My chickens sure love scratch but...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mpmb1227, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. mpmb1227

    mpmb1227 Chirping

    Jan 28, 2015
    Stanwood, Washington
    I read feeding them scratch regularly can slow egg production, so I decided to only give them scratch as a treat, a change from about 1/2 cup of scratch with about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of layer crumbles. This is where I got confused. They stopped laying regularly after the cessation of the scratch with their breakfast. I am finding less eggs and at stranger times of day. With the scratch in their meal my layers all laid at least one egg by noon. Now they're not laying as much, and it's not until later that I am finding eggs (2 in the afternoon was my firt one today)
    Was the article I read incorrect about scratch interfering with egg productivity?
  2. LoveThemBirds

    LoveThemBirds Songster

    Feb 23, 2015
    Petting Buffy Like a Dog
    It could be the change in Feed.Scratch doesn't slow egg production down,it just makes your hens gain weight quickly.It also adds a funky smell to their droppings,and makes them have Loose Stool.It also can't do much for the health,as explained above.

    Scratch is a treat,and needs to be used Appropriately.People are turning it into much more.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Scratch should be no more than 10% of their ration. Your birds are probably holding out for the candy, and will get over it. They do have free choice oyster shell, right? And free choice layer feed available all the time, not rationed out. Mary
    1 person likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Depending on what your scratch is composed of, and what other feed you are providing, will dictate how much they should have each day. Not sure if you're mixing the scratch and feed together in the same feeder, but it's not a good idea to do so.

    They're are many different mixes of grain that are called scratch.
    All should be labeled with the ingredients and protein and other nutrition levels.

    IMO providing a balanced chicken feed available 24/7 is the best place to start, then depending on the protein and calcium levels of that feed you can offer other things to eat in a separate container, keeping in mind not to dilute their basic needed nutrients.

    I like to feed a 'flock raiser' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and all molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.
  5. mpmb1227

    mpmb1227 Chirping

    Jan 28, 2015
    Stanwood, Washington
    Thanks for all the info!
    I do feed them about 1 1/2 cups of organic non GMO layer feed in the morning when they are let out of the coop,and another cup at the end of the day when I put them back in their run after free ranging. They get a large portion of their diet by foraging for hours each day, and I feed close to the recommended daily amount of crumble. The scratch was typically 1/4 cup thrown in with their feed (i just toss it in their run to give them something for entertainment while they eat) and on occasion a small handful to get their attention while roaming the property. I haven't been giving them much lately and after a breif slowdown I got more eggs today than I have before.
  6. mpmb1227

    mpmb1227 Chirping

    Jan 28, 2015
    Stanwood, Washington
    Also, the scratch is mostly made of organic non GMO cracked corn and cracked wheat.

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