True/False Scratch feed.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 2AcreFarmer, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. 2AcreFarmer

    2AcreFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Is scratch feed really fattening for chickens?
    Is scratch feed really a "hot feed?"
    Lets hear some opinions guys!
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    It doesn't have the fat content to be considered either in my opinion.
     
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  3. CrazyDuckFarms

    CrazyDuckFarms Out Of The Brooder

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    I totally agree. Want scratch grain? Feed them sweet feed its better.
     
  4. 2AcreFarmer

    2AcreFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    @CrazyDuckFarms

    What all is in sweet feed? Is it more expensive? Is it good for chickens?
     
  5. TheChickInn

    TheChickInn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In winter, I mix up Nutrena Feather Fixer, scratch grains and sunflower seeds. Mine do very well with this mixture, I like giving them extra fat/protein to get through these tough Wisconsin winters! I miss summer time, when they can go free-range and can eat exactly what they want and need to keep them healthy. It gets pretty expensive feeding them in winter as compared to when we can let them free range.
     
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  6. CrazyDuckFarms

    CrazyDuckFarms Out Of The Brooder

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  7. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    I feed scratch as a training tool, treat, and a solution to boredom.

    I won't turn my flock out in the snow, not because of the temps, but because the snow makes them EXTREMELY obvious to the flying predators I have. Surprisingly, here in southern MD, that means they haven't been out in over a week. I have 20 birds in a 8x10 coop with an attached 12x20 run. I opened 2 bales of straw in the run back in October or November, and they have pulverized that straw into little 2" long bits, and it is a few inches deep in the run. I sprinkle several POUNDS of scratch thru the run each morning, and it keeps them busy all day digging for it. My scratch is from a local Amish mill and is mainly cracked corn, rolled oats and rolled barley.

    Does it keep them warmer thru the night? I don't know. In livestock such as horses and cattle, it is the long-stem roughage (i.e. hay) that provides warmth during digestion. Concentrates and grains in livestock are only quick short-term sources of heat. In chickens, I can see the corn being the same thing - short term heat as the crop/gizzard work to break up those larger whole grains or cracked grains. That extra work means burning extra calories, so I am not sure that limited scratch grains can make the birds fat... Kinda like eating lettuce or celery in humans - we supposedly burn more calories chewing and digesting it than it provides.

    I've also heard that feeding too much scratch will decrease egg production. Not sure I believe that statement either...

    Chickens have been laying eggs LONG before the development of commercial feeds, and protein/nutrition testing. What do you think they ate a century ago? Likely scratch grains for the majority of flocks...
     
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  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    They also produced poorly a century ago too

    Hence the egg laying trials and meat trials back in the 40's and 50's- post war for you that don't know dates.

    To get back to that backyard chicken your grand parents knew takes some time. We've competent breeders working for that same utility bird yet keeping with the showish quality of that same breed. Are all breeders of their show quality working in this way? Lord no. It's a small few.y

    It's a balance of function and beauty in the modern versions of a breed. From a 'SHOW' breeder you'll likely get very poor layers. There is a way to breed back to a standard of eggs and wieght without diminishing the (whichever variety color) breed.
     

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