Scratch and Peck Feeds

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Aleelupton, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. Aleelupton

    Aleelupton Songster

    239
    459
    146
    Jul 3, 2018
    Warren, Ohio
    After some research I was stuck between Hilands Naturals or Scratch and Peck feeds. For the first week of life my chicks have been getting Scratch and Peck Organic soy free chick starter, chick grit, and dried herbs. I wanted a feed that was minimally processed and organic.

    Is this a good food brand? Is Hilands a better brand?

    All opinions and experience welcome!
     
  2. Chad Oftedal

    Chad Oftedal Songster

    167
    281
    136
    Dec 29, 2017
    Woodinville, WA
    My Coop
    I've been using Scratch and Peck feeds for the last four months. I'm still on my first flock, so I don't have a lot of experience (i.e. over the years where I've tried multiple formulations) but mine have seemed really happy with it so far. I used the grit, chick starter, grubs, and grower so far. I only have one of my eight laying right now, so I'm still using the grower. The grower is 17% protein, the layer drops to 16%. I've seen others talk about 16% being the minimum, so Scratch and Peck is riding the cut line there if that is important to you or your flock. They are based out of Burlington, WA, which isn't real far from where I'm at. Consequently, a lot of the area stores carry their full line. It averages about $30 for a 40lb bag around here. Anyway, I sure can't complain, it's worked well so far, and knock on wood, all my girls seem quite happy, healthy and plenty of energy. I don't have any plans to change anytime soon. Hopefully others who have used it longer can chime in and give more perspective for you.

    Just as a side note, I have no idea if certain breeds of birds do better with different levels of protein, but you might want to mention the breeds you have in case that comes in to play at all. I have EE, PBR and RIR. My PBR has been the first to lay, and I'm supplementing the feed with free-feeding oyster shells since I am using grower and not layer.
     
    ButtonquailGirl14 and Aleelupton like this.
  3. Aleelupton

    Aleelupton Songster

    239
    459
    146
    Jul 3, 2018
    Warren, Ohio
    I have one of each of the following: Easter Egger, Blue Ameraucana, Olive Egger, Barred Plymouth Rock, Welsummer, Speckled Sussex, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, Blue Splash Maran, Lavender Orpington, Porcelain Belgian Bearded d'Uccle Bantam.
     
    Better Than Rubies likes this.
  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

    5,117
    8,758
    542
    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    Like Chad I've been using Scratch & Peck starter and grower as it's local to me and thus easy to find, plus I like that it's organic and minimally processed. I do recommended fermenting it as chickens will pick through it for their favorite bits and otherwise not eat the fines, which is both wasteful and nutritionally off balance, as some of the vitamins and minerals are in the fines.

    I don't have any experience with Hilands brand so hope someone else can weigh in on that.
     
    Aleelupton likes this.
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

    7,127
    8,633
    556
    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    The problem with minimally processed feeds like Scratch and Peck is as @rosemarythyme mentions, that chickens (some more than others) will bill it out and pick through it for their favourite bits, usually the high carbohydrate grains and sometimes leave the less attractive pulses which are higher in protein for rodents or lower ranking birds to clean up and often the fines which contain minerals, vitamins and essential amino acids are lost/wasted in the process. I'm not totally convinced that even fermenting it will ensure a balanced diet because the components swell in size when they are fermented and should therefore make it easier to pick out their favourite bits but assuming that @rosemarythyme has been using the product in such a way for many years without encountering health issues or sudden deaths in their flock, then I can only defer to his/her experience.

    There are a number of posts here on BYC about birds that have died suddenly from Fatty Liver Haemorrhagic Syndrome at 1+years old and it is strongly believed that such feeds, along with a genetic disposition, are responsible. Birds that are penned and therefore get limited exercise will also be more at risk with such a feed. Heavier birds like Orpingtons, Sussex, Brahmas etc will be more prone to Fatty liver Disease. The disease is common with pet birds too I am told like parrots that are kept caged and fed a mixed seed diet. The build up of fat in the abdomen can also lead to laying problems like prolapse and salpingitis and internal laying, all of which can be fatal. It can almost equate to feeding your chickens scratch each day.

    There is also much more waste with these type of feeds because the birds naturally want to rifle through it to find their favourite bits and they bill it out of the feeder to do so and scratch it around on the ground, as compared to a processed feed where it is homogenous and therefore no point in billing it out so they just eat it.

    I appreciate why you might want to feed one of these feeds but be aware that they are expensive, there can be a quite a bit of waste because of the instinct to bill it out to find their favourite bits, they may attract rodents due to the spillage and they may actually be less healthy for your chickens than a more processed feed. You have to remember that a natural diet is fine for a wild bird, but chickens usually roam over a limited area and their bodies have been selectively bred to produce an unnatural number of eggs. These factors make dietary requirements really important. Like a top level athlete their bodies are working at optimum production but like children, if you give them a free choice they will often eat the goodies and not get a balanced diet and feeds like this allow that. I would certainly urge you to at least soak or ferment if you are using these feeds.

    I encourage people to test my argument by placing some Scratch and Peck on a hard surface and watching which components they eat first and what is left when they are finished and then remember that this food billed out onto the ground under the feeder is not so easily visible or cleaned up. Spillage under the feeder can also grow mould in damp climates and that poses other health risks.

    I'm not saying don't use these feeds (although I personally would not) but be aware of the risks/issues and balance that against your goals and ideals and monitor your chickens closely for any indication they are carrying too much fat. Feathers can hide a lot and many people are used to seeing supermarket chickens which are plump and do not realise that laying birds should not be like that.

    I wish you luck with your flock whatever you decide.
     
  6. Kat C

    Kat C Songster

    269
    442
    126
    Feb 25, 2018
    Alabama
    Just started fermenting our whole grain feeds. While they leave the less favored grains to last, they eat them better. One way to get them to eat even the less favored grains is to not overfeed them. If there is feed left laying around at the end of the day you are overfeeding them.
     
    anna-newhampshire and Aleelupton like this.
  7. Aleelupton

    Aleelupton Songster

    239
    459
    146
    Jul 3, 2018
    Warren, Ohio
    Wow, that's a lot of great information! Thank you so much for your help!
     
    to BarbsGirls and KikisGirls like this.
  8. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Partially Enlightened

    73,488
    329,477
    1,942
    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    Feel free to use my Googlesheet to compare nutritional guaranteed analysis of poultry feeds...a link to it can be found below in my signature.
    I have hundreds of feeds on the sheet.
    I too Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 12.10.05 PM.png Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 12.09.47 PM.png believe a pelleted or crumble feed is better than a whole/cracked grain feed.
     
  9. Aleelupton

    Aleelupton Songster

    239
    459
    146
    Jul 3, 2018
    Warren, Ohio
    Thank you!
     
    KikisGirls likes this.
  10. Kat C

    Kat C Songster

    269
    442
    126
    Feb 25, 2018
    Alabama
    Oh my. Do you have your own food so analysed? Do you trust "Guarenteed Analysis"? Do you remember the baby formula contamination https://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/26/us/26formula.html and pet food problems of a few years back. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_pet_food_recalls Are you sure that poultry feeds aren't or never will be contaminated. If the feed contains DDGS there may be mycotoxin contamination http://www.knowmycotoxins.com/resou...try-diets-ddgs-may-be-door-mycotoxin-exposure
    Me I like seeing the whole grain. Our chickens get a whole grain feed with some pellets in it (probably to raise some nutrition values). They mostly leave the pellets. I trust their decision but it has such a nice mix of grains and only a few pellets that it is worth it to waste the few pellets. We add some other grains, wild bird feed and extra sunflowers mostly. We feed lots of greens from our garden, whichever are in season. Right now garden sorrel and kale. I also feed wild greens.
    Humans all over the world have vastly different diets and have done so for eons. Some eat more meat, some more starches and vegetables. So I am amazed that people think that they have to get chicken feed just exactly right. Our chickens live long and are quite healthy without us worrying about having the exact right nutrition.
     
    anna-newhampshire and Aleelupton like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: