Scratch in the winter do you or don't you?


8 Years
Sep 19, 2011
Kalama, Washington
I just got some scratch for my girls today. I know its just a treat and mostly use for in the winter time, but just how much should I feed my girls I have 5 pullets. 1 is still dealing an impacted crop so she is not out with the others. Would it be like 1/4 cup, 1 cup a hand full? I just don't want to over feed them.
Hello! Yes, I give my flock scratch in the winter time. I just throw out some handfuls in their chicken run, just before dark, and they come running from all directions (I let mine free range during the day). So the scratch entices them to come inside and I lock them all in safely for the night.

I would say for five pullets, throw down a good cup of scratch. It gives them something to scratch at and peck around for. It also causes their bodies to warm up a bit, during digestion.

Just a tip, in the wintertime, if your birds are locked up and don't have access to the outdoors, be sure and offer them grit. It's vital to digestion, and it'll help grind down that scratch.

Take care!
thanks for the info Sharon. They are in the run during the day and locked in the coop at night. I made them 3 small PVC feeders one for each their feed, oyster shell and grit they also have a waterer in there too. I have learned the hard way about not having grit in there for them. I have one that has been having crop issues for about a month now.
Wow Chicmom. I must be underfeeding mine. I don't feed that much for 8. I better step it up a little.
I give everybody a couple handfulls of scratch in the mornign when I let them out for the day and when it drops into the 30's and below they will get a half scoop of scratch in the afternoon so their bodies have calories to burn for heat during the cold nights.
I mixs up whole oats, scratch, & boss. When its cold I give it to them twice a day. Early morning & right before they roost. I just toss it in their run those buggers can eat it quick.
Scratch is a good thing (in moderation year round) however I mix my own.
Scratch from the store is a mix of grains(no guarantee on the content) so you can do the same thing and proportion it for the season.
Oats are low energy, wheat and corn high, BOSS is high protein and fat.
In summer I feed mostly oats with some BOSS and millet. In winter I switch to cracked corn, wheat and BOSS in roughly equal parts.
Summer, each flock gets a handful in the morning and maybe another midday. Winter, some in the morning and then a cup or two in afternoon.
If you have access to a higher protein layer ration, you can feed more scratch. Grains aren't cheap either so it isn't much of a benefit cost wise.
I feed a handfull in the summer to get the girls back into the coop after free ranging. And about a quarter of a cup in the laying pellets in the winter, with another quarter cup of scratch before they go to roost.
I mix about 30% scratch to my girls laying portion and throw a little of the mix out for them to peck at. The rest goes in the feeder. I keep the feeder filled so they eat when they need to.

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