You may have heard the term “chicken scratch” well before you considered raising your own chickens. The term goes way back, as they say, and it’s for this reason that is has made it into our common vernacular.
The reason it is called scratch is that chickens love it so much they frantically scratch the ground as soon as they find it.
You can think of Scratch as being somewhere between a well-balanced meal and dessert. That is, it offers your flock some nutrients and energy, but it is not well-rounded enough to be their only source of food. It’s particularly good for free-ranging flocks that are able to supplement the scratch by foraging for other types of food and nutrients.
Containing corn, which is full of natural sugars and gives your flock energy. It also includes a variety of whole grains, which offer vitamins. You will find that scratch is available with different proportions of corn. Try to avoid mixes that are too heavily weighted in corn, because the corn is fattening and less nutritious than the whole grains. We also suggest avoiding scratch that contains barley because it can be difficult for chickens to digest.
We recommend using scratch as a treat for your flock because they will love it. But, make sure you offer them other sources of food in their diet. As an added benefit, scratch is significantly less expensive than feed, so if you use it to replace some of the feed you offer your flock, it can help you keep a little extra money in your pocket. We have organic chicken scratch, which we’re sure your hens will love!
You may also use scratch to direct and train your flock. A little bit thrown inside your coop in the late afternoon or early evening is a great way to convincing your flock to come home. The extra calories from the corn also help keep them warm during particularly cold nights.