How much scratch?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Hholly, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all! I have 12 bantams and they have free access to all flock crumbles. I like to throw them some scratch in the morning and evening. I usually throw 6-7 handfulls around the run each time. Does this sound like too much? I don't want to take away from their nutrition. I was also going to add black sunflower seeds. About how much would be appropriate?

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That sounds like too much to me. For LF flocks of that size I usually only throw a handful or two.

    I caught myself doing it too often once and lost a good hen. When I opened her up she was loaded with fat. You couldn't even see the gizzard as it was encased in fat.
    The rest immediately went on a diet.

    Aside from that, it will displace too much of their complete feed.
    I assume they're not laying yet since they have all flock feed.

    I usually don't use scratch but make up my own with sunflower seed and oats in the summer. Sunflower, wheat and barley in winter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  3. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    Scratch contains a lot of corn that is not as nutritious as you would think. It fattens up the birds too much and a fat bird is not a healthy bird. Lighten up on the scratch. Use it as a treat - not a meal. Also, make sure you are providing grit so they can digest the corn. A handful or two in the morning to encourage scratching and foraging is adequate.
     
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  4. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok. Thanks y'all. I will be cutting back a bit. They have coarse sand in the coop, so they're good on grit. I had been throwing several handfulls since the boss hen always chases everybody off of any treat. So I try to spread things out. Nobody is too fat yet, but I will cut them back.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd cut back a lot. Coarse sand may not be large enough for grit. Adult birds need something closer to 5/16". Anything smaller won't lodge in the gizzard and will pass right through.
     
  6. MadamPoofyBrow

    MadamPoofyBrow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feed scratch all the time, but it's not the only thing they get. My birds are not fat at all, except my one old meat girl (Who we will not be eating, lol) they are slim and healthy. Not scrawny, but a healthy slim weight. They get a half a handful each a day, and the rest of their feed is that...what's it called? Nutritional pellet stuff...
     
  7. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, will do. My sand is river sand with lots of different sized pebbles. Everyone seems to have well digested poops from what I can tell.
    Thanks for the help!
     

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