"Animal Protein" free chick starter

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by RonBaker, May 23, 2016.

  1. RonBaker

    RonBaker Just Hatched

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    Hi folks. We just got our little girls last week and we are using Brown's chick starter. The chicks are all doing great, but I noticed that it makes a big deal on the package about it being "animal protein" free, and I was just wondering, since I know protein is KEY to development, and that chickens are most certainly omnivores, why this would matter? Is it marketing to vegetarian chicken owners, or is there a reason you don;t want chicks to have animal protein? Will they get enough protein this way?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    This is a new trend in marketing, yes, similar to the packaged chicken that is sold in stores with labels proudly proclaiming the birds it came from were "fed an all natural vegetarian diet" -- if you take note of most feeds marketed for show birds, etc they will include animal protein (fish, pork, etc). Generally speaking, grain based diets are cheaper to produce - feed companies have found a clever way to market the use of plant protein as being beneficial or better than animal protein. The only legitimate concern was during the issues with mad cow disease when the inclusion of product from potentially infected animals could have posed a potential issue.
     
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  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Hey Ron, Welcome to BYC. You are a discerning shopper! You raise a valid point. Chickens have been thriving on animal protein for ever. Vegetarian feed is merely a marketing ploy. (IMO designed to dupe the customer into purchasing a product made with ingredients that are not in the best interest of the animal) Any time I have a bit of meat scrap left over in the kitchen, it goes to the dog or the chickens. None of my animals are vegetarian, and neither am I! (the only scraps I with-hold are ham or other highly salted stuff)
     
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  4. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The all vegetable feed was a knee jerk reaction to BSE and Avian Flu outbreaks. Where I live it is illegal to produce feed with animal proteins for animals intended for consumption. I couldn't buy non-vegetarian chicken feed if I tried. I also can't buy fish or bone meal for my homemade feed.
     
  5. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As a vegetarian, I appreciate not having animal protein in my chicken feed. I found a feed that didn't have it (but didn't advertise it either). They do get a fairly steady supply of insects and worms--both ones I buy/farm as well as those they pick up free ranging. I'm sure the occasional small critter will also get caught and devoured. That's just nature.

    My cats and dogs are not fed vegetarians diets, btw. Actually, the cats get a canned diet that is essentially all meat (+ vitamin mix). They're indoors and therefore not allowed to hunt--I must provide, so I do. They'll also reap the benefits if I get a mean roo that I don't want to inflict on someone else through rehoming.
     
  6. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My homemade feed is vegetarian with the exception of cod liver oil. I use it to supplement vitamin A.
     
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    This and other knee jerk reaction laws to things like 'mad cow' disease for fear it could be passed on by feed...

    Once these knee jerk laws were passed many big manufactures had little choice but to switch over their product to animal free if they wanted to be able to sell it nationally without making two products or regionally specific products... Many of those laws were eventually abolished (not all) but then came a trendy animal free vegan feed wave so many manufactures stuck with it and simply followed the trend... There is also the cost factor, plant proteins are cheaper and with cheap synthetic lysine and methionine additives it's easy to formulate vegetarian feeds for poultry while still addressing poultries amino acid needs that are normally derived from animal proteins...

    You might also notice that most feed companies use a sewn on feed tag vs printing it on the bag, this is because they have multiple feed formulas that they will rotate through based on availability by region or time of year... If it's not a feed that advertises animal free, one bag might have animal protein the next might not, it's quite common to see flip flopping...

    See the example bellow of two feed tags I scanned in from about a year apart... I highlighted the differences, notice that 'plant protein products' is omitted in one formula, and other things are added or subtracted to compensate...

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens are excellent converters of vegetable-based carotene into Vitamin A.

    My chicks that are big enough to free-range get plenty of that in the dark green leafy plants they eat. The little chicks in the brooder get supplemented with mashed hard-boiled egg their first few days, then after a week old get minced herbs and greens several times weekly as part of their daily treat regimen. Plenty of vitamin A above what my commercial feed provides :D The eggs used are from a friend's flock currently (soon they will be from mine! Combs are reddening...) so I know both how they're treated and how they're fed.
     
  9. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lost some chicks from the first batch I reared from vitamin A deficiencies so I prefer to play it safe. My research indicated beta carotene is an incomplete vitamin A source and that some source of retinol (vit A) was preferred. My outside birds get lots of bugs (it's hopper season!) and I give the babies in the coop and in the house a very small amount of mealworms every day but I still prefer to supplement.
     
  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Welcome to BYC!

    I prefer a feed with animal protein.

    -Kathy
     

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