Monday, March 3, 2008

our hens are scratch-hooked monsters

For the last couple months or so, in addition to the layena crumbles, I've been slipping our chickens some scratch. Hen scratch to be specific: cracked corn and seeds and whatnot.

Hen scratch has the comparative nutritional value to chickens that popcorn has to humans: which is to say, not much. So we make sure not too give them too much scratch or they'll fill up on the junk and not eat their nutritionally superior layena, not to mention all the juicy bugs and weeds in the yard.

But our girls love their scratch, and that's really an understatement. We don't give them a lot of scratch (maybe half a handful to entice them back into the Eglu when we're done letting them free-range the yard), but they go nuts tripping over themselves to get to me every time I approach the container in which we store the scratch.

Up until I introduced scratch to their diets, I'd only ever seen them go nuts over grapes (see the video here). I'm thinking of conducting an experiment next weekend where I put a pile of grapes on one side of the patio and a pile of scratch on the other and film what happens.

I'll be sure to post the results to YouTube (and here to the blog, too).

After this small bag of scratch is gone, I think I'll cut them off, ahem, cold-turkey. The girls have got a lot of weeds and bugs to devour now that Spring is here.


Johanna said...

I think of scratch (cracked corn) as "chicken crack" because they are SOOO addicted to it! --Johanna

Linda said...

My hens have a scratch habit, too. Here in the cold and snowy north it is *advised* to feed the hens a bit of scratch or cracked corn during the winter. Apparently it kicks up the chicken metabolism a bit so they do better in the cold. Even with this "fringe benefit" I doubt your ladies would like to trade places with mine! It's March and our high temp today was in the low-30's! Oh, these hens loooovveee their seeds. Ever give yours black oil sunflower seeds? ;-)

Melanie K said...

I call it "chicken crack," too, and I don't think there's any way we're going to get them to give it up. I'm guessing they'll stage a strike. So, Thomas, pick up the scratch with the food this weekend, please :)


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