I have never given my flock scratch. I prefer to give treats with more protein, such as BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seed) or dry, rolled, old-fashioned oats, or shredded mozzarella cheese. (Of course I also treat with other goodies, but those are the higher protein ones.)
Scratch is like candy to chickens. Not that much nutritional benefit.
Thank you so much! I will be getting some BOSS today. I would rather give them something that is good for them. I had been giving them scratch, but didn't get to the feed store and had ran out. Now when I go today I will get BOSS instead. THANK YOU!!!!!
They might need a few days to a week till they devour the BOSS, or yours will eat it instantly. All in all, it's a so much better treat than scratch. Being around 14%-16% protein (A perfect treat when you have the standard 16% layer) and a high oil content. My girls have shiny and silky feathers and are extremely soft to the touch. (For an exception my girl Meko, she's always getting picked on due to her rank and has ripped feathers
) Also, another observation, is with my duck Sunny. She usually had a poor water proofing-oil amount so she always came out soaking wet after a swim. But with daily treats of more healthy boss, she's 100% water proof! (Not sure if the BOSS contributed there?)
I just bought a 50# sack of BOSS this weekend. I paid $29.95 which I learned from BYC is too much. Everyone says they pay around $15 to $20 for 50# depending on the time of year. Be sure to look at the expiration date on the bag, if it is out dated it may be stale and I hear that some girls don't like it stale. I have put the 50# sack in a metal trash can and asked my wife to through a scoop out on the ground every morning when she lets them out to free range. I have six girls and a roo so a scoop will be about 1/2 to 3/4 cup.
At first they don't know what to make of it but learned real quick and now they love it.
Every morning, in order to "distract" the flock which wishes to mill about ME when I go out into the yard, I toss out 3 big ol' handsful of BOSS into the center of the run. Then I can work on filling feeders and checking waterers and scooping poop without tripping over chickens (and the two Cayuga ducks).
I have about 24 chickens and two ducks right now.
Occasionally, in the afternoons, I will hand feed BOSS to most of the flock, tossing some to the lower ranking girls who never get up to my hands due to the gals higher in the pecking order monopolizing the space directly in front of me. They all get a treat every afternoon, but it's not always BOSS.
The common afternoon hand-fed treats are dry, rolled oats (the "old fashioned oat-meal" not the quick cooking kind), shredded mozzarella cheese, generic puffed rice cereal (no added sodium or sugar), grapes, that sort of thing.
I also treat with mealworms, but never from my hands. *shuddering*