Chicken Scratch: Everything you need to know

Maybe, you are there wondering what to feed chickens in winter? Then you have landed on the right platform. Chicken scratch is a nice snack for your dual purpose chickens during winter weather.

Chickens love treats. It is one way of supplementing their diet of crumbles, pellets and layers marsh with extra vitamins and minerals.

So, what is the best scratch to toss to your friendliest chicken breeds? In this article, I am going to discuss chicken scratch and whether it is the right treat for chickens and other poultry birds.

This will help you decide to make some for your birds or not.

Let’s roll!

What is chicken scratch?

Chicken scratch is any edible matter that chickens will get from the ground and eat it as food. In most cases, fluffy roosters will look for tasty insects, seeds and bugs under the bedding especially those raised in deep litter method.

Additionally, chicken scratch can also be made of several seed varieties that chickens eat as food mixed together to make one wholesome meal.

Some chicken enthusiasts are fond of feeding chickens eggshells to boost the calcium levels in their bodies. Crushed eggshells are good when mixed with grit to help in the digestion of food.

Scratch should be fed in moderation as a treat and never exceed 10% of their diet. Chicken scratch can also comprise of tasty treats like grapes, rice and cherries.

However, although most fruits are good for chickens to eat, some contain fewer nutrients or too much sugar. Chickens require a well-rounded diet that has all the nutrients in the right proportion.

Feeding sugary foods to black and white hens can make them develop a taste for sweet foods. This way, it will be hard for them to switch back to their main course.

In addition to that, sugar is converted into fat which makes chickens overweight. Obese birds are prone to back, heart, joints and liver problems.

How to make chicken scratch?

Well, chicken scratch can be made using all the available seeds and grains chickens eat. However, the grains should be well dried and have no molds on them.

Moldy or rotten grains can kill your chickens. If you have no ingredients to make a tasty chicken scratch, you can buy some tasty ones made by manna pro.

Here are some of the ingredients you need to make chicken scratch from scratch.

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Whole corn/ cracked corn
  • Peanuts
  • Oats
  • Sorghum
  • Wheat
  • Millet
  • Peas
  • Barley

It is not a must that you have all the above ingredients to make a scratch. With three or more you are good to go.

Mix all the seeds in a clean bowl. Put them in a container and place them in a dry place and away from contamination.

I prefer scattering this treat to my chickens in the evening on straw. My birds go nuts as they scratch the beddings looking for the seeds. Scratch keeps them busy instead of feather picking before dusk.

This way, they don’t forget to come back to their pallet chicken coop to roost. By scratching on the ground, they break boredom and keep their bodies warm through exercise.

Is too much scratch healthy?

Chickens do not require too much scratch grain. As I said, this is a treat just like cucumber and cheese. Treats should be fed sparingly and never replace their main course.

Treats do not have all the nutrients your chickens require in their bodies. They should be fed on occasionally to supplement their diets or as a gift to make your friendliest chickens happy.

Although no much harm can be caused by feeding excess chicken scratch, it can cause your birds to become obese and too heavy to walk.

Some scratch is made of junk foods like chips and popcorn. These foods are unhealthy to your silkie rooster just as they are to you.

However, when fed as a boredom buster or as a treat, it is fine and healthy.

Chicken scratch vs feed

Even though both chicken scratch and feeds are both chicken food, there is a very big difference between the two.

Feeds are well formulated and contain all the nutrients in a balanced ration. They are recommended for chickens because they are made for different growth stages.

Study the table below to get a better understanding between the two.

Chicken scratchFeeds
Tossed as treats or as a boredom busterSpecially fed as the main diet.
Good for adult chickens and pet chickensGood for chicks, hens and roosters
Does not contain all the nutrientsWell-balanced with all the required nutrients

Remove any extra grains that remain on the chicken dirt bath and straw. Such leftovers may attract game birds, insects and other vermin.

Put the treats in a clean chicken feeder so that the remaining can be put in bags for future use. Use chicken scratch as tokens for your heat tolerant chickens as well as pet ducks.

Make sure chickens stick to their staple diet of formulated feed and only feed chicken scratch once in a while.

Do not forget that water is very important to keep their bodies cool and well hydrated. Well-fed birds will not peck at chicken leg bands as well as their kind.

What will happen if chickens scratch on the ground?

It is normal and healthy for chickens to scratch the ground. This behavior is instinctively in them and you will even find chicks trying to do it.

Chickens will scratch trying to look for something edible to eat. These chooks know that tasty worms, bugs and some insects live on the ground.

They will turn beddings, mulch and leaves as they scratch. This way they keep themselves busy and also exercise their body muscles.

Scratching also helps chickens get rid of notorious parasites like lice and mites. They preen and groom making their feathers clean and tidy.

When chickens scratch the ground, they eat grit which helps to digest food in the gizzard. These birds also get calcium from shells that help in formation of health egg shells.

Why chicken scratch?

Chicken scratch is an awesome way of appreciating your chickens. Toss scratch to your Dong Tao chicken as a way of showing love.

You can use scratch to hand feed your chickens and this you will bond and became good friends. They will always come back to the coop on time if they are sure they will get something extra as food.

Chicken scratch will add extra nutrients to their bodies by supplementing that diet of crumbles and pellets.

No pecking this time! My chickens are always busy scratching and overturning beddings. These chooks are now busy and help turn the beddings keeping them dry.

Final Thoughts

Chicken scratch is important to those who can afford. It makes an awesome treats just like celery and asparagus does.

My Serama roosters are now happier than before. They can enjoy some of the left over grains and nuts and add extra warmth during winter.

Although scratch is sweet and tasty to chickens, feed in moderation as a treat. Too much of it is unhealthy because it does not contain all the nutrients required.

Do you toss chicken scratch? I need to hear from you.

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