet (I use Flock Raiser) - it is available to them 24/7 to be eaten in as much quantity and as often as they wish.
You answered my question thoroughly. I am new to keeping chickens and was told to keep scratch in the coop. I was wandering if that were true and what was a good food for daily nutrition.
Keeping scratch in the coop would be like keeping a full candy dish in a kids room, not a good idea. Think of scratch as "chicken candy" and feed it accordingly and you'll be fine.
This answer is incorrect in many ways.
There are many types of "scratch grain" and they can range in nutrition.
Remember "scratch grain" can be simple and consist of a single grain or be more complex and contain 15+ grains. The main purpose of all types of "scratch grains" is to encourage scratching of the ground and add extra energy to the birds diet.
Depending on the main feed your feeding, yes you should limit there scratch intake but scratch should never be compared to candy....
My local feed store offers either layer pellets or "scratch". My grandmother and great uncle have had chickens most of their lives and only feed scratch and table scraps with great success over decades.She bakes the old shells crumbles them and adds to table scraps for calcium. Im not sure if i am wasting my money on the layer pellets
The reason grandma and grandpa did it that way is because they didn't have the option. We have balanced feed best suited to chicken development available to us. You are not wasting your money, It is unlikely your chickens will ever aet Methione from free ranging or scratch and it is essential to survival and in every complete feed in the market. Laying eggs is an extraordinary biological feat that place tremendous demands on hens. To give them bird seed and table scraps isn't going to cut it. I've seen chicken feed for $10 a 50# bag. or 20 cents per pound. I'm not sure how that can be waste of money or how much easier someone can get off buying scratch grain.