Scratch & Lay: Best in Show

Scratch & Lay: Best in Show

To meet the needs of your hens in one fowl swoop, we formulated an all-in-one feed to keep them pecking, preening and laying for longer.

To a passerby, chickens might all look similar but ask any chook-keeper about the differences between their hens and you’re likely to get a lengthy character profile of each one. It’s this intense love New Zealanders hold for their backyard birds that drove us to create a premium chicken feed, Scratch & Lay, which contains (almost) everything chickens need in their diet. 

Through careful research and advice from poultry nutrition experts, we formulated an ideal combination of New Zealand-grown grains, pulses, seeds, grit and high-protein pellets to provide optimal amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat. With some fresh greens or food scraps, plenty of fresh water and a bit of extra grit, consider meal planning done for your chickens.

All-natural, New Zealand grown chook feed

Almost all the ingredients in our free-flowing mix are grown here in New Zealand – canary seed, sunflower seed, wheat, barley and blue peas from our North Otago growers and oats from Southland. Even the grit is southern, ground from Bluff oyster shells while our kibbled maize is sourced from selected farms around the country. This attention to origin means we can stand by the sources of our ingredients, knowing they were grown in quality soils with the harvest timed to lock in optimal nutrition.

The high-protein pellets that round out the Scratch & Lay blend are made in New Zealand from soymeal – a leftover after whole soybeans have been crushed for oil. While the soy itself is not grown in New Zealand, our soymeal is sourced from a responsible supplier.

Fodder for foraging: promoting natural chicken behaviour

As Dr Andrea Graves explains in her book What Your Chickens Want You To Know: Backyard Chicken-keeping in Aotearoa, eating is a chicken’s favourite pastime. Although their bellies might be happy with food from a feeder, their minds prefer to discover it: backyard chickens spend about half their waking hours smelling, scratching and pecking (see where the name ‘Scratch & Lay’ came from?)

Girl scattering Scratch and Lay chicken feed to chickens

Chooks take great interest in the variety presented by the Scratch & Lay mix which provides endless fodder for foraging and helps to keep them occupied and happy as well as fed. While Scratch & Lay is a complete food in itself, supplying a variety of greens and scraps will also help keep them in a good mood. After all, chickens need something to do all day!

Added grit and protein for strong eggshells

Calcium from seashell grit helps create strong eggshells so we mix Bluff oyster shell grit into Scratch & Lay. With the grit mixed through the feed, birds are also able to forage for it when they need it. It’s also a help to busy bird owners but we do recommend supplementing daily feed rations with extra grit too.

Chook-keepers know that a diet containing 16% protein will keep laying hens healthy and fuel good egg production. When it comes to the high-protein pellets in Scratch & Lay, ours are made from responsibly-sourced soy meal, which contains all the amino acids chickens need, rather than ruminant protein. While they are omnivores who love gobbling on worms and creepy crawlies, a plant-based protein is more in line with the natural diets of hens, who would be unlikely to get a peck at a cow in the wild. They’ll naturally forage for bugs to get their fix of animal protein.


What are the ingredients in Scratch & Lay?

We provide your girls with a veritable granola of grains, pulses and seeds! Our recipe includes barley, canary seeds, wheat, oats, kibbled maize, kibbled green peas, and sunflower seeds, as well as high protein pellets made from soya bean meal. We then mix in some grit for healthy guts and good egg production.

Who makes Scratch & Lay?

We do! We use New Zealand grown ingredients for this premium product and put it together ourselves at the Topflite headquarters in Oamaru. We think it’s best to keep everything as local as possible so we can vouch for the origin and quality of each ingredient – and the popularity of the product speaks for itself!

How does Scratch & Lay help my chickens lay more eggs?

With 16% protein and balanced amounts of fibre, fat and calcium, Scratch & Lay gives chickens everything they need to feel good – and chickens that feel well, lay well! Our formula also includes grit, which is essential to robust eggs.

Is Scratch & Lay a complete diet?

Almost. We recommend supplementing with extra grit and fresh greens or scraps for laying hens. Food is life for chickens, and they just love to forage and peck at leftovers, greens, insects, worms and weeds. So, while we have put together a winning formula, we still encourage chicken-keepers to provide some culinary variety to keep life interesting for your hens.

How much should I feed my chickens?

Laying hens will each gobble about 1kg of food per week, including the worms, weeds and scraps they get through. In terms of feed, we recommend supplying around 150g per chicken, per day. To keep your feed fresh, it’s best to only buy around three months’ supply at a time. Our 20kg Scratch & Lay packs now come in recyclable paper bags but we recommend transferring the feed into a large, lidded bin to keep it fresh and safe from rodents. 

What are good treats for chickens?

Finding out what your chickens really love can be a case of trial and error. It may also be seasonal. At the end of summer, they are sure to love harvesting the seeds from a sunflower head, while winter greens such as silverbeet will provide lots of good, fresh vitamins when it’s cooler outside. The Topflite Poultry Pecker is a hit and mealworms and insects will be appreciated by most birds - although don’t be surprised if yours turn their beaks up at certain squirmy creatures. Just like us, chooks can have different tastes!

Related Products