20% grower for winter feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bigmommy, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. bigmommy

    bigmommy Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 12, 2008
    South Lyon, MI.
    I have 8 Silkies, and they are 4 months old. I have them on DUMOR FEED STARTER/GROWER.
    This is what the package says "Complete formula for starting and growing chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, quail, pheasant and chukar. Designed for chickens, ducks and geese from 0 to 10 weeks of age and turkeys, quail, pheasant and chukar from 6 to 12 weeks of age. Provides essential nutrients for optimum development. Additional vitamins and minerals are not required. Chick starter/grower 20%."
    The guy at the store said this will help them stay warmer and add fat as opposed to a layer or finisher feed with less protein.
    They don't look very fat to me.... healthy, but not obese.
    This chicken feeding thing is much more complicated then I thought it would be. Obviously they are my pets and I would like them to be healthy with plenty of fat to sustain them through out the winter......So... stay the same, or go with more protein, or less??? Also 6 of my 8 babies are roosters if that makes a difference on feed.
     
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    You'll probably get more than one idea on this issue. There's a fair amount of consensus on one thing however, feedstore guys seldom have the right answer on much of anything.

    Note however, the package already indicates that your 16 week-old chickens should be on a different feed. I don't know how important this is.

    I like to feed a higher protein feed just because I want to give the chickens other "stuff" like veggies. Vegetables are typically fairly low in protein so I'm diluting the protein of their overall diet. If their commercial feed is 20% protein, I figure I can give them quite a few veggies without harm.

    Energy is what is needed for cold weather. Measuring energy in feed is done by measuring calories - heat. Makes sense. High protein, in itself, doesn't necessarily give them more calories or keep them warmer. Alfalfa meal at 20% protein has half the calories as barley even if it has twice the protein.

    Increasing fats and carbs increases the energy available in the feeds. However, I think this can easily be taken too far. Maintaining adequate protein levels for egg production or growth becomes a concern.

    An old rule of thumb is that you throw 1% more feed over the fence for every °F below 32°. So, if it is down around -10° or colder - you are increasing feed by 50%. This is probably species-specific and tossing more hay to cattle may be one thing and giving more feed to chickens, something else but increasing the feed would be the most important issue to me. And, if the birds are given feed free choice - they can take care of that on their own [​IMG].

    Steve

    PS. Roosters? After they are finished growing, they can probably get by on lots less protein than the hens (who are actually doing something besides strutting around and crowing. [​IMG])
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  3. chickensforever

    chickensforever Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 16, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    Protein is very important, so it's not good to pick a feed low in protein. Chickens need about 16%, which is what most layer pellets provide. Since your's are 4 months old your 2 pullets will probably start laying soon and they'll need the protein. I give my hens some cracked corn on cold mornings to help give them additional energy, which heats them up if it gets cold, but I only do that to supplement their layer ration. You can also give them some in the evening to warm them up for the night.
     

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