Scratch

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by BBQJOE, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. BBQJOE

    BBQJOE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As we all know, chickens love the daylights out of scratch.
    What is the consensus of letting them have access to it all day long?
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    It's not a complete feed, so not the best idea to let them have access all day long. It's low in protein and lacking some essential nutrients for health and well being.
     
  3. Chewbagawk

    Chewbagawk Out Of The Brooder

    I've heard that treats such as scratch, kitchen scraps, etc. should make up no more than 10% of their daily diet. Based on that I'll spread scratch around twice a day and fill up a treat ball so they have to work to eat. I think it's really up to the owner and what they observe in their flock. My chickens stay in a run all of the time, and there aren't too many of them, so if I kept a tray of scratch out there all of the time they'll stand around and eat all day. If they free-ranged or had a large enclosure, I'd probably get away with more treat access.
     
  4. BBQJOE

    BBQJOE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm still on the fence with free range. We have coyotes out here in the desert, and I've had them pluck cats in broad daylight.
    I'd love to let them roam, but am scared.

    These birds get a pretty good helping of wet laying mash in the morning, then I usually hang something for them to work at like Lettuce, cabbage, or a zucchini. I hang it high enough that they have to work for it.
    Then around dinner time I give them wetted alfalfa pellets. During the day I also spread a few handfuls of scratch around.

    My last flock I gave laying mash and scratch, and had great egg production.
     
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    You do have to be careful about giving them too many extras, especially with a confined flock. If they don't have enough protein in their diet, they won't be able to lay eggs. Protein deficiency can also cause egg eating and feather picking.
     
  6. Chewbagawk

    Chewbagawk Out Of The Brooder

    That sounds like a very good distribution of food. I believe in "moderation" so if every once in a while my flock gets extra treats from the garden or an additional handful of scratch, I don't worry. Like I said, it's really up to what you observe. If you think they're getting chunky or egg production has gone down, maybe reduce treat consumption. I think you have a great program going on now, though.

    I hate coyotes, and you're right about their behavior. They're really bold, and they'll take a dog out from right in front of you in the middle of the day, so they have no problems with chickens. I wouldn't recommend free range unless you had a heavy duty buried fence and a mounted turret, haha. If you have future problems with them I can recommend a couple thing to deal with them.
     
  7. BBQJOE

    BBQJOE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pretty hard to tell about egg production. They're only about 12 weeks old.
    I know how to deal with the coyotes if I see them, which I never do.
    But a few folks got their feathers ruffled when I described one means to get rid of them.
     
  8. Chewbagawk

    Chewbagawk Out Of The Brooder

    Haha I'm in the same boat as you are. It's hard to wait for that first egg. I've gone full-blown country hick on coyotes, I don't care what other people think, when coyotes mess with your animals, you'll hate them too. When I'm up on my property and I see them, I'll let them be, but when they go after my smaller animals it gets ugly.
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    12 week old birds should not be getting layer. It's for actively laying birds only. Young, growing, developing chicks need the higher protein content of a grower ration.
     
  10. Chewbagawk

    Chewbagawk Out Of The Brooder

    Whoops I missed that while reading. Yeah you should still be on a grower ration.
     

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