Is this too much scratch ???


In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 10, 2009
I have ten hens (7 standard size and 3 bantams). They get free choice layer mash with oyster shell and grit. I give them about 1 cup of scratch a day. The scratch is wheat, barley, oats, little corn, wild bird seed, black sunflower seeds and fax seed all mixed together. They also get alot of table scraps with treats as in mealworms etc. Is this too much "other food" ?? or am I okay.

thanks so much in advance!
i throw a cup of a bird seed mix (has nuts and berries in it too) every morning in their run. i also give them greens and other veggies in a suet feeder. my chickens are run confined 23/7.
I try to keep scratch down to about 15% of total feed, but it sounds like you have a good variety in your scratch mix, so you might be able to go a bit higher.
It doesn't sound like that much scratch for 10 birds. I hope your kitchen scraps are good foods.

Scratch at 15% looks like a good rule of thumb but West Virginia University says that you can go quite a bit higher with a good quality scratch if the protein levels are 20% and above for the layer feed.

I would be reluctant to push it however. Protein isn't the only nutrient to drop off with increased scratch in the ration.

. . . my 2¢.

This is what West Virginia University says (copied and pasted):

If scratch grains are used, they should be fed in conjunction with a mash containing a higher level of protein than that required when an all-mash feed is used.
If a conventional MASH-SCRATCH SYSTEM is composed of 50 percent scratch grains, the mash should be 20 percent protein. If a greater portion of scratch grains is desirable, a higher protein mash is necessary. Whatever the ratio of mash to scratch, a minimum of 15 percent protein should be maintained.
That sounds just fine! Most "scratch" is mostly corn, and low in protein and some other nutrients, but that sounds like a good mix. Throw a few leaves over the top, and that will keep them busy all day.
I usually save my scratch for treats. During the day, if I'm out in the yard, I'll let them out to play. Then when I need to go back in, I'll ask them if they want a treat, and they all come running following me back to their run. They're such sweet little girls and Mr. Gray of course.
Great thanks!
I forgot that I also put in about 10% soymeal (fine crushed).

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