Well-balanced and nutritionally sound chicken feed results in healthy chickens, and the inclusion of wheat in a blend of feed optimises the value of the fodder. Poultry feed, or scratch grain, ideally contains a measured combination of grains that provides a level of energy that chickens require during the cold winter months. Chicken farmers often blend their own versions of scratch grain or purchase premixed blends of poultry feed at a farm supply store.
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Measure out quantities of each grain and transfer the grain into a large container. The type of measuring device and the size of the holding container you use depends upon the number of chickens you intend to feed. Use ratios of one part barley, two parts corn, and one part wheat. Blend the grains together with your fingers. This blend of scratch grain produces high energy poultry feed that chickens require during the winter months.
Transfer the scratch grain from the holding container to the chicken feeders. Make sure to provide enough feed for a one day supply. One feeding in 24-hours allows the chickens plenty of time to process their food between feedings. The wheat portion of the feed takes longer to digest than barley and corn. Always combine it with other grains and never use it as a single feed.
Store unused wheat grain and feed in airtight containers for protection against dampness. A galvanised metal dustbin with lid works well for this purpose. Mice and rats enjoy dining on all types of grain and this type of container protects grain from infestation. Use all of your stored scratch feed before you open up fresh sacks.
Tips and warnings
- Supplement wheat feed with some grit once or twice per week.
- Dirt and grime build-up on feeders may contaminate the chicken feed.
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- West Virginia University Extension Service; Poultry Facts
- Cornell University Cooperative Extension; The Home Poultry Flock; G. H. Thacker
- "The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals"; Gail Damerow; 2011
- University of Minnesotta Extension; The Small Flock for Poultry Meat; Melvin L. Hamre; 2008