What is better for a winter supplement, cracked corn or scratch grain?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by msgenie516, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. msgenie516

    msgenie516 The Happy Hen

    May 16, 2008
    Nesconset, LI, NY

    I have been adding extra scratch grains to my layer food with the hope that the chickens will stay warmer, but then I read that corn is the only grain that helps them heat up their bodies.

    Would it be better to add plain cracked corn instead of the scratch? I am concerned both about their warmth and their nutrition.

    I realize I can also feed them some cooked oatmeal (sounds yummy!) but I am trying to do everything possible to make them a little more comfortable in this downright nasty weather--this morning the thermometer read 18 degrees! I'm afraid the oatmeal might only offer temporary relief.

    Thanks for your help! Genie
  2. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    I've used both cracked corn and scratch grains, for our flock.

    From my own experience I've noticed that our gang leaves behind less "scraps" if they are fed cracked corn as opposed to the scratch grains. Just remember that everyone's birds have different tastes. [​IMG]

    Hope this helps!

  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I've posted about it before. This time when we bought scratch at the co-op, we got plain scratch not scratch grains. It's finely ground corn. I use really hot water to make them a mash out of it and they love it!
    I think we paid $9 for the 50 lb. which I'm sure is alot cheaper than the same amount of oatmeal.
  4. zatsdeb

    zatsdeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2007
    Lincoln, Illinois
    I give both also..
    plus layer mash
  5. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    I just add some cracked corn to my scratch grains and only feed it late in the day if it's going to be below freezing that night. I never mix their "candy" grain, scratch or corn, in with their regular feed, I use it as a treat and to call them into the pen when they freerange. If I mix it with their feed they throw out the feed to get the candy, just like a kid would. I've come out to a feeder full of feed on the floor and every bid to corn/scratch gone. [​IMG]
  6. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I believe that a chicken needs good food during cold weather. They have the ability, for the most part, to eat until they have gained sufficient calories.

    The idea that corn increases body heat by some other means than being metabolized has been fairly thoroughly gone over here on BYC. We know, however, that a lot of corn can dilute the protein in the over-all diet and that isn't usually a good idea.

    Genie, somehow I just suspect that you are giving your birds all the good food that they want to eat.

    In important ways, you are correct about the oatmeal. It has lower calories than some other foods. USDA Nutrient Database

    1 cup oats, regular, quick and instant, dry: 307 calories
    1 cup whole wheat cereal, dry: 321 calories
    1 cup whole grain yellow cornmeal: 442 calories
    1 cup layer feed at 3 cups/pound: 433 calories
  7. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ours get only cracked corn (large size) and BOSS as a winter morning treat because there is not much out there when they free range. In the spring I might switch them over to sprouted seeds untill they can find good bugs while free ranging.

  8. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    Black oil sunflower seeds. More digestible than corn or grains in scratch. High energy, protein, fats, and vitamins. I don't even give scratch and the only corn I've given so far is whatever I found leftover in the fields after harvesting. Boss is much better and the chickens outside have been going nuts for it ever since it turned cold. It's all I feed to the horses besides hay as well. You'll also find the rodents go crazy for the stuff in winter and it's near impossible to keep them out of the bags. I have to seal it up in storage containers or metal drums.

    Boss is 570kcals per 100grams. Corn is 365 per 100 grams.
  9. Sierra pachie bars

    Sierra pachie bars Queen of the Lost

    Nov 8, 2008
    I feed my hens laying mash. They seems to prefer it. I also mix in flax seeds into their food bin. I also feed plenty of fresh veggies and yogurt as treats. I'm not sure if that is what is best or not. But they seem happy. But then it really doesn't get to cold in California.
  10. johnmayersquare

    johnmayersquare Let's Talk About Chicks, Man!

    Nov 17, 2007
    Port Orchard, WA
    Quote:Ok.....not to sound too ignorant, but what is BOSS??? [​IMG]

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