Scratch grains.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Birdnerd04, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. Birdnerd04

    Birdnerd04 In the Brooder

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    Hello everybody! I DON"T feed my chickens the standard pellets that most people use, but instead give them a 5 grain scratch, cat and dog food, lots of fruit and vegetables and scraps from the kitchen. They also free range and eat a lot of insects, small creatures (lizards, mice, nestling birds, frogs, snakes, etc) grass and leaves. The main reason I don't give them normal pellets is because they HATE them and will scratch them around but wont eat them. is this an OK arrangement? They are all big and strong, lay lots of strong healthy eggs and are currently molting just fine. Thank you guys for your time reading this. :D:D:D
     
    True Patriot likes this.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    It isn't the best approach. If you don't give them anything but chicken feed, they'll eat chicken feed. And in the process, they will be getting all the nutrients in the correct ratios that chickens are known to need.
     
  3. Kayla's Lunch

    Kayla's Lunch Songster

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    I'm pretty new, but I have read that the "chicken feed" was formulated for chickens that don't forage and must eat what is given them. Scratch, especially something like 5 grain, is good for those that forage. However, I think they meant those chickens that forage all day. Those chickens pick up all kinds of things according to their liking and don't eat what they don't need. My 12 chickens are only 14 weeks old. They only eat 2 cups of chicken feed a day, which I ferment. They are out foraging several hours a day. They get some scratch and treats like mealworms, cooked eggs, veggie scraps, and sprouts. Once they started foraging regularly, even though it was only for a few hours, their interest in other things lessened.
     
  4. True Patriot

    True Patriot Sanity is subjective

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    Mine won't eat pellets either. I switched to a flock raiser crumble and they love it. Sometimes you have to experiment with different kinds and brands. The key is the total nutritional value. Purpose made feed takes into account all the things they need to be healthy. You can add other items periodically, but the main course should be properly balanced. I would recommend finding the smallest size bags your feed supplier has and trying different ones. If they won't eat any try withholding everything else until they do.
     
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  5. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

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    If you offer a child pizza ( scratch) or broccoli (feed) which do you think they’ll choose ?

    Same thing for any animals , they will eat what ever you give them once they’re hungry , you are in charge .

    Free ranging is not going to provide all the nutritional needs of your chickens , you need to offer real feed .
     
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  6. Birdnerd04

    Birdnerd04 In the Brooder

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    Thank you all! :goodpost::goodpost::goodpost::goodpost:
     
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  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    Free range in most peoples' situation isn't adequate nutrition. It is the rare, expansive, pristine forage that can come close to providing for the needs of chickens and then only when the season is right. Additionally, most breeds have not been developed with the ability to meet their needs from forage.
    Jungle fowl can do so, but they only lay 4-12 eggs a year. We can't expect modern heavy fowl to be meaty and lay eggs prolifically without chicken feed provided all waking hours.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  8. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

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    Feed them Crumbles. Mine love em. You can get it in Layers, All-Flock/Flock Raiser and Non-Medicated Starter-Grower.
    My 29 month old hens are currently eating a Non-Medicated Start & Grow feed with Oyster Shells separately.
    I feed dry 24/7 in coop, but I also make a wet mash with it as a treat with cold water to get them to eat more feed in hot weather to keep up egg production. GC
     
  9. Kayla's Lunch

    Kayla's Lunch Songster

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    One thing I don't understand is that scratch is corn, wheat, sometimes some other grains and that is what is in most chicken feeds. It seems they add more protein and vitamins/minerals to the feed. Is that basically the difference between chicken feed and scratch?
     
    snow5164 likes this.
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    Scratch is a treat, not balanced nutritionally, and not meant to be. Chicken feeds are balanced and do vary, but are meant as complete feeds.
    I use Flock Raiser, with oyster shell separately, for all my birds. It works very well, and is always fresh, by mill date, where I shop.
    Whole grain diets can be a problem, because the vitamin/ mineral mix will sift out, and because at least some individuals will eat the yummy stuff and leave the rest, and be malnourished.
    Modern chickens are bred to grow fast, large, and produce many eggs, and need very good nutrition to do well. They are not wild jungle fowl!
    Mary
     

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