My Chickens Wont Eat Scratch????

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by sushicat2000, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. sushicat2000

    sushicat2000 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    People are always saying that their chickens LOVE scratch. I give mine some at night because it's winter and it makes them warmer by boosting their metabolism. When i sprinkle it around, the chickens just stay in their roosts. Also, if I give it to them for a treat, they don't get super excited over it, though they will eat it. Do they all just not have a taste for scratch??
     
  2. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You give it to them at night?

    Do you mean late in the day at sundown? Or actually at night? Forgive me for the confusion; I'm just trying to be able to give a helpful answer.

    Um. Well. At night, like after dark, my chickens wouldn't come down off the roost to eat anything.

    Some of my chickens won't come down off the roost to eat tasty treats if they have settled in for the night when the sun is still above the horizon. They just want the best spot on the roost or they like going to bed early. Goof balls. This is the first batch of chickens that likes to go to bed before the sun hits the horizon. I don't get it. Chickens are all so different and unpredictable ... just when I think I've got them figured out, they throw me for a loop.

    Some of my chickens will come down off the roost to eat sunflower seeds at dusk, but others won't. None of them would come down for barley.

    My chickens don't like my scratch mix (we make our own) unless I throw in corn and millet. So corn, millet, and sunflower seeds my chickens really like. They eat, but don't necessarily enjoy wheat, barley, and oats.

    My chickens didn't like some of this stuff until they saw it about 5 times. One of the chickens has to start liking the specific food product and then others will realize that it must be good to eat and then they join in. I had to soak sunflower seeds to make them soft before they would eat them, and eventually they got used to the color and shape and started eating the sunflower seeds dry. I used to sprinkled scratch on top of their regular feed to get them to realize that the scratch was actually good to eat.

    Whoops. I think I veered off topic a little.

    Like you said, maybe your chickens just may not have a taste for scratch (right now).

    1. Maybe try feeding the scratch a little earlier before they get on the roosts. Maybe?

    2. Maybe your chickens just don't like scratch all that much.

    3. Next week or next month could be different.

    4. The next batch of chickens you get may love scratch to death.

    5. Maybe some of the grain in the scratch is bad (rancid or otherwise, I don't want to imply anything bad about where you got the scratch, but maybe it's just a bad batch? Did it have an expiration date?) I am not recommending what follows! I just think it's a funny anecdote! I've read old, old books where they tell us to taste [​IMG] the stuff we're feeding our chickens because it's supposed to taste good. If it doesn't, then it's bad feed. That wouldn't work for me. Yuck.[​IMG] Blech. Besides some of the stuff in actual feed is not good for people. (poultry by-products, for example)
     
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't buy scratch anymore. They love the oats in it and will peck a few cracked corn then leave the rest to waste or attract vermin. I've tried it a few times with different flocks and the same thing. For winter treats we use black sunflower seed. Chickens love it and at over 30% fat is quick energy for those cold days. Other than that they get our kitchen scraps and old left overs when cleaning out the fridge. In the summer when I'm out of left overs I'll give them broken up pieces of wheat bread.
     
  4. sushicat2000

    sushicat2000 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 11, 2012
    Thanks so much for your help! Usually they go up early and settle town, so they wont come back down. I think they probably aren't used to it, because we just got the scratch, but I guess it could be bad...I hope not [​IMG] tht would be disgusting. Would they get sick from that?
     
  5. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, it's probably that they just aren't used to it. Give them a week or two. If after you've gone through most of the bag and then they suddenly won't eat it, maybe it's lost it's flavor or maybe it's bad. The chances of it being bad are pretty tiny unless there is a use-by date and it's past that date. Most feed sellers try to rotate and store their feed (and scratch) carefully because too much moisture and it can grow mold. However, most feed has special ingredients (I can't remember the proper term) that nullify the things like aflatoxins and mycotoxins and various molds, etc. Plus the grains and legumes all get tested for those things before the feed is made. They usually don't add anything to scratch. I personally wouldn't worry about it being bad because it sounds like they are just not used to it because it's something new.

    Side note for those reading along: I don't want to imply that a chicken can ever tell if a feed is bad. They will eat bad feed. Chickens are unpredictable and inconsistent.
     

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