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Bird Watching: 'Chicken Scratch' for feeding wild birds at feeder?

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maryleek
North Little Rock, AR
(Zone 7b)

May 10, 2009
7:05 PM

Post #6530401

I hope I'm remembering correctly what the product is called ... but it is the mix used to feed chickens and it is carried at a local feed store. The bag says the contents are cracked corn, Milo and oats w/ vegetable oil. I'm not certain what amount of vegetable oil is involved but I feed daily so I could watch for problems. I'd add black sunflower seed to the mix, as well.

Is this something I can use to feed our wild birds and squirrels during the summer? I use an open feeder with a roof. We have a lot of squirrels and I don't really want to chase them away.

I think we'll set up a small bird feeder with the wire cage around it to keep out the big birds and squirrels and I would buy proper recommended seed for the little guys.

I appreciate all suggestions and advice.

Mary
reddirtretiree
Norman, OK

May 10, 2009
8:01 PM

Post #6530581

It's fine for the bigger birds, but the finches, buntings etc don't like it. If you want them, it would be better to put out a finch blend or some thistle. I throw scratch on bare ground for the doves and grassland birds behind my house and they swarm it. Can't beat the price on scratch.
maryleek
North Little Rock, AR
(Zone 7b)

May 10, 2009
8:19 PM

Post #6530622

Thank you for this helpful info.

Would it be advisable to purchase a bird feeder that has the wire cage with large square openings and with the feeder inside? Would this style be good for the smaller birds that you mention? This style of feeder looks like it would keep the larger birds and squirrels out. :-)

We've never had anything but the big flythrough feeder that sits on the deck railing.

Mary
reddirtretiree
Norman, OK

May 10, 2009
11:30 PM

Post #6531177

I don't have one. Just keep different feeders with different feed around the yard. I have a small yard, but 9 feeders. Not opposed to the cage feeders, just never felt the need for one. If you have bigger birds running off smaller, more shy birds, they might be the ticket.
Lynnbird26
Dixon, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 11, 2009
12:55 PM

Post #6533084

How much is chick scratch? I could get it at farm and fleet or tractor supply. The doves really swarm my "good ' seed. Maybe that could be a cheaper way for me to feed them.
reddirtretiree
Norman, OK

May 11, 2009
2:18 PM

Post #6533445

I pay about $8 or $9 for a 40# bag of scratch at a farm store. Bought black sunflower there for $15/40# this weekend. The Goldfinches have all but abandoned the thistle and finch blend feeders for it. They are going nuts over it this a.m.
maryleek
North Little Rock, AR
(Zone 7b)

May 11, 2009
2:29 PM

Post #6533495

Do you mean the Goldfinches are going for the scratch or the black sunflower seeds or both?
reddirtretiree
Norman, OK

May 11, 2009
2:33 PM

Post #6533520

I've never seen the finches on the scratch, they are all over the black sunflower seeds.
maryleek
North Little Rock, AR
(Zone 7b)

May 11, 2009
3:03 PM

Post #6533664

Thanks for the quick clarification.

I'll need to check on buying the larger bags of black sunflower seeds, too, as everyone here seems to enjoy that particuliar seed!
PNWMountainGirl
(Sharon)SouthPrairie, WA
(Zone 7a)

May 12, 2009
6:14 PM

Post #6539490

Am I wrong, or is some chicken scratch medicated? It's been a long time since I have raised chickens but I remember something along those lines...We have just started trying cracked corn to entice more quail to the yard in E WA. Aren't there right now so don't know how it is doing.
reddirtretiree
Norman, OK

May 12, 2009
8:20 PM

Post #6539981

The scratch I buy isn't medicated. One danger of feeding corn is aflatoxins. There are federal guidelines on the PPM in corn that can be fed to cattle, so often corn that contains higher amounts of aflatoxin is sold as 'deer corn'. It will kill quail and birds that eat it. Moldy peanuts can do the same-- or corn or peanuts that mold while in your possession.

This message was edited May 12, 2009 3:25 PM
chris8796
Dunlap, IL

May 13, 2009
5:29 PM

Post #6543662

I guess it depends on what type of birds your trying to draw to your yard. I wouldn't feed it because it would draw in the less desireable birds like grackles, starlings, house sparrows, doves, pigeons. Once they finished the scratch they would descend on the other feeders. Most of these birds travel in flocks and are gregarious, their presence will often discourage other song birds from visiting your feeders. In my experience, the more I control/limit these species the greater variety of other birds I see at my feeders.
PNWMountainGirl
(Sharon)SouthPrairie, WA
(Zone 7a)

May 13, 2009
7:05 PM

Post #6544055

Red, the cracked corn we buy is for feeding domestic fowl. Can't imagine that it is your "deer corn". But, how can we tell for sure?
reddirtretiree
Norman, OK

May 13, 2009
7:36 PM

Post #6544198

If it is labeled for fowl, it should have to meet FDA standards since chickens are consumed. The 'deer corn' is usually labeled as such and hunters put it in deer feeders. It won't harm deer due to their large body size and doesn't appear to harm turkeys, but will kill smaller birds.

One of my friends is a quail researcher and has documented its affect on the King Ranch in Texas.

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

May 13, 2009
8:58 PM

Post #6544510

Aflatoxin is nasty stuff - if this 'deer corn' is going to be fed to deer (which get eaten by people) and Turkeys (which also get eaten by people), then it'll need to meet the same standards as for chicken feed. If it doesn't, don't buy it.

Resin

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