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What is "scratch" used for?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by farmgirl7, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. farmgirl7

    farmgirl7 Chirping

    Feb 28, 2014
    Hanging into Texas
    I noticed Tractor Supply had a sale on Scratch. Is scratch a treat, a supplement or what? Would my chickens like it? They are 22 weeks and beginning to lay (2 eggs so far, LOL!).

  2. 2jsbabyfarm

    2jsbabyfarm Chirping

    Apr 21, 2013
    We use it as a treat! It's good for them but should be given in moderation as the layer feed is better for them. .that's just how we do it =)
  3. It's cheap grains mostly corn and sorghum (milo) ... It's not a balanced diet and should only be given as a treat not as a primary diet... It's high in energy and fats but low in proteins and other nutrients... You will find a lot of people that full time free range use it as a cheap feed back in the coop since the birds get a more balanced diet while ranging, but I would argue against it even for this purpose as it's inevitable some chickens will get lazy and fill up on the scratch and not seek out their balanced diet while ranging ...

    I personally use it as and entertainment food for the chickens, I toss a few hand fulls in the grass and let them 'scratch' and look for it, keeps them busy for awhile... Beware don't do this if you are worried about weeds in your lawn, the chickens will miss grains and you will have weeds growing...

    I also use it in my wild bird feeders outside as well, I love feeding the birds in the yard but hate the expense of commercial "wild bird food"... Using scratch grains mixed with a few hand fulls of sunflower allows me to make my own lower cost wild bird food and it doesn't hurt the pocket book as bad... And based on the plethora of different birds at my feeders they don't seem to mind either...

    Oh and BTW, resist the urge to mix it with their regular food... I tried this once and only once, I thought it would be a nice treat to put a few hand fulls of scratch in the feed bucket... Bad idea, the next day the feed bucket (several days worth of feed) was emptied all over the floor and all the scratch grains were plucked from it...
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
  4. farmgirl7

    farmgirl7 Chirping

    Feb 28, 2014
    Hanging into Texas
    Thanks, for a very complete answer. It was $6.00 for a large bag (25 lbs?), so if they still have it I might get some for treats. Mealworms are expensive! So maybe I could integrate the mealworms with the scratch. We just put a large (3 ft X 8 ft) frame with hard cloth on top in their run and planted winter wheat inside so they would have green stuff in the winter. The chickens are trying to dig hole around the frame to get to the seed. My hubby had to go out and put cement patio blocks around the frame! We got our first two eggs last week and they were so cute! Perfect 3/4 size eggs! We had them for breakfast this morning with bacon and biscuits.
  5. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    What a great idea! I love to feed the wild birds too and this would save some $$

    Thank you MeepBeep.

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