?Scratch vs. mash vs. supplement vs starter? (yes, we're new)


8 Years
Aug 24, 2011

What are the differences between scratch, supplement feeds, laying mashes, and other?

My wife and I have 4 Rhode Island Reds all are about 4 mos old. We have fed them Purina Start and Grow medicated starter feed until last week when it was used it up and the guy at Russel feed store recommneded a bag of Boyce Chicken scratch, saying it was what they needed, they'll love it, blah blah blah. Well the bag itself says birds needs a supplement to go with it and they are not eating much of this scratch anyway! What should we supplement with or be feeding them otherwise?

Also, we are getting close to laying time, what is a laying mash?

Is there an alternative to hay that we can use in the nesting boxes?

We are new to this so any insight is appreciated either via reply or link to exactly pages with the right info.

Many thanks!

Chicken scratch is a mixture of corn, milo and maybe wheat. It is not a complete diet, as it is very low in protein compared to grower feed and layer feed. You can get these in pellet form or mash form. As they get close to laying age, chickens need high protein and some calcium. Sometimes the store workers don't know their product. It is probably possible to let chickens free range and get all they need, and just give them a little scratch for a treat, but my property certainly doesn't lend itself to chicken health. I let them free range every evening, I feed them layer crumbles and table scraps. Instead of scratch, I give mine wild bird seed which also has BOSS (black oil sunflower seed) in it. This is more a treat than a diet staple.
I guess regarding your questions about suppliment feed, the layer mash/ crumbles/pellets would be considered suppliment feed(?) Don't know how to answer that, exactly. They are considered a complete diet. But then many people suppliment with BOSS, animal protein, fish meal, and others. You get kinda lost in the verbiage.
Scratch is a treat, not a food. Think scratch=cookies, layer feed=a meal. I throw a handful of scratch on the ground in the run every few days.

Layer feed can come in pellet, crumble and mash form. I use crumble. That is their regular feed, available to my girls all day.

Starter is for chicks, can be fed right up until they lay.

Supplements can probably be any number of things. The only things I have out would be the dish of grit and a dish of oyster shell. Grit needs to be provided as soon as they start eating anything other than the starter feed. It helps them "chew" since they have no teeth. Oyster shell is only provided once they start laying, to provide calcium if they feel they need it.

I use pine shavings in the nest box.
Starter --
A balanced feed meant as the sole ration for chicks from hatching to twelve weeks of age.
At 12 weeks of age the birds can be changed to Grower or Developer. Starter can be Medicated or Non-Medicated when Medicated it is with either Amprolium or Lasalocid. Starter is available in Mash, Crumble or Pellet form

Stater/ Grower --
A balanced feed meant as the sole ration for chicks from hatching to chickens begin to lay, this feed can be Medicated or Non-Medicated. If medicated it will be with either Amprolium or Lasalocid. Starter/ Grower is available mostly in Crumble or Pellet form.

Grower --
Feed as the sole ration to chicks 12 weeks of age as a finisher. Grower feed is meant to feed until the chickens begin to lay, then bird can be switched to a complete Laying. Most Grower feed is Non-Medicated but some are Medicated with Bacitracin. Grower is mostly available in available in Crumble or Pellet form.

Finisher -- See above for Grower

Layer --
Feed as the sole diet to laying hens maximum production of eggs. Do not feed Layer feed to poultry, which are not in production because of the high calcium levels in the diet. This is particularly true of young growing birds. Layer is available in Mash, Crumble or Pellet form.

Layer/ Breeder --
Feed as the sole diet to laying hens and breeders for maximum production and for improved hatchability. Do not feed Layer feed to poultry, which are not in production because of the high calcium levels in the diet. This is particularly true of young growing birds. Layer/ Breeder is available in Pellet form.

Scratch Grain/ Corn (Maze) --
Is mostly used as a treat and should for the most part be feed separate from there sole feed (example - there Layer feed). Scratch should not exceed 40% of there diet when feeding a high protein feed. (Sole feed 20% protein or better) You may start feeding Scratch Grain at around 12 weeks of age.
Scratch will also very in quality, nutrition, ingredients, it may be as simple as whole corn or as complex as a 14 grain mixture.
I use a Pigeon Grain Mix as scratch and the protein runs around 17% protein and far from being "Candy" or "Cookies" for chickens.

Thank you for the helpful distinctions! We got the grower and layer the next day and my ladies are happy campers!

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom