Winter and Scratch


9 Years
Apr 7, 2010
This is our first year raising layers and our first year wintering them over. I have a question about scratch feed - what's best to use and in what quantity? We have all cold-weather-hardy girls (Red Stars, Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Silver-laced Wyandottes, Jersey Giants, Speckled Sussex, Barred Rocks) and live in Western New York. Right now we're feeding layer feed and oyster shell; they are free range, too, so at this point they're supplementing their diet with whatever else they want/need. We will be closing them up in their coop for the winter, though, and only letting them out on the nicest of nice days.
I give my girls a solo cup of crack corn a day. I've heard ppl say give them some right before bed and that will help them make it thru the cold nights. Don't stop giving them layer they will still need that. The scratch will just help raise the body temp. Hope this is what you were asking.
They say to use scratch as a treat. Half a handful per bird daily. But I feed cracked corn nightly to my birds in the winter! Just make sure they are still eating their layer food as well!
Thanks Chillin' and Obsessed - very helpful! That's exactly what I was looking for!
We give a little scratch at the end of the day in winter, too.

During the winter we normally let the chickens decide if they want to be in the coop or outside during the day. They go in and out, getting a little exercise, watching the yard, neighbors, my dogs and cars driving by. They hop up on their patio table or chairs in the run. When they get too cold, they go back in the coop for awhile.

When it gets cold enough, then they just stay in the coop all day, by choice. During cold snaps when the high is around or below 0 F, we do leave the door closed during the day. That's when they are mainly inside all day, so having it open doesn't serve any purpose. Closing it keeps it a few degrees warmer in there and eliminates the air flow down at the floor, also keeping the chickens warmer.

Every flock is different. For my chickens, temperatures in the teens is still good. Single digits and below, their behaviors start changing and they want to be inside the coop. That's when those windows come in handy for amusement purposes. They look out the windows a lot, then.
I just upped their scratch ration to 2 of scratch to 1 of BOSS. I don't no if it counts for anything but it makes me feel better with cold coming. They have the option of free range or coop. I open it up every day.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom