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How much protein do hens need?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Our hens have been plucking feathers out of each other and eating them.  Do they need more protein in their diet?  They look healthy otherwise.  We free feed 18% pellets and they get some carrots, fresh grass and scratch too.  Too many treats?  Not enough regular food?  We could use the help of the long time chicken owners, Thank you.

post #2 of 17

Do you have a food scource availible to them at all times?  if not you may want one. Oh and I saw your location! I live near Pasorobles CA I live like 20 minuts away! I live in SLO!

Good Luck!

~ The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong w/ the world ~
"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." - Coco Chanel
-   I love Eddy the rooster - I have 90 Chickens, 3 turkeys,1 goose, and 1 peahen - Animal Rights is my Life

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

 

 
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~ The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong w/ the world ~
"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." - Coco Chanel
-   I love Eddy the rooster - I have 90 Chickens, 3 turkeys,1 goose, and 1 peahen - Animal Rights is my Life

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

 

 
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post #3 of 17

Cut back on the scratch, eliminate the carrots. Try mixing half gamebird crumbles/pellets with your lay ration and toss in a handful of crimped oats. The hulls are good for feather sheen and they usually consist of 9-11% protein. Take a Tablespoon of Red Cell per pound of feed, mix it up, and give it once or twice a week. If you are giving apple cider vinegar in the water more than once a week, stop. Apple cider vinegar given on a regular basis drains calcium out of the bird. Make sure they aren't too confined and have plenty of room to range.
 


Edited by Michael Apple - 3/9/13 at 9:02pm

The Status Quo always sucks!

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The Status Quo always sucks!

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post #4 of 17

2 x on what Michael said.  The only thing that I could add is keep a 20% laying ration with 10% Calf Manna and 10% of a good quility small chunk dry dog or cat food in front of your hens at all times.  Hens that pull and eat roosters' hackle and saddle feathers are usually displaying a protein shortage or else they need minerals.

Keep your chickens safe from predators, buy and wear fur. 
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Keep your chickens safe from predators, buy and wear fur. 
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post #5 of 17

I'm experiencing a similar situation where all the tail feathers have picked off of two of the hens (2 out of 14). I checked for mites and feel that they have enough coop and day yard room (realizing that the hens have not read any of the chicken help books and decide for themselves how much room they need). Almost daily they get fresh weeds and leaves while clearing our large garden, and free-choice 17% protein, organic soy-free feed. 

 

Another poster on this forum suggested they might not be getting enough animal protein. Right now I have a Cooper's Hawk problem, so have not be letting the chickens out of their day yard to eat bugs. However, being winter in Virginia there are not many bugs around yet. So, I've been giving them three scrambled or hardboiled eggs a day (three eggs for the flock of 14 hens). 

 

I also put some of the blue antiseptic on their tails to help hide the raw skin.

 

These two actions are starting to help as the skin is looking less raw (the blue wears off in a day or two).

 

Good luck.

post #6 of 17
Boss is a good source of protein too. I started giving a handful or two of boss to everyone a couple of days b4 putting roo in with girls. All winter I would get 2 eggs a day from 3 rir pullets. I pinpointed the girl that wasn't laying. A few days after adding roo all the girls were laying. At 1st I thought my particular girl just wanted the roo around to jumpstart her laying again! Then I realized WHEN I started giving boss and she probably just needed more protein than the others to keep up production:-) She's the biggest plump pullet.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cknldy View Post

Boss is a good source of protein too. I started giving a handful or two of boss to everyone a couple of days b4 putting roo in with girls. All winter I would get 2 eggs a day from 3 rir pullets. I pinpointed the girl that wasn't laying. A few days after adding roo all the girls were laying. At 1st I thought my particular girl just wanted the roo around to jumpstart her laying again! Then I realized WHEN I started giving boss and she probably just needed more protein than the others to keep up production:-) She's the biggest plump pullet.

BOSS is 16% protein & doesn't really up the protein except if you give it instead of corn etc.

post #8 of 17
Their laying feed has 16% protein so when boss is given too it ups the protein level. It's like adding meat, scratch or yolks for added protein in winter:-)
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cknldy View Post

Their laying feed has 16% protein so when boss is given too it ups the protein level. It's like adding meat, scratch or yolks for added protein in winter:-)

16% feed plus 16% BOSS equals 16%.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi to my new SLO friend.  Thank you for answering my thread.  Yes the girls are free feed.  They seem healthy and we average about 11 eggs a day from 15 hens.  Today I had 13 eggs, they just have the feather thing going on.  Thanks for the adivce.

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