What's the point of scratch?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dogkahuna, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. dogkahuna

    dogkahuna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2015
    Southworth, WA
    Scratch is nutritionally deficient and is called junk food in some posts here. Why use it? Why is it so widely available?
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    Chickens like it as a treat, just like we like junk food as a treat.

    It can be used to lure them somewhere you need them to go, too, such as back into a run after free ranging, etc.

    But yes, nutritionally it's the human equivalent of junk food and should be feed as a treat only. As to why it's widely available, a lot of people either don't know about that or don't care and feed it as a large part or all of their diet.
  3. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    I like junk food, potato chips are my favorite. I would eat a large bag daily. But I don't. I only buy junk food for holidays and weekend barbecue.
    My chickens love scratch grains and most would eat little to no nutritious pellets if they had unlimited access to scratch. But they don't. I give them a scoop, scattered on the ground or (under the coop if it's snow covered or a heavy rain) at 5am when I open the coop and turn on the lights. I have put a light under the coop sense this pic was taken.[​IMG]. I also give them a scoop at 9am when I check for eggs.
    If it's in the 20s F or colder, I give them another scoop at 1pm when I dump the ice out of the rubber bowl, under the coop.[​IMG] and check for eggs.
    In temps 30F or warmer no treats after 9am. Under 30F no treats after 1pm.
    IMO, It's very important for them to fill their crops with nutritious pellets, crumbles or mash before roosting, to get some beautiful hard shelled eggs in the morning. GC
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I would't go so far as calling it junk food. It's just not up to par nutritionally for a complete diet. Ever eat celery? You can't live on it.

    In cold weather the birds will be on roost and you can toss some corn or scratch on the ground and they will come out to eat more. That's a good thing. Full crop before a freezing night. It's also excellent for training. Toss out some scratch as you call or whistle. Soon enough you only need to call and they come running without the scratch. Pavlov's dog.

    Chickens love scratch. People tend to overdo it because they love their chickens. Ever see an overweight dog? It's horrible how some love their animals to death. Literally. The reason it's called junk food here is to put the concept that it's not a complete feed into peoples heads. Simplify and horrify to make a point.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017

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