Mixing Scratch and Layer Feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Pine Roost, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Pine Roost

    Pine Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 16, 2012
    South Carolina
    I have some RIRs that are just getting cranked up good with laying and I have been feeding them a 3-grain scratch feed but want to switch them to laying pellets. Would it be ok to mix the pellets and the scratch, so that the get the nutrients needed to lay, but also get the corn and other grains to keep warm and plump in the winter? So my question is, should I mix scratch and layer feed. Thanks.
  2. salt and pepper

    salt and pepper Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't see any problem in doing
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    The problem with mixing the scratch in with the layer is they will look for the good bits in the mix and bill the other stuff around to find it. They will then eat all the good bits leave the other stuff sit until they have to eat it, that is if they haven't billed it out and worked it into the litter. They need the other stuff in the layer feed for good health. Chickens can maintain a good body weight on just layer. If you feel you need to give the scratch just spread the grains on the floor for them to "scratch" for.
    1 person likes this.
  4. MorgansManor

    MorgansManor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2012
    Southwest Arkansas
    I have found that my girls like the laying crumbles vs pellets. I mix sratch grain in with the laying crumbles in hanging feeders.
    The girls seem to waste less that way and I also only put out corn out in the coop. The coop has a wood floor that has a mixture of shavings/hay so that what they when they scratch through the corn it lands on the floor and ist later scratch up.
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I mix organic chick starter in with other grains and seeds as my feed. I only put out enough for two days generally and they eat the other things on the second day that they rejected the first day.

    Get yourself a deep dish oil pan or black fortex rubber pan to go under your feeder- set your feeder right inside it and the billing out is saved to be poured back into the feeder every day. They eat everything this way.

    I have found that they need more grains sometimes and more chick starter sometimes. If I notice they are craving something I increase it in the feed. Works well for my chickens.

    I feed rolled oats, rolled barley, split peas (Austrian peas right now but won't buy these again), black oil sun seeds, millet, wheat, and organic cracked corn. One third is organic chick starter. Oyster shell and grit. Kitchen scraps. Also grass every day.

    Keep your scratch limited (10% of feed is what I have read) if you are starting with a base of layer feed, since layer feed is usually 16% protein and chick starter is 20%. I feed unmedicated starter as it is high in protein...when I cut it with grains it doesn't lower the protein so much. Make sure you give oyster shell if using flock raiser (20% protein) or starter.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Laying hens need at least 16% protein which layer feed has. Scratch grains and corn only have 8%, but chickens love the taste. It does not keep them warmer in winter--that's a myth. I would just start feeding only the laying pellets or crumbles--they will eat it if they are hungry. You can give them an occasional scoop of scratch just as a treat. There are some great threads here on BYC such as "The Road less traveled..," "Chickens for 10-20 years," and "Fermented Feed..." that are full of great down to earth info for raising your chickens naturally without a lot of needless medications.
  7. salt and pepper

    salt and pepper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Not to disagree, but I wouldn't say it's a myth.they are high in fat, carbs, and calories, they are easily turned into energy, which then keeps them warm.
  8. Pine Roost

    Pine Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 16, 2012
    South Carolina
    Well I got impatient yesterday and went ahead and mixed the 2 bags....so either it will be some money wasted, or hopefully work with not much problem! I will find out soon! The feeding area is covered, so even if they pick through the pellets to get the scratch....they should eventually get the pellets before they go bad.
  9. Pine Roost

    Pine Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 16, 2012
    South Carolina
    Well, yall were right! They are successfully picking through the scratch and tossing out the laying pellets. Too bad I got carried away and mixed 1/2 bag of pellets and 1/2 bag of scratch! Well, it may waste some of it, but if they get hungry enough, I figure that they will scratch around and hopefully find the pellets that they scattered. In hindsight, laying mash would have been better if you are dead set on mixing feeds together...like I was.
    I know better for next time!
  10. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Most of the grains that are in a common scratch grain is quickly and easily digested and does little good if any at all at keeping them "warm".

    You would be far better off offering high fibrous foods that take longer to digest.


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