Modifying Amount of Scratch Grains in Winter ?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Zybos Rainbow, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. Zybos Rainbow

    Zybos Rainbow New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Dec 27, 2015
    Granite Falls, NC
    Is there a need to modify the amount of scratch grains fed during the winter months ?

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that scratch should be reduced during the Winter months, but it's unclear to me why?

    We feed Layer Crumbles and Pellets in feeders and a daily scattering of scratch when checking in to feed, water and gather eggs. Our girls also get cooked potato skins, old bread, pasta and any vegetable scraps. We keep bowls of both grit and oyster shells in each of our two pens. (One for Dixie Rainbows and One for Silkies) We also make starter crumble available to any younger chickens.

    Does this feed sound about right ? Our girls seem to be healthy and strong and our egg output has been outstanding and consistent regardless of the season.

    Many Thanks !

    Mr Zybo

    [​IMG]
     
  2. loujeany

    loujeany Out Of The Brooder

    47
    9
    26
    Jun 7, 2015
    It is my understanding that scratch grains in the winter are helpful to the chickens. It supposedly causes their bodies to warm while they are digesting the food. It is for that reason that many recommend feeding them scratch right before putting them to bed. It does not provide much if any nutritional value so it should be fed in moderation.

    disclaimer: I am not a vet though, I just play one on BYC
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    8,018
    2,639
    416
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    You don't need to increase the corn in cold weather, just continue to feed them as above. You could gradually switch them to an all-flock diet, with more oyster shell on the side, but with only laying hens, that's not necessary. Mary
     
    2 people like this.
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,669
    6,004
    496
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I have switched mine to an all flock, I like to feed scratch, my own mix of cracked corn, whole corn and black oil sunflower seeds, my hens molted quicker this year and have begun laying already, in the past years it would take longer, I attribute it to the higher protein in the ration as extras will lower all over protein of their diets.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,685
    9,171
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I use a 20% all flock also, with oyster shell on the side...that way I can adjust the protein levels with other foods I like to offer and whatever else is going on.
     
  6. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

    371
    64
    88
    Aug 7, 2015
    Nebraska
    My Coop
    Quote: I've also heard the contrary, too: more carbs in winter.....
     
  7. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,604
    573
    181
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts

    To say that scratch doesn't provide "much if any" nutritional value doesn't take into count the very many different kinds of scratch out there. Some scratch is little more than cracked corn. Some might have some other whole or cracked grains thrown in. The scratch I feed is a 5 grain scratch that is mostly whole grains (wheat, oats, barley, milo). (Whole grains retain more of their nutrients than their cracked or milled counterparts.) There is far less cracked corn in the scratch I use than in many other brands I've sampled. Additionally, I add a 5 pound bag of BOSS for every 25 pounds of my scratch. There is scratch out there that already has BOSS added to it. I'm not claiming that scratch is a complete feed, but to say that they don't have any nutritional value at all is to spread misconception. Look at any bag of feed and you'll see it is primarily corn, the major single component of most scratch. If it didn't have any nutritive value feed manufacturers wouldn't be using it. Is it complete? No. But no nutritive value? Not true.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. loujeany

    loujeany Out Of The Brooder

    47
    9
    26
    Jun 7, 2015
    I apologize if my statement caused any misconceptions about scratch. The question posed did not ask about scratch with BOSS added to it.The fact that BOSS needs to be added to scratch proves the point. Scratch is not a complete feed as mentioned by talkalittle. The milling process removes a great portion of nutrients. If you are looking for a scratch that has higher nutritional value then you need to find one with whole grains as talkalittle described.
     
  9. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,604
    573
    181
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts
    The BOSS doesn't need to be added to scratch. I just choose to do it. Some manufacturers choose to as well. Some don't. Both products would be called "scratch" though Even though they would have different nutrient profiles.

    My point is that all scratch is not created equal so it isn't accurate to make a blanket statement about the nutritive value of a product if you haven't first determined what's in the product.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,685
    9,171
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Scratch should have a label too...listing ingredients and nutrition levels.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by