1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Scratch feed/oyster shells

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Dawnsgirls, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Dawnsgirls

    Dawnsgirls New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    May 2, 2012
    Our chickens are about nine months old and it is a shared flock of 15. The other owner feels that they need scratch feed. We are feeding Purina Laying Crumbles and as I think I read on the bag, nothing more is needed. What is the scratch feed for other than a treat? Is it needed? We are having a few shells beginning to seem fragile as they are hard to crack open (shell softer and inner membrane is strong) and some have dents on the ends when we gather them. I see some growers feed back the shells or give oyster shells separately for that problem. Any comments on scratch and shells?
     
  2. Crafty-Duck

    Crafty-Duck Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,178
    36
    148
    May 27, 2012
    Lucky Duck Pond
    Scratch is a treat and should not be given all the time!!!
     
  3. Crafty-Duck

    Crafty-Duck Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,178
    36
    148
    May 27, 2012
    Lucky Duck Pond
    Scratch can be given right before they go to bed! It keeps them warmer at night.
     
  4. Crafty-Duck

    Crafty-Duck Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,178
    36
    148
    May 27, 2012
    Lucky Duck Pond
    I feed back the egg shells and I provide Oyster shells because some chickens like one or the other better so I let them choose which one they want.
     
  5. lookyhereboy

    lookyhereboy Out Of The Brooder

    99
    6
    33
    Sep 28, 2012
    Drury, MO
    I am currently giving oyster shell and building a supply of egg shells to start giving them. I also give them sunflower seeds on an almost daily basis as I heard it helps with egg laying and they do like them. I feed them layer feed mixed with some cracked corn and a small amount of that oyster shell I spoke of. The cracked corn is just to help stretch the feed. Every thing seems to be working fine this way. Lot's of good tips on here to help you find what works for you and your chickens.
     
  6. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Commercial feed is, generally speaking, a balanced diet for chickens. There are different formulations available for different applications. Higher protein is good for meat birds and winter, and for growing chicks. Some breeds do better with different % of protein, etc.

    Scratch feed isn't always for a "treat". Chickens get bored. A handful of scratch spread in their chicken run/yard will keep them busy all day. They also get nutritional value from the scratch feed.

    We currently have 18 chickens, 17 hens and one rooster that we are wintering. Every morning, they get about 2-3 cups of scratch grains that are tossed out into the chicken yard. Right now the scratch grains we give our chickens is a mix of mostly oats and whole wheat, with a little cracked corn. They prefer the whole wheat right now. They have "all flock" commercial feed available at will all day long. They also have oyster shell free choice all day long. If they want the oyster shell they eat it. They usually fill up on commercial feed, take a few pecks at the oyster shell, and range around all day eating seeds, bugs, dirt, whatever. The chickens will eat what they need. Mine don't overeat either. Healthy, physically fit chickens that each (not the rooster of course) lay an egg nearly every day or so.
     
  7. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    And they get table scraps and leftovers. They love it.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by