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Digital Subscriptions > Chickens > Chickens 101 > UP TO Scratch

UP TO Scratch

A little scratch can be beneficial to a bird’s health and state of mind.

Standing at the “snack bar” in a local urban feed store looking at an assortment of specialty grains might leave you scratching your head. Which are best for your hens? How much should you offer to your flock on any given day? And what mixture is nutritionally sound? Chickens scratch the ground every day searching for seeds, insects and other tasty treats. Offering them scratch grains, such as cracked, rolled or whole grains (corn, barley, oats or wheat), stimulates that behavior while providing them with added food resources.

Scratches are a source of mental and physical stimulation — particularly during the winter months when weather conditions reduce the presence of natural treats such as insects, grass and seeds. Understanding the content of scratch mixes can help you determine what to choose from the buffet at your local feed-supply store.

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