Scratch or no scratch??? Seperated hen...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mr. Frizzles Hen House, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. Mr. Frizzles Hen House

    Mr. Frizzles Hen House Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2008
    Seabeck, Washington
    I don't don't if anyone saw my post regarding my hen that I have seperated due to her pecked at ear lobe. I have her in one half of the coop that has no access to the dirt run. While she recouperates do I need to give her scratch, and if so, what axactly is it.
     
  2. Minx

    Minx Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2008
    Western Australia
    Mr. Frizzles Hen House :

    I don't don't if anyone saw my post regarding my hen that I have seperated due to her pecked at ear lobe. I have her in one half of the coop that has no access to the dirt run. While she recouperates do I need to give her scratch, and if so, what axactly is it.

    Just throw some of her normal feed around the pen so she can scratch around and not get bored [​IMG]
     
  3. "Scratch" is corn, and other grains that you can buy from the local feed store. They cal it this beause the birds scratch at it on the ground and eat it. You can serve it up in a feeder and they will be perfectly happy with it. I would recomment you getting your flock on scratch. It makes for a healthy and happy robust bird.
     
  4. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Scratch is like candy for chickens in that it has little nutritional value. It should be handed out in the same way you would give candy to a toddler: in small quantities and sparingly.

    Chickens don't need scratch, though as somone already pointed out, it does promote "scratching" behavior as the chickens try to find more pieces of it. It does help prevent boredom. My girls get enough treats from the house so I don't bother buying scratch for them.
     
  5. If your birds are NOT free ranging you must give them something. Scratch does have its advantages. It promotes the chickens to eat robustly and it is healthy for them. A 50 pound bag of poultry grain (scratch) is fairly cheap and a scoop a day for over 50 chickens goes a long way. I guess you could feed them yogurt, bread, fruit and misc. people food, but scratch allows them to grind the food in their gizzards. I put out oyster shell, not just for the egg shells, but for them to have something so they can grind their food in the gizzard. I very much believe in free ranging, but some of us are forced into runs. Chickens will even eat dirt, especailly wet dirt to get earth for their digestive tracts. It also helps with worms and parasites, though it is not a treatment for this. My birds poop out light brownish/green with a good white tip. When I see a loose or discolored poop I worry. Sounds really dumb, but i watch this more than any thing else. I watch the water uptake and the way they act and roost. It takes a little time, but it is well worth it. Every morning I throw a scoop of scratch down on the dry dirt barn floor. It is gone in an instant and off they go to range the property. When they come in for roost I allow them a feeder of poultry grain (free choice). Some eat, some do not. I guess it depends on what they got for the day. My wild roo is out without the grain and he come in without the grain. I see him everyday and he eats alot of bugs, grass and gets his water from the horse trough. He is very healthy.
     
  6. Mr. Frizzles Hen House

    Mr. Frizzles Hen House Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2008
    Seabeck, Washington
    Thanks everybody! My hens are 23 weeks so I just switched them from their grower feed to layer feed. There food and water are full at all times. I can't free range them yet. We are working on a six foot horse wire fence, but even when it's done, I'm hesitant to let them run free. I have two dogs, one of which I know would kill them if she got a hold of one. My sons are young and I forsee an accidental mix. So, currently they have a 4x8 coop area and a 14x7 dog kennel (dirt floor) which is covered with chicken wire and half with a tarp for a rain free zone. I was told the dirt acts as scratch for their digestion (as you just mentioned). I didn't know if my seperated hen needs a different source while enclosed in the coop, or if her feed is adequate. I do give them treats, usually at the end of the day when I have leftovers. Tomatoes, grapes, bananas, cottage cheese & bread are their favorites. They devoured the pumpkin I saved from the boys carvings. I was going to give her some more of that too.
     

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