What, exactly, is "scratch"?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by NYchickee, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. NYchickee

    NYchickee New Egg

    Feb 6, 2012
    We will be getting day old chicks in about a month, and I am trying to learn how to feed them. Can you just feed them chicken feed from a store, or do you have to mix it up? What about oyster shells and egg shells?
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hello! if you have a farm store (Tractor Supply, or Agland) they have bags of food especially made for chicks, called "Chick starter" or "Chick Starter & Grower" . It has all the nutrition chicks need. You can buy medicated chick starter or just the regular chick starter. Both are just fine.

    You don't want to give them any crushed oyster shells or egg shells until they are hens and start laying eggs, because the extra calcium can be harmful to a growing chick.

    There is chick grit, but you don't need that while they're eating the chick starter, because the food is little crumbles. Once your chicks are larger, if you feed them treats other than chick starter, then you need the grit because it helps them digest the different foods.

    Hope this helps,
    2 people like this.
  3. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    All day old chicks need is a good chick starter and water.
    I prefer one that is medicated with either Lasalocid (Bovatec) or Amprol (Corid) and also has animal proteins in it.

  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Chicks should be on chick starter until they reach 8 weeks (I believe..) than they should go on grower until they start laying. I wouldn't feed scratch until they are at least 8 weeks, and it isn't even recommended at all.

    Oyster shell should not be fed until at least 20 weeks or so. Grit should be offered right away. Make sure it is grit meant for chicks.
  5. queenchick16

    queenchick16 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2012
    Everything they need is in the Chick Starter food . Yes it might seem boring to you, but resist giving them things adult birds can eat. You'll just end up with chicks with runny poop.
  6. NYchickee

    NYchickee New Egg

    Feb 6, 2012
    Thanks everyone!
    What exactly is "scratch" though? Is it left over human food?
  7. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Scratch is a combination of grains - cracked corn, millet, wheat etc., formulated for chickens. They think it is exceedingly yummy and if you throw it on the ground they will busy themselves pecking up the pieces "scratching" to find bits that might have disappeared in the grass.
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Yeah, I guess we didn't really answer that really.

    Millet isn't found in ANY scratch here. I add it in, because it is very good for them, and they love it. It's high in protein.
  9. Rich Marshall

    Rich Marshall Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 27, 2011
    Really, if you just ask some of your friends who have chickens or have chicks coming you will be wasting less of your time.
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I don't have any friends that have chickens.

    This comment sounds condescending... :/ Am I misreading it?

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