Winter feeding

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Mimi and the Peeps, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Mimi and the Peeps

    Mimi and the Peeps Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 22, 2011
    Fort Gratiot
    My chickens have been total free range, with added scratch. During the winter, is scratch enough, or should crumbles be included as necessary? I have 13 laying hens. I've been told that the scratch is enough, the eggs will be fine.
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well I'm not a fan of MOST scratch feeds at all...most sold in feed stores has very low nutritional values. I only feed scratch as a treat, about two handfuls a day. But to answer your question, it depends on your area. If you're in an area where grasses and insects thrive year round, then your birds would have no problems finding plenty. But if you're in an area where the grasses/plants die off and insect populations seem to vanish, then you'll need to feed them a formulated feed so that what they're losing in plant/insect manner can be made up.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  3. TigerLilly

    TigerLilly I failed Chicken Math

    Jul 18, 2010
    Central Florida
    You dont say where you live. That might be a factor in the answers you get. Someone from Alaska will tell you something totally different than someone living in Florida.
    Do you not feed your chickens any feed at all, besides the scratch, since they free-range? And if that is the case, how well do your hens lay? Just curious--I feed & free range, but it seems like if they go without their pellets for one day here & there, they refuse to lay!
  4. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2009
    Pliny, West Virgina
    They need about 18% of there diet to be protein for good health and good egg production. The question is will they be able to get that from free ranging this winter... It might depend on your area but I doubt it... So will your scratch feed have enough added protein? I kinda doubt that also but the tag should tell you. If it were me I'd start them of layer pellets for the winter if the protein is not available any other way.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Most scratch sold in stores around here falls woefully short of being a complete diet. Many key minerals are simply missing, to say nothing of the typical scratch only being 8% protein. That's roughly half what they need.

    That scratch also cost about the same as a complete feed? Not a good value, imho.

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