Okay dumb question ! What is considered scratch?


11 Years
Oct 24, 2008
The South
I have heard some folks refer to scratch as just corn, and others refer to it as a mixture of corn and grains. So question is if you are not supposed to feed your chickens scratch in the summer because it overheats them, and some folks consider that corn. Then why do they mix corn in their everyday feed in the summer? I buy Purina's scratch is it okay to give to my chooks year round or should I not give them scratch or cracked corn at all in the summer?
Some folks is confusin' me!
Scratch (from the feedstores) is a mixture of corn, grains, etc. People often make their own scratch and put whatever they want in it - usually including corn.

Scratch (corn specifically) tends to help chickens produce body heat. Thus, it's great in the winter to help keep them warm but not good in the summer when you are trying to keep them cool. That's why most people completely stop giving any scratch in the summer. Others will continue to give it but only as an occasional treat. And, some people give it all year round. I only give it in the winter months to my flock. I give table food (vegies, fruits, etc.) as treats all year round.
Scratch is probably not regulated a far as nutrient content by any agency. From reading what others say about “scratch” here on BYC, it has become obvious to me that it varies wildly from one region to another.

I have just bought a second 25 pound bag of Purina scratch after going thru the first bag over the course of 6 months. For only 4 laying hens, that works out to be 1/2 ounce (or 2 tablespoons) that I was giving each hen, each day. I don't think anyone could call me a heavy user

I suspect that even Purina scratch varies from one side of the country to the other. My bag appears to have a lot of barley in it. I haven't heard anyone else say that.

Ol'FashionHen, you are right about corn in layer feeds - it usually makes up a good deal of the formula. But, that feed is regulated by the gov'ment, supposed to be a compete ration, and balanced with many other ingredients.

I use the cheapest birdseed I can find. I look at scratch as a treat. The feed I provide them meets their nutritional needs. The first thing they do is pick out all of the sunflower seeds. They eat the millet and milo last.
Being one of the rookies here, I didn't know about corn creating body heat. I've had my chickens about 2 years now and have fed them half scratch grains and half Layer Crumbles (both Country Lane from Orscheln's) as their daily feed. I haven't noticed any problems. I guess I'll have to change that. I am planning to grow some of my own feed to mix up for "scratch" this year. I plan on corn, milo and wheat or oats. Any suggestions on that? Thanks.
There has been a big debate here on this forum as well as others about corn producing body heat. I stay out of it for two reasons.

1. I dont know the answer
2. My chickens like it as their nightime snack regardless.

In short, its not to be considered what it takes for them to satisfy their dietary requirements.

(sorry about the spelling)

Mike D

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