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In a layer feed is 17% protein enough?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm switching over to all organic layer feed now that my girls are laying. Before they were on a grower organic feed with 19% protein. I've noticed the layer ration is now 17% protein. Will this be enough protien for layers? Please answer. Thank you. I'm just concerned about the reduction of the protein it's not by much only 2% but I am wondering why the reduction? Do they need less now that they are laying? Thank you again for your help.
post #2 of 6

It's enough.  But, with this caveat.  See how your birds do on any new feed regime.  If see a size reduction in eggs or reduction in count, if you see less quality to the feathering, etc. these are signs that while it may be adequate it does not put the life and sparkle into your birds that you desire.

 

 

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post #3 of 6
19% Grower is a bit strange. Most of the Grower I see is 16% to 18% protein. Most layer is 16% to 18% also but then I don’t do organic. I seriously doubt that there is anything that makes “organic” protein inefficient or defective.

In my opinion if you are feeding them a feed with protein between 15% and 20% they will do fine. If you are feeding them a lot of treats on the side that are low in protein, then a high (19% or 20%) might be a good idea. If you are feeding them a lot of high protein treats, then the lower range might be a good idea. 16% is generally accepted by most people as enough for a backyard laying flock but anywhere between 15% and 20% will keep them healthy.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
It is a organic feed both the grower and layer maybe that's why the difference in protien. Thank you for your comments.
post #5 of 6

here is WHY there is a difference. Grower is meant to do just that... Supply nutrients to help promote growth. Chickens will grow slightly faster and put on slightly more weight when fed a higher protein. Unfortunately, protein is rather expensive to buy for the supplier, so it will cost more. Layer feed is meant to help support a hen to lay eggs as well as possible. There is a significantly higher level of calcium (which can cause problems with growth in chicks, hence why you see lower levels in grower). Protein is not as important to an egg layer, so in order to cut costs, there is less protein. You might also notice that layer is generally less expensive then grower, making it more economical for people who keep chickens primarily for eggs.

 

Now, saying that, I do find that even my girls do much better on a higher protein feed, so if you feel your girls are not quite as healthy or active looking, your not crazy or imagining it. You have  couple of options to look at. You could stay with the layer and try and supplement with extra food to up the protein. (eggs, meat, bugs, certain plants). Personally, this is the least attractive to me because you really run a risk of coming up with a very unbalanced diet. I would suggest on of the other two options, both of which would be much better if you also supply calcium on the side for the hens to eat from if they so chose. You can buy layer feed and mix it with grower. This would be a lower cost then the third option, but not the full protein as previously. The third option is go back to straight grower. Calcium on the side is really necessary here and this option will cost the most.  

 

Only on a personal option, i chose the second option, but instead of using grower, i use a game bird feed, that is 23% protein (here it only runs $.50 more a bag and allows me to use less to up my protein to 19%, which is where my girls thrive). It ends up being the most cost effective way for me to reach a level of protein that is best for my girls while keeping costs down.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice. That makes perfect since. I just might mix grower with layer to increase the protein. My organic grower is 19% the layer is 17% but I'm going to have to wait a bit to order the grower until I get paid because I just ordered the layer. I order it online from a organic supplier in VA. I'm in California so it takes awhile to get here. I think that might just be the best for me and my girls. This way they won't loose their protien. Thank you again for your help! They are doing quite well on their 19% and I hate to reduce it.
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