Nutrena Laying Pellets > Nutrena Hen Scratch

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by australorp_breeder, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. australorp_breeder

    australorp_breeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 29, 2009
    California
    For the LONGEST time I was feeding my chickens Nutrena Hen Scratch with oyster shells added in whenever it was necessary. A lady told me that I should be feeding them Nutrena Laying Pellets instead because there's 16% protein in it instead of the scratch, which has 8%. I bought a 50lb bag of the pellets and I'm going to try it. I heard with more protein it will increase their egg production, production in general, give them a longer lifespan and it's better for them. I haven't tried feeding it to them yet, but the lady warned me they might not like it at first. She had also said that with the Hen Scratch chickens will have a shorter lifespan, and in the future they could get liver damage. I like the Nutrena brand and do not plan on changing their brand of feed, so they'll have to learn to like it. [​IMG]
     
  2. schmije

    schmije Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 25, 2008
    Peoria, IL
    Giving scratch to chickens is like giving candy to a kid. It won't hurt them, but you don't want that to be the only thing they eat. They'll be much healthier with the layer pellets as main feed and the scratch as a treat. And if they don't like it, they'll eventually get hungry and work it out. Just like a kid. [​IMG]
     
  3. FrizzlesRule

    FrizzlesRule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 22, 2009
    Should always give them laying feed. I mix it with scratch, bird seed, grit and oyster shell, so I know they are getting a complete diet.

    I do remember when my Silver Laced Polish quit laying at age 11, she would only eat scratch. She was mostly blind and ate very little except the scratch, lettuce and a few other goodies. She somehow lived to almost 14 years old.
     
  4. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    If your birds have not been eating pellets, and you introduce them past the point-of-lay, they may not recognize them as food. It is NOT like kids. They don't recognize food by taste. They recognize it by sight. They absolutely can starve themselves to death. The time to switch them to pellets is POL.

    I know this from experience and a conversation with my avian vet. I lost a girl to a calcium and protein imbalance after trying pellets that she wouldn't eat. By the time I had figured it out, she had stopped making eggshells, lost tons of weight, and died.

    If you are determined to not give in, and make them eat pellets, you can win the battle, but lose the war.

    To the OP, consider all this advice carefully. Watch your birds. Make sure they are eating. You might want to consider using layer crumbles if they don't seem to like the pellets. You might have to mix in some whole grains for awhile until they figure out that the layer feed is FOOD.
     
  5. Benelli

    Benelli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2009
    I have mine on Nutrena Layer Pellets. When I switched them over, I mixed the crumble feed with the pellets. They figured it out in no time. I give scratch as a treat every evening right now to help boost their body heat on these colder nights. No issues. They also love Purina "growing years" kitten food as a treat and big protien boost. They only get a handful per night for seven chickens though.
     
  6. australorp_breeder

    australorp_breeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 29, 2009
    California
    Quote:I gave them the pellets today to see if they would eat it or not and they all gobbled it up! I was surprised. The only ones I don't think ate it were my 3 month Ameraucana pullets. I'm sorry to hear about your hen... What are laying crumbles? Like, what do they consist of?

    And thank you everyone who has replied!
     
  7. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    Good to hear that they are eating. Keep an eye on it. Crumbles are the same formulation as pellets, but just crushed. All my birds stopped laying on pellets, but I only lost one. She must have been more prone.

    Your Ameraucanas are a little young to be on layer feed. use chick starter til point of lay. then switch.

    Good luck with the feed switch! I hope it goes well.
     
  8. australorp_breeder

    australorp_breeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 29, 2009
    California
    Thank you very much! And since Laying Pellets overall are healthier, apparently, then Hen Scratch, can my rooster eat it too? I'm just asking because I feed my chickens altogether.
     
  9. atlantachickenwhisperer

    atlantachickenwhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 2, 2009
    Atlanta
    Hey Backyard Poultry Buffs,

    Scratch should not total more than 10% of your chickens diet. To be honest, I only feed scratch in the winter months. I give it in the evenings to increase body temp. Even then, I only give limited amounts. You really should not have to give additional oyster shell if you are feedeing a quality layer feed. I only give extra oyster shell when I notice eggs breaking when I wash them.

    Chicken Whisperer
     
  10. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    It's best to offer oyster shell free-choice, even if you feed a quality feed. Your birds may not be eating it, or some may have a greater need than others. You can also feed back your birds' own shells. I save mine until I have a cookie-sheet-full of them, then bake them at 200F for 10 minutes. Then, I grind them in the blender until fine. I add them with the oyster shell in a separate feeder. I feed Layena Crumbles, and still have one bird whose shells are a bit fragile. I don't think she's absorbing nutrients as well as the others. So, I give the extra calcium sources.
     

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