Is chicken scratch good for chickens? and How should I use it?

Annalyse

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I heard that cracked corn isn't good for the chickens or it doesn't help in any way so I've never used scratch. I have no clue what scratch even does for chickens. I hear some people give them to scratch at night to keep them warm others in the morning. How often should I use it? Is it like a treat?
 

21hens-incharge

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Scratch is a treat that in small amounts (a tablespoon or two per bird) spread wide encourages natural chicken behaviors like scratching. Scratching helps keep the nails trimmed and the chickens to busy to get nasty with each other.

I spread a small amount in the run each morning. It keeps mine busy looking for more even once they have found it all.

I do not give it in the evening.
 

humblehillsfarm

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Mar 27, 2020
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Scratch is a treat and no more than 1-2 tablespoons a day should be given to the chickens. Chickens treats are more for us than for chickens, but they are an excellent way to bond with your flock and train them. I throw scratch and shout "Chick chick chickens!" once a day and the girls come running. I do this to get a head count, enjoy the silliness of running birds, and keep them trained to come when I call. You can also use this to lure them back into a run if they were free ranging. I also like to sit on the ground and feed the girls from my hand. Leafy greens and lettuces can be fed basically as much as you want. Other treats, watermelon, squash, apples, etc, can be fed a little more than scratch, but are still a bit sweet and carb heavy, so moderation is needed with those treats too. If chickens are kept in a run, scratch and other treats are a good way to encourage natural chicken behaviors as well.
 

Annalyse

Songster
Mar 24, 2020
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New Jersey
Scratch is a treat that in small amounts (a tablespoon or two per bird) spread wide encourages natural chicken behaviors like scratching. Scratching helps keep the nails trimmed and the chickens to busy to get nasty with each other.

I spread a small amount in the run each morning. It keeps mine busy looking for more even once they have found it all.

I do not give it in the evening.
So it's okay for them to have a treat every morning? Mine turns 1 in March so there new layers. I've had glitches and messed up eggs before from too many treats.
 

humblehillsfarm

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Mar 27, 2020
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So it's okay for them to have a treat every morning? Mine turns 1 in March so there new layers. I've had glitches and messed up eggs before from too many treats.
Yes, in small amounts. Remember junk food for chickens is just as bad for chickens as junk food for humans is for humans. Treats dilute the complete nutrition they would receive from chicken feed.
 

21hens-incharge

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So it's okay for them to have a treat every morning? Mine turns 1 in March so there new layers. I've had glitches and messed up eggs before from too many treats.

Yes. Use tiny amounts of treats. If I have other goodies for them like cantaloupe rinds or fresh veggies they do not get scratch that day.

Moderation is key. They enjoy variety ad much as we do but we must only allow small amounts of low protein things.
 

Chookchicken

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Scratch is okay in little amounts. I personally prefer to give my chickens a wide variety of snacks every day like watermelon during summer and kale during winter, I also on rare occasions give them corn or grapes. I don’t give my chickens scratch anymore but they enjoyed it for a little while. To encourage them to dig you can hide meal worms around you’re yard or in you’re coop.
 

Chookchicken

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Scratch is okay in little amounts. I personally prefer to give my chickens a wide variety of snacks every day like watermelon during summer and kale during winter, I also on rare occasions give them corn or grapes. I don’t give my chickens scratch anymore but they enjoyed it for a little while. To encourage them to dig you can hide meal worms around you’re yard or in you’re coop.
I also have a really good feed that I give them everyday.
 

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