Scratch...When? How much?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by paganfish, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. paganfish

    paganfish Songster

    Sep 15, 2007
    Fleming, Colorado
    I have read that Scratch should be given as a treat and sparingly (like candy) so I give them a few sprinkles once a day. Then, I hear some people give their chickens Scratch - TWICE a day. HUH? I'm confused![​IMG]

    I have Layer feed for them readily available (which they don't devour as fast as Scratch) all the time and sprinkle -like- 2 cups of Scratch to mid day.

    My question is this?

    How much/often should I feed them Scratch?



    (I also have Cracked Corn and put some in for them at dusk on cold nights. They eat that RIGHT up!) may birds do you have and what do you feed them and how often/much? [​IMG]


    PS FYI: I have 37 birds = 19 Bantams (two of which are roos) & 18 Standards (one is a roo). [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Everyone does it a different way so if yours is working it is fine.
    I have something like 26 birds now? 27? Uh...

    Well, I just give about a cups worth to them all just before bed time if it is cold at night.
  3. Smitty's Farm

    Smitty's Farm Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    St Clair County, Il
    Scratch really doesn't have any nutritional value, so most people only give it to their chickens as a treat. It is suggested not to give it to your chickens in the summer when the temps are sooooo hot, b/c their little metabolisms spend so much time trying to digest it that they can become dehydrated. I know I had a hard time in the middle of the summer at it was in the extreme heat to try to keep them hydrated. Some people will wait until around an hour before bedtime to let them have scratch as a treat in the winter, so they will go to bed with a full crop. It will help keep them warm b/c their bodies are producing heat trying to digest the scratch. I just started giving mine scratch a few nights ago, b/c the temps are starting to drop at night.

    What do all the experienced chicken owners do? This is my first winter with my chickens and are only doing what I have read. I didn't want to interfere with their required nutritional requirements.

    Good question Peganfish.
  4. aran

    aran Songster

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    i mix mine in with the layer rations at a ratio of 1 part scratch to 4 parts layer ration. They eat it most of the time. This is my first year with chickens too but mine are healthy and doing well, and had no problems this summer although in Rochester NY it doesnt get too hot in the summer LOL
  5. Southern28Chick

    Southern28Chick Flew The Coop

    Apr 16, 2007
    I take a 1 gallon bucket out once a week or every other week and let them go nuts for it. [​IMG]
  6. paganfish

    paganfish Songster

    Sep 15, 2007
    Fleming, Colorado
    Thanks everyone. My chickens are ALL healthy (near as I can tell) I just want to make sure I am not over feeding them Scratch and if that has anything to do with them not eat AS much Layer Feed as they should?

    I have had my chickens a bit over a year and am learning as I go. I am SO glad I found this forum. It can be a lonely world out there...without chicken fanciers like you guys! [​IMG]

    Blessed be-

  7. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    With the weather turning pretty cool, I toss mine a few scoops in the morning and the evenings (if I get home early enough).

    Everyone's different! [​IMG]
  8. sclank

    sclank Hatching

    Oct 21, 2007
    What the heck is "scratch". Our chicks are only 3 weeks old so they have not had any treats yet, except some hard boiled egg yolk.
    Sounds like I should know what scratch is and get some for when they are a little older and freezing outside in a coupla months.[​IMG]
  9. paganfish

    paganfish Songster

    Sep 15, 2007
    Fleming, Colorado
    Quote:It is a combination of Cracked Corn, Oats and Millet or other grain mixed up. If you go to a feed store they usually have them in 50lb bags/plastic cans. I don't think you should give them to 3 week old birds though. I waited til mine were out getting grit before I gave them Scratch. They need it for Scratch...I think? Some folks here know more than I do though. LOL!

    As someone on here said's not a nutrient they need. Just a treat so you're probably OK.

    I waited until the 3 month myself to give them Scratch.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
  10. schmoo

    schmoo Songster

    May 7, 2007
    West MI.
    I have 21 chickens and I give the maybe 1 or 2 cups in the A.M. just since it's been cold. I don't like giving them treats at night because then the roost is totally POO covered in the A.M. I will when it gets REALLY freezing though.

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