How much scratch will I need? Do I really *need* to buy grit? DE?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by truebluexf, May 9, 2011.

  1. truebluexf

    truebluexf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2011
    I'm about to place a big food order with Countryside Organics, and I want to get their scratch too. My question is, how much do I need? How much will I be giving them? I have 5 chicks. [​IMG] Is 50lbs too much to have around? And do I really need grit? Isn't natural sand and dirt enough? I plan to order enough food for at least the next several months to make the delivery worth my while. [​IMG] Thanks!

    One more....DE...how much of that do I need around?
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  2. 2DogsFarm

    2DogsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW Indiana
    Scratch grains are generally just a treat food, not a steady diet.
    Your chicks need a feed formulated for them to grow on.
    Does the supplier offer a chick starter feed?

    Since it is an organic supplier then are your chicks medicated for Marek's disease and/or coccidiosis?

    http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/m/mareks_disease/intro.htm

    http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex4616

    50# is a lot of feed for 5 chicks - how old are they?
    My 6 hens & 1 rooster go through 50# of pelleted feed in about 3 weeks.
    But they are fullgrown - 5 hens are 2yrs & one hen & the rooster are 8mos

    Chick grit is finer grained for them, but coarser than sand and yes, they do need it to help digest things they will eat if you have them outside of a brooder.

    I don't use DE so can't help you there.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  3. truebluexf

    truebluexf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chicks are not newborns, sorry. 3 are about 8 weeks and outside, 2 are 3 weeks old and still inside. They are all on chick starter at the moment. I am trying to buy for several months to make the delivery charge the most cost effective. I can get a smaller bag of scratch, but if it will keep for a year, then it's more economical to get the smaller bag, kwim?
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:One bag of scratch is all I'd order for 5 chickens (for treats). It will go bad on you especially in the summer months if you let it sit around too much. It should last a while. I'd only give them a handful per day, thrown on the ground.

    Like 2DogsFarm said, they need a regular feed ration as well. Have you looked into organic chick starter and organic layer pellets? I buy them (although the pellets I just buy every once in awhile as treats since I mix my own feed).

    Grit is needed when giving treats or whole grains (or grazing on grass). Sand works for tiny chicks. Larger size grit is needed for larger chicks/chickens in order for them to get the nutrition out of their grains/treats.

    If you are only feeding a commercial feed ration with no treats, grit is not needed.

    If you are free ranging, they probably don't need grit if your soil is gravelly.
     
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:Oh sorry I didn't see your post as I was typing mine!

    Ok, so you have older ones.

    Since you only have 5 chicks, do you have some freezer space? You can put scratch in ziplock bags and freeze some. This would work for you if you have a HUGE freezer and want to save money on shipping scratch.

    Just an idea.

    I only like to keep cracked grains around for around 4 months at most. The whole grains store longer if kept cool and dry. I have had some nasty feed after it sat in my garage all summer. [​IMG]
     
  6. truebluexf

    truebluexf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, that's what I needed to know! [​IMG] I am ordering regular feed too, lol, my questions were just about the extra stuff. [​IMG] They get enough grit around the yard, I think, then. (Our freezer is likely to be filled with a side of beef in the fall, lol, so no scratch going in there!)
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  7. Wildflower_VA

    Wildflower_VA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Countryside has chick starter. The chick starter is GMO-free and soy-free. It is the same as their broiler feed, just ground up smaller. It also contains Icelandic Thorvin kelp and Fertrell Poultry Nutri-Balancer, so it is way more nutritious than TSC feeds in my opinion. I am in the camp of feeding un-medicated anyway, and my chicks raised on Countryside feed have done super, with no chick losses or sickness. Countryside feed is pricey, so I decided not to buy scratch. I consider scratch to be 'treat' food, so I feed other high quality treats and sometimes that is just the larger pieces of corn and field peas in the regular feed. I did buy a 50 lb. bag of grower grit from them for $6.50 and I use it, even though my chicks have been outside in a run and free-ranging for almost a month. I bought a 50 lb. bag of food grade DE, which I use for odor control, lice and mite control on their bedding and in their dust bath and as a natural wormer. The wormer that McMurray Hatchery is DE in a 2 lb. container, with a few flax seeds added, at the price of a 50 lb. bag from Countryside. Countryside feed contains flax seed, so it is not needed in the DE. I think a 50 lb. bag of DE is worth having around. I also use it in gardening.

    Countryside is local to me and I have bought all my organic gardening amendments from them since they opened. The owner used to live next door to me. At shipping costs and the high price of gas, I am astounded that people order 50 pound bags of anything and have it shipped. Countryside just moved into a new building about eight miles further away from me, and I think that is bad, but it boggles my mind that people pay to have it shipped. I will just count myself lucky that they are still within 20 miles of me, because in the last 6 months, I have bought over 500 pounds of poultry products and gardening amendments.
     
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
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    A bag of feed can stay fresh for about 3 months if it's properly stored (airtight container, away from moisture); after that, the nutritional value starts to decline.

    When we had five bantams, they went through a 50 lb bag in about three months, so that worked out fine. I store my feed in one of those Vittles Vaults, inside the house.

    I buy bird seed locally to use as scratch, and I also buy grit and oystershell locally. I don't see the point of paying to ship those things.

    I pay more in shipping to get my bag of Countryside Organics feed than the feed itself costs, but it's a better product than the organic feed that's available here locally, and the local organic feed costs $50 per bag even without shipping! And it's soy based and doesn't contain Fertrell's Nutritional Supplements, either.

    I am a confirmed fan of Countryside Organics. I just wish they would open up a distribution center out here in Texas!
     
  9. truebluexf

    truebluexf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL about the shipping. I'm planning to meet the delivery truck about an hour away, since it should be significantly cheaper. That's also why I plan to buy a lot at once. I plan to get 50lbs of chick grower, then a few bags of layer. I'm sold on the DE, especially once I read I could use it on the fire ants! We are already gving treats, so maybe we don't need scratch. I'd rather give them my fresh scraps, I think. I might go ahead and get a bag of BOSS though. I really, really like their ingredients list and practices. No soy. No GMO corn. These things are important to me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  10. Wildflower_VA

    Wildflower_VA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yeah, but we have the beautiful mountains up here. As much as I love the ocean, I love the mountains more. I lived at Va. Beach for a year one time, but I made trips back to the mountains at least once a month. I could drive the 200 miles in three hours flat--right to ocean front. Gas was a lot cheaper then. You could make the trip even quicker--getting to Hampton Roads is the easy part. When you go over Afton Mountain, you are about six or so miles from where the new Countryside store is located. But, then there is the problem with being tied down with chickens that need care more than once a day. Guess there won't be any trips to the beach in my summer! [​IMG]
     

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