20% all flock feed

Unsworth

Songster
6 Years
Jan 19, 2015
52
49
116
South Central Michigan (Parma)
I have been feeding my laying hens 20% all flock feed. They seem to like it and are laying eggs very well right into winter. I am in Michigan were it gets quite cold. I have 21 hens and am getting 19-21 eggs a day - nearly full production. I do pamper them by giving them a treat every day in addition to their feed. Does any body else have an opinion on or experience using 20% protein all flock feed for their laying hens?
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,686
13,676
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I feed 20% to my flock and am not displeased with it, but have not made a scientific cost/benefit ratio analysis as to whether what I would save at 16% layer is made up for in improved bird health, egg production weight gain on my ducks for table, etc at 20% feed.

I can ABSOLUTELY say that in terms of benefit to me in needing only one feed for my flock, not needing to segregate for feeding purposes, not needing to maintain stocks of multiple foods, etc, the 20% is a superior choice for me, my lifestyle, and my desired time investment in my birds. (Flock in Sig below - its "mixed")
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,799
11,393
611
North Florida
I feed flock raiser or grower at 18 -20% all the time and have for many years.
I feel it's better for mixed ages and sexes since they are not being forced to consume calcium that they may not need in layer feed. You should have oyster shell available in a separate feeder all the time so that those that do need the calcium can take what they need.
I have not had any health issues from this level of protein, my hens lay fine, my egg quality is very good. I feel my birds do better on it. It greatly simplifies things when you have roo's, and hens raising chicks, and older birds that seldom or no longer lay, that everyone can be fed all the same thing all the time. My oyster shell feeders sometimes stay full for quite a while, and then other times get emptied quickly, which tells me that feeding this way is the way to do it, they take it when they need it. Right now with the shorter days only my youngest birds are laying, so the oyster shell is lasting a while.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,686
13,676
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I use the higher protein feed when my gals are molting for feather growth. I've read somewhere that high protein diets on a regular basis is not good for the chickens.

Curious as to sourcing on that. Also, what specifically, is meant by "high". If seen good info from studies (and its accepted industry wisdom) that high protein (24%+) diets are associated with increased incidence of "angel wing" in ducks and similar fowl, particularly when given at a young age during their highest rates of growth.

I've seen no similar information on chickens, and in fact for meaties (admittedly, no plan that they live long, those) its not uncommon to se higher protein feeds (20-22%) to bulk them up quickly for table. In fairness, that almost invites debate over how much of the CornishX' infamous health issues are related to their genetics, and how much is related to feeding practice. I have personal anecdotes supporting both sides of that discussion.

So, what's your source, I'd love to learn more!
 

wolfwalker

Songster
Dec 21, 2018
673
3,000
216
Cochise county Arizona
I feed an all flock 20% feed and have free choice oyster shell available. But I am a breeder, so that means I have roosters in with the gals and they are harmed by the high calcium in layer feed. As a breeder, a higher percentage feed is critical for high fertility and good outcome of hatching.
I had a chance to talk to a Vet who works for the poultry farms once. She told me that the common so called wisdom of feeding a 16% feed comes from the big industries that did a ton of research to come up with a formula to get the most eggs for the least cost in feed. So for years we have been trained that 16% is the magic number. She felt that there was no damage or health issues arising from feeding a higher protein feed around 20%, just no cost benefits according the the test results from the studies. But then again the big producers swap out hens at molting to keep production going.
I have 3 year old Brahma's that still lay an egg 4 times a week on 20%. And surprise no surprise, my ladies who go through molt do not stop laying, just slow down and have no health issues from laying during molt. Plus they seem happier and I have had zero issues with pecking or feather pulling during or before molting.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
8,438
37,004
933
Belding, MI
I have 20% all flock with OS and egg shells on the side too, as I have a cockerel. All my birds are about 9 months, and the three pullets are going through a partial molt. They aren't laying at all, so Wolfwalker, I'm jealous. I figure I might start getting eggs around my birthday in February. Sigh.

TSC doesn't have much choice on the all flock feeds. The only one they had when I needed more was Nutrina Naturewise. Any comments on that feed?
 

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