Wanting to make my scratch a little "healthier"

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MalMom, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. MalMom

    MalMom Songster

    Apr 21, 2013
    Let me first start off by saying, I understand scratch is a treat only, and is not healthy food for a chicken. I get that it should be fed out sparingly and not as the main part of their diet. I also understand that not everyone believes in giving scratch. I respect your opinions.

    That being said... I want to make my scratch a little "healthier" as a special treat. My girls do get fresh veggies and fruits from time to time, and the "free range" in my back yard so get they whatever bugs and greens they can find. I bought scratch and it contains, corn chop, whole milo, and wheat. I have a huge bag of whole oats from when I started my mealworm farm. I've started mixing four parts whole oats with three parts scratch. I've also added in 1/4 part oyster shell and 1/4 part grit. After it is nice and mixed together I sprinkle a little all over the yard and don't just dump it so they have to look for it. I know they may not want the grit or shell, but for the grit specifically, I'm not sure how many small pebbles are back there so I figure even if they don't want it when I throw out the scratch they can pick it up later when they are scavenging.

    I would like to make the scratch as healthy as possible for them. I've though about adding sunflower seed to it also, but wasn't sure if I should do whole or shelled seeds (I've read arguments for both). What other dry treats can I put in it to make it a bit healthier? I don't want wet foods such as yogurt or fresh fruits/veggies. I want something that is easy to scatter in the yard so they have to spend time looking for it. They always have a nice big bowl of layer feed with oyster shell mixed in, and a nice bowl of grit available to them all the time. They only get the scratch a couple times a week and even then I think the wild birds eat most of it.

    Thanks so much for ideas.
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Mine get a handful of sunflower seeds as a treat. I buy unhulled, in bags in the grocery, sold as wild bird seed. I don't see why you couldn't mix some into your mix. Actually I've never read they should get hulled. Maybe there is some sort of study about it, I don't know -- but birds certainly tackle seeds of many types on their own, in their original form.

    What I wouldn't do is mix grit or oyster shell in. I feel like they need to choose to eat or not eat these, so they are in separate containers here. Since you toss it on the ground, though, they probably only take the things they want.
  3. PatQ

    PatQ In the Brooder

    Mar 14, 2013
    I add all kinds of things into the scratch - use Bob's Red Mill stuff that we get inexpensively - 10 grain cereal, kamut, spelt, chia seed, teff, oats, pumpkin seed, etc. then I add some probiotic powder and barley grass - they LOVE it!
  4. MalMom

    MalMom Songster

    Apr 21, 2013
    Thank you so much! Those are all great ideas.
  5. KuroKitsune

    KuroKitsune Songster

    Mar 26, 2013
    my girls get a small hand full of what is a wild bird seed mix that contains millet, milo, chop corn, BOSS, wheat, and safflower seeds. they get a very small amount no more then 1/4 cup every other day or so.
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    I give my chickens scratch mixed with black oil sunflower seeds and oyster shell. Sometimes, I feed this to them dry, but most of the time I moisten it. You could try adding some wild bird feed to the mix; when I have extra bird feed, I do this. The chickens love the extra seeds.

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