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Scratch grains, when are they old enough?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by skhomer, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. skhomer

    skhomer In the Brooder

    Apr 10, 2011
    Homer, Georgia
    My last trip through TSC I went ahead and bought scratch grains and regular sized grit (I already have smaller chick grit) -- they don't have baby chicks anymore, so I must entertain myself :)

    At what age should I let them have scratch grains -- my oldest are 14 weeks and the youngest are 9 weeks -- they're combined, so what one gets the other will kill herself trying to get to ...

    Do I scatter them in the run or in a bowl? Way way back when I seem to remember my great-aunt scattering food in the run during the day. Of course, she was way more laid back about the whole chicken thing than I am, so far at least.

    Thanks for the help!

  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Depends on breed. My most sensitive can handle it at 6 weeks. Start low and keep low. Keep scratch grains as minority (< 25%) of feed applied. Free range birds can probably tolerate more than confined birds since former can balance diet with more vegetable matter. Balance not always nutrients but physical nature of materials processed / stored by crop as well.
  3. LilBiddy

    LilBiddy In the Brooder

    May 13, 2011
    I haven't gotten any scratch yet. Mine are two months old plus the big roo which I don't know how old he is. I live in FL where everything is sand. So I heard it said...because my area is solid sand...I don't need to put out scratch...true or not? If not...what type of scratch should I get? Mine are supposedly RIR's.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Scratch = low value waste grain and grain particles

    Grit = coarse inorganic particles, sometimes inert, that facilitate grinding of of food in gizzard
    Sand can be grit.
  5. LilBiddy

    LilBiddy In the Brooder

    May 13, 2011
    Geez...I'm so ignorant about all this. So, then I DON'T need grit. I just call what I feed them..."feed"....LOL So am I to take it it's really called "Scratch"? I'm feeding them "Dumor Grower/Finisher.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    You may not need grit if sand available. Although some forms of grit such as oyster shell can supplement dietary calcium.

    Dumor Grower/Finishe is a dietary formulation that has ingredients in proper amounts to ensure all nutritional needs of birds met to best of manufacturer's knowledge. It is not scratch. Scratch is usually just a bunch grains mixed together and actual nutrient levels not considered. Consider scratch best as an energy source.
  7. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    Bolton, Mississippi
    Chicks need grit. If they are on dirt/sand, they are probably getting it. Scratch should be held off until
    around the 6th week, so yours are able to eat it. Scratch is a treat, thusly a "training aid" and
    should be scattered on the ground just like your great-aunt did. Laid back is the only way to raise chickens.
    Scratch should not be used as a food source, but a treat only. It is sold by nearly everyone as "scratch".

    Dumor Grower/Finisher is not "scratch" and should be started around the 12th week of age. At eight weeks I would be using chick/starter.
    I do not like Dumor as it is a cut-rate feed sold to the TSC chain by Purina.
    I would rather buy the Purina who advises to use medicated chick/starter until 18 weeks and then switch to Layer feed.

  8. turbodog

    turbodog Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    Independence, La.
    Quote:Your feeding them alright. At eight weeks I'd probably still be on Starter but with a mixed flock like you have, I'd say the youngest are at a minimum age to be on grower. If you have sandy soil and they free range (or have a dirt/sand run) you don't really need to buy grit. They'll get it from the ground just pecking about. Scratch is somewhat in the "treat" category, in that it's not something you should depend on as normal feed.
    A lot of folks use it as an enticement to get their birds back to the coop.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  9. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    I make my own using minimal cracked corn with mostly wild bird sunflower seeds(with shells) and a good heaping of dried rolled oats. We have everything handy due to feeding wildlife in our backyard. My girls especially love the sunflower seeds, which is very rich in protien, omega fats, and calcium! I throw two handfuls a day in the dirt/sand inside the run. My 8 chicks come running to me each time they see me. Their ages are 11-17 weeks this week.
  10. WendyGrama

    WendyGrama In the Brooder

    Jun 25, 2011
    Cottonwood, Arizona
    Soooo, I am still scratching my head...

    Do chicks need grit to eat treats like grass clippings, bugs, veggie & fruit like melon or banana or no treats at all until 8 weeks or more.

    Grit now week 2 or grit later and when.

    Hot cereal size multiple grains/organic now or wait till 8 weeks or more.

    My guys are really active and looking for stuff constantly.

    I sprinkle a bit of their chick mash and call them twic a day, today I added some sifted grit, sand size and put about a tsp out with the cast mash??? Is that OK???

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