Chicken Scratch Feed: All You Need To Know Before Feeding

Do you want to know all about chicken scratch feed? How are they different from regular feed, when should you start feeding, and how to make chicken scratch at home?

My chickens love chicken scratch feed like a delicious treat. When I spread on the coop and run floor, they start scratching and pecking like crazy machines.

Chicken raisers have various queries about scratch feed:

Do my chickens need scratch feed and grain mixture?
Is this scratch feed perfect for my flock’s nutrition?
Can my chickens digest this scratch feed? More…

After reading this guide, you will know all about chicken scratch feed. We have included the complete information about ingredients, benefits, a few best products, differences from regular feed, and a few FAQs about chicken scratch.

Not only this, you can make this chicken scratch feed at home. Homemade chicken scratch is cheap and nutritious for chickens. Making scratch feed is easy at home; you need to know the right recipe.

Chickens can easily digest scratch feed, but you should understand when you should feed it to your flock.

Many people who have chickens in their backyard want to give them treats. The only thing they must be careful about is requiring a suitable chicken feeding guide

So, if you want to provide scratch feed to your chickens, read this guide.

What Is Chicken Scratch Feed?

chicken scratch feed in a mixing bowl
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Chicken scratch feed is a mixture of various nutritional grains that encourage chickens to scratch and peck. It helps chickens learn to forage and gives them extra nutrition.

Giving chicken scratch grains occasionally helps you establish a friendly relationship with your flocks. Chicken scratch feed combines many types of seeds, which chickens enjoy eating. 

The scratch feed is similar to bird food, but its price is the only difference. The pack of bird feed is pricier than the scratch feed.

Do you know the usual ingredients of chicken scratch feed? 

The recipe includes many ingredients, such as rolled corn, oats, barley, sunflower seeds, milo, wheat, and millet.

Are you worried about its pricing? 

A chicken scratch feed with more sunflower or milo seed will charge a little extra. The reason is that these kinds of ingredients are a little pricey, even though you buy them wholesale.

You may think the chicken scratch food is ready-made for us in feed bags, but it goes far beyond bagged feeds.

Many days ago, poultry farmers used to feed their chickens pellets and a balanced diet. The backyard flocks enjoy throwing additional or grownup seeds from their crops and the extra miscellaneous feed.

Those feeds might be the best poultry supplement to maintain quite a miserable diet. You can also provide a few additional chicken vitamins and supplements with their daily feed.

So, now you know that chicken scratch feed is a mixture of different grains that encourages chickens to search and scratch on the floor and has some good nutritional value.

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Chicken Scratch Vs. Regular Chicken Feed

Chicken scratch feed is different from the regular packed feed. The chicken scratch is the grain mixture given to flocks to overcome the nutrition deficiencies in flocks.

Regular feed is a well-balanced mixture of grains given daily for optimum performance and production.

Before you give scratch feed to your chickens, make sure they are at the right age and type. You should make two comparisons: Chicks Vs. Hen or Egg Layer Vs. Meat Bird.

For example, to understand the concept better, you know that 16% layer feed will generate 16% protein in a single grownup chicken. 

This amount is essential for the healthy and productive life of your chicken members. Every so often, you may have seen that fiber and fat content alteration at the time of the manufacturer’s preparation.

Here is the list of the ingredients that are available in chicken scratch feed:

  • Rolled corn
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Milo
  • Wheat
  • Millet

You will also find the following chemical ingredients, such as:

  • Selenium
  • Copper Sulfate
  • Ferrous Sulfate
  • Vital amino acids (methionine)

You will also find other supplemental ingredients available at a large variety of vitamins and calcium carbonate for shell making.

When the time changes, the demand for chicken scratch feed has increased. Your flocks will consider this scratch feed as a treat. They find it delicious as it shortages decent and healthy nutritional material.

You will get 8-9% protein equivalency in this feed. Further, the nutrition percentage is massively negligible to the feed content.

You may take these ideas for real:

  1. Regular Starter, Finisher chicken feed is considered a balanced meal. It is given daily in a required amount.
  2. Chicken scratch is a kind of food, just like French fries and soda. So, you need to give it twice a week as a treat.

Proving special treats for humans and animals is quite different. You should not provide more scratch feed than your chickens’ basic needs. 

Giving more than the required quantity won’t give them the proper nutrition. That is why you should not develop support for their diet with chicken scratch feed.

Your hens need a good balance added to their diet as they lay eggs, go broody, hatch eggs, and raise baby chicks. A good diet is vital if you wish to keep them healthy and strong enough for laying when your hens are not given a diet that may not protect their nutritional needs.

You may notice several changes in their behavior. First, you may see that they stop laying eggs, or even if they lay, the eggs you will get are soft-shelled or shell-less.

The body of your hens will take the necessary nutrition as per their needs. They do so to maintain noble fitness. If you do not feed them with a proper diet, they will become shabby and may see molting.

You may notice the dull eyes, depressed demeanor, and lack of energy among the hens. So, you can see that a balanced diet is key to the health and welfare of your flock. 

You can treat them in the best way, but in small amounts, preferably not daily. Keep reading this article if you want specific information about scratch feed formulations.

Benefits of Giving Scratch Feed or Grain Mixture to Chickens

The chicken scratch feed has many benefits. You can change their diet habit by adding something a little different and delicious apart from the regular diet of the chickens. 

chickens eating scratch grains
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You can see their very interest when your pullets find the unique taste of their feed. The list given below will show you the benefits of feeding scratch grains for chickens:

  1. Farmers provide scratch feed to enhance the training of finding the food. So, it indirectly makes chickens active foragers.
  2. This also helps your chicken to go to bed on time. Supply it in the evening for better results.
  3. You can clean up your coop by spreading the chicken scratch feed on the coop floor. Want to know the easiest chicken coop cleaning process? Here is the complete guide.
  4. In cold seasons, adding scratch feed will be very beneficial because of its high protein and carbohydrate quantity; it keeps the flock’s body warm. Here is our complete guide to keeping chickens warm in winter.

How to Go for Chicken Scratch Feed?

You must have learned the difference between chicken scratch and regular feed. Furthermore, you must understand when to feed chicken scratch and when not.

It would be helpful to give chicken scratch feed in a balanced way. This feed is an economical solution that your hens can’t stop admiring it. 

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Some questions to understand all about chicken scratch food strategies:

When to Give Scratch Grains to Flocks?

Many farmers supply their hens with chicken scratches to build their trust. Doing so lets you easily explain to your birds what to eat from their hands.

This is an important process to go through. The habit of their gathering can help the farmers to collect their eggs more easily in the future. 

If you still haven’t tried it, you must go for it. This is the most effective method for teaching flocks about gathering and pecking around.

It would be helpful to provide your chickens with scratch feed when you are trying to teach them new tricks, such as free-ranging or special commands. 

How Much To Feed Chicken Scratch?

As you know, chicken scratch has an inferior nutritional value. However, you do not know its importance. You should add the diet with perfect planning for your chickens.

When you prepare the grain mixture and then add the feed primarily, this is made up from scratch. You should involve the food within the diet by doing it carefully.

You should not add scratch feed more than 10% to the regular diet of your chickens. Since scratch feed contains many ingredients, it is not good for their health if fed daily.

How Often to Feed Scratch Feed to Flocks?

Chicken scratch food is almost like chicken treats. You can feed them morning and evening once as a rewarding treat.

Giving chicken scratch in the morning makes them active and teaches them to scratch. Giving in the evening gives them extra nutrients because they don’t eat for the next 12 hours.

Chicken scratch grains in winter during the evening is significant, as it keeps their body warm and healthy.

Homemade Chicken Scratch Feed Ingredient and Recipe Formula

Homemade chicken scratch feed is one of the best options for keeping chickens healthy. This saves you money, is healthy, has no chemicals, and is easy to give. 

Chickens love scratch grain mixture made at home. Finding scratch grains in local farms and making the recipe at home is one of the most remarkable experiences.

Making a good quality chicken scratch by combining natural seeds and grains is a good way to feed your chickens. They will admire the food you are offering, even though it may not look very appealing.

Below are the chicken scratch feed ingredients with the recipe, which should be taken into a mixing bowl:

  • Wheat = 1 part
  • Cracked corn = 1 part
  • Sunflower seeds = 1 part
  • Split peas = 1 part
  • Barley = 1 part
  • Oats = 1 part

If you want to make your chicken scratch feed a little more nutritious, add the below things to your recipe in small amounts:

  • Dried cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Peanuts

Is Chicken Scratch Good For My Chickens?

Is chicken scratch good for my chickens?
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Are you still confused about whether your chickens need a scratch feed?

Chicken scratch feed is good for chickens as a treat. They should not be added to their daily diet.

They are less nutritious than your chicken’s daily diet. So, never replace chicken scratch with regular chicken feed.

Moreover, it encourages chickens to scratch and makes them active. Giving chicken scratch grains to your chickens weekly, twice, or thrice is sufficient.

Scratch feed is not balanced; its mixture of grains works like a treat when your flocks are bored. 

So, you can say it is fast food for chickens only for occasional treats, but yes, it is good for them.


Now you know that chicken scratch is good for your chickens but as a treat. It should be given in moderation and occasionally.

It is not an alternative to daily chicken food as it has almost 9% of protein sources. Regular balanced chicken feed is always best.

Chicken scratch is best for lazy and stressed chickens as it makes them bust in scratching and release their stress by scratching and pecking.

Homemade chicken scratches are better than packed ones, but buying a packed one is the only option to avoid making scratch feed at home.

My chickens love scratching and pecking on scratch feed, and I feed them twice in a week. If you already give chicken scratch to your flocks, share your recipe below.

Bijaya Kumar
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2 thoughts on “Chicken Scratch Feed: All You Need To Know Before Feeding”

  1. very informative. I am new to chickens. So what would be a good layer feed to make if I need to make it? Times are getting tuff

    • Hi, thanks for writing here,
      Always provide feed with 40% of protein and must contain calcuim and other vitamin source. You can ask you nearest local store they will provide you some best feed for egg laying chickens.


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