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More Protein - Page 3

post #21 of 27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junebuggena View Post
 

I love this explanation. Layer feed is great, if that is all the flock will ever get. When you add 'treats', scratch and forage; layer becomes inadequate. There are lots of chicken owners who seem to think that layer feed has some sort of magic ingredient needed for a hen to lay eggs. It's simply not true. It's too low in protein for the way most backyard flock owners keep their chickens. Grower, all flock, or flock raiser with crushed oyster shell is best for flocks that get daily treats or free range a lot.

Thank you for this, and from the post that you were quoting.  I was feeling like I was doing something wrong... my chickens don't get an overabundance of treats IMO.  They usually only get something once or twice a week.  I do however live in NH so they have to burn energy to keep themselves warm, and they do choose to go outside and scratch and run around almost daily.  

I'm leaning towards adding something higher in protein to what I have right now.  (I like the cat foot idea, it seems easy), and then when I buy my next bag finding something that has a higher protein content overall.  I didn't realize that you didn't HAVE to feed layer feed.  I like the fact that I have flexibility, and I do have oyster shells available at all times so hopefully that will help with the calcium issue when I make the change.

post #22 of 27

I think you'll be good to go with that plan.

 

4% calcium is deemed appropriate for birds actively laying nearly daily. Not all backyard birds are doing that.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by donrae View Post
 

Layer feed is probably one of the most well-researched animal feeds on the planet. It's carefully formulated to be a balance between adequate nutrition and cost control. Protein is expensive, so they've calculated the bare minimum the majority of production bred birds need to produce, in a confinement operation where they don't get any other feed to mess with the nutritional balance and don't have a lot of exercise opportunity to burn off precious calories needed for egg production. It's perfect for what it's meant for. 

 

Thing is, backyard flocks are different. We feed our birds treats, usually lower protein veggie or grain types, and that lowers the overall protein levels the bird has. Our birds have more space, so they burn more calories overall. We encourage behaviors like scratching and foraging. We also keep breeds that aren't production-based, but still want them to lay well and be healthy. We're also more attached to our birds.....if a handful of birds in a confinement egg operation don't do well on layer, no biggie to the operator. If one or two birds in a small backyard flock don't do well on layer, it's a big deal to the flock owner, both production wise and emotionally. 

 

So, layer does have it's purpose. It's just not for everyone. I wouldn't return the bag, just buy a bag of grower. Or see if you can get something higher protein, like maybe turkey starter? I'm not sure right off what protein levels are of other feeds, but ask at the feed store. You can then just mix the feeds. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by junebuggena View Post
 

I love this explanation. Layer feed is great, if that is all the flock will ever get. When you add 'treats', scratch and forage; layer becomes inadequate. There are lots of chicken owners who seem to think that layer feed has some sort of magic ingredient needed for a hen to lay eggs. It's simply not true. It's too low in protein for the way most backyard flock owners keep their chickens. Grower, all flock, or flock raiser with crushed oyster shell is best for flocks that get daily treats or free range a lot.

And I like both of these explanations!

That makes a lot of sense. Mine do forage; treats are usually greens (in the winter), sometimes sardines or scrambled eggs or dried black soldier fly larvae, and a few tsp of scratch (mixed grains) in the evening. With a few other odds and ends occasionally mixed in. 

 

I am going to switch to Grower feed, we're almost out of this batch of layer feed

post #24 of 27

A thing to watch with the cat food is the salt content when I need to boost protein I add either feather fixer or meat bird starter grower because it has higher protein, I have one that just likes feathers, she won't pull them out but if a roo breaks off a feather she will eat that feather

post #25 of 27
People need to spot focusing so much on % this or % that in dry feeds, it's not all that quantitative unless that is the sole feed diet, dry feed percentage is factored and based on the feed being a sole diet to provide an average milligrams or grams of whatever the bird needs for a balanced diet, once you introduce 'treats', free range, extra activities or whatever else that % is for all intents is a useless measure...

With that said an average laying layer needs about 17-20 grams of good protein a day, and that is what is important not a percentage printed on the bag unless that dry feed is the sole diet used... Also as said that percentage of a balanced diet is an average for production birds, a bird that is molting for example will benefit with more protein, while an older hen that isn't laying as often could likely get by with a little less...

Also excess protein is easy for the birds to pass, it results in wasted protein and more stinky poop but it's not really a problem for the bird if it's fed excess protein as long as it's still getting a balanced diet...

That said you have to balance the protein intake with the other required nutrients and make sure the birds feed intake for the day is balanced, one could easily feed a chicken three hard boiled eggs a day and meet their protein (and many other required nutrients) each day, but that is not a balanced diet on it's own in the long run...
Quote:
A thing to watch with the cat food is the salt content

Honestly it's not that much of concern... A lot of 'better' cat foods do not contain any added salt beyond what is in the ingredients, read the label if you are concerned, but in the end the amount of salt in the cat food is no where near harmful levels especially when cut 1:3 or 1:4 into chicken feed... The same with many other 'baddies' in cat food, moderation is a big factor in any diet, especially for essential minerals like salt...

Here is a copy and paste from a previous post of mine on salt toxicity concerns...
Quote:
Like many of the 'do not feed' things the level of toxicity of salt is not as much of a concern as some pretend it to be moderation is key...

You would have to feed the chickens high levels of salt to cause any real harm, an occasional and moderate dosage of salt isn't any more harmful then a chicken that free ranges in a coastal area where salt is all over everything... It's all about moderation, a little extra salt here and there isn't going to cause any harm, especially if they have plenty of fresh water to wash it out of their systems...

It's when you have high levels of sale and/or limited fresh water or a diet constantly high in salt that you see problems...

This is a horrible scan but it still is readable... https://archive.org/stream/toxicityofsaltfo00mitc/toxicityofsaltfo00mitc_djvu.txt

If you gloss over it you will see that chickens given 4 grams of salt twice daily appeared to do fine, that is a lot of salt, this is about about 1.5 teaspoons of pure salt a day!

Consider this for a practical measure, your average chicken should consume about 3/4 -1 cup of dry feed a day if it's the sole diet... I suggested about a 1:3 or 1:4 supplement of dry cat food, aka about 1/4 cup of cat food to 3/4 cup chicken feed per day, or about 25 grams (I just weighed it out) of dry cat food per day... Reading the above linked article it suggest up to 8 grams of salt a day causes no observed ill effects... So when you are only feeding 25 grams of dry cat food, unless that cat food is in excess of 33% salt it's likely not going to be harmful, and no cat food has anywhere near that level of salt in it as it would be intolerable, seawater is only 3.5% salt...

Also when I suggested cutting cat food with the feed, it is suggested as a 'stop gap' test to see if the protein level is the problem, if it is determined to be the problem a better long term solution is to simply get a higher percentage balanced poultry feed...
Edited by MeepBeep - 2/4/16 at 2:09pm
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicklover 1998 View Post
 

A thing to watch with the cat food is the salt content when I need to boost protein I add either feather fixer or meat bird starter grower because it has higher protein, I have one that just likes feathers, she won't pull them out but if a roo breaks off a feather she will eat that feather

 

Feather Fixer is only 18% protein so unless your feeding a 16% feed feather fixer isn't going to boost protein. 

A meat bird grower is about 24% protein so that's better.

 

9 times out of 10 if chickens are eating feathers there looking for animal type proteins/ amino acids not just a high protein percentage.

 

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Breeding Large Fowl Single and Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds to APA Standard


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NPIP # 31-516
Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities http://sppa.webs.com/

Breeding Large Fowl Single and Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds to APA Standard


"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares." – 

George Washington

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post #27 of 27

For all the reasons mentioned above, those are why I prefer fish as a temporary protein boost. No need to worry about the ingredients in cat food the chickens don't need. No worry about amino acid balance - it contains a complete complement of all the essentials. High in omega 3 fatty acids and no slouch in vitamins and minerals departments.

The price of a 15 oz. can of mackerel is less than a pound of dry cat food.


Edited by ChickenCanoe - 2/5/16 at 4:34am

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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