Adding protein

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by Deerslayer901, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. Deerslayer901

    Deerslayer901 Out Of The Brooder

    62
    2
    41
    May 15, 2014
    hi. I am noticing my chickens pecking other chickens feathers out. And have heard that means they need more protein. Is there something I can add to their feed. I currently feed scratch
     
  2. matt44644

    matt44644 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,490
    111
    168
    Sep 14, 2014
    Sanilac County,Michigan
    Is that all that you are feeding is scratch?
     
  3. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

    5,896
    6,468
    441
    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    Chickens need a complete feed like layer pellets or layer crumble for laying hens.
    There are many brands on the market and various protein levels in each brand, usually 16, 18 or 20 %.
    I prefer Nutrena Feather Fixer for my laying hens during the winter since they molt in the fall.
    http://www.nutrenaworld.com/products/poultry/naturewise-poultry/feather-fixer/
    I feed a 16% pellet during the spring, summer and fall.
    http://www.nutrenaworld.com/products/poultry/naturewise-poultry/naturewise-layer16/index.jsp

    Something to remember is every veggie or treat given will lower the protein intake so if you give a lot of treats you may need to use a 20% layer feed or add other proteins to correct the balance.

    I feed scratch in limited quantities as a TREAT ONLY.

    Meal worms are a great protein boost but they are very expensive.
    Mackrel is another option for adding protein to the chickens diet. It can be found at the dollar tree as well as the grocery store. I would use it sparingly as a treat only since I have read it can give the eggs an odd taste if fed to much.

    I am sure there are more options for adding protein. I know others with more experience will chime in as well.
     
  4. Deerslayer901

    Deerslayer901 Out Of The Brooder

    62
    2
    41
    May 15, 2014

    Thanks very much. I just switched about a week ago not even thinking it would do anything. I'll go back to layer pellets
     
  5. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

    5,896
    6,468
    441
    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    You are welcome. I know the chickens love scratch (just like a kid with cookies). Moderation is the key.

    I hope all goes well with your group.
     
  6. DrMikelleRoeder

    DrMikelleRoeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    132
    7
    50
    Nov 3, 2014
    Hi Deerslayer901,

    Apologies for the delayed response!

    As some others on this thread have suggested, scratch feed alone doesn’t support the complete nutrition profile your birds need. It is very deficient in protein and has no fortification with vitamins or minerals. Getting your birds onto a fully fortified complete feed will be step one in the process of eliminating the pecking behavior.

    However, there may be other issues contributing to stimulating this pecking behavior. Pecking is a common response to a number of stressors, and stress can come in many shapes and forms.

    You can re-evaluate your nutrition program, but I’d suggest also looking into the following:

    Space – Make sure your birds have a minimum of 4 sq.ft./bird indoors and 10 sq.ft./bird outdoors. Adequate feeder and waterer space is also very important.
    Predators - There may be an unknown predator lurking around at night, keeping the birds awake and stressed out. Remember, where there is pecking, there is blood, which can compound a predator situation. Also, “predator” does not necessarily mean wild animal – cats and even dogs can be efficient and frightening predators to a chicken.
    Dominance -- as in pecking order -- is always a factor, and it may be that the really beat-up hen simply doesn't have enough places to hide from the other hens (which can get back to issues of space). Or you may have a very dominant hen that simply needs to be removed from the pen.
    External parasites that irritate the hens and internal parasites that rob them of nutrients can be stressors.
    Lighting that is too bight or on 24/7 can create stress for your birds. A 40-watt bulb for every 100 square feet of coop is usually sufficient. Make sure your birds are receiving 16 to 17 hours of light and 7 to 8 hours of restful darkness to maintain a healthy, productive flock.

    Pecking is the symptom that something is amiss; the challenge is to figure out what.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by