are my chickens getting enough protein

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lisamcconnell, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. lisamcconnell

    lisamcconnell In the Brooder

    Jun 23, 2008
    I do have another question regarding protein for laying hens. I just started making my own mix. It includes wheat grass seeds, barley, oats, peas, flax seed, and sunflower seeds. I had planned on giving red wiggler worms as the protein source but it will be a while before I have enough worms to start feeding. My chickens are free range all day long. Do you think I should find another protein source in the mean time or are they getting enough protein from their mix and foraging?

  2. ronniega1

    ronniega1 In the Brooder

    Jul 11, 2008
    vidalia ga
    i have heard of feeding them the dry soft cat food i used to feed them to my poultry when i lived in north carolina, but i have not started feed my new babies this yet...but i intend to the others loved it....ronnie:cd
  3. BearSwampChick

    BearSwampChick Chicken Sensei

    Jan 10, 2008
    Marysville, OH
    I think most people give their chickens cat food only if they've been under some stress, such as after molting. Chicken feathers consist of a high percentage of protein, so it helps grow them back faster. Your hens should be getting enough protein, I think. I'm no expert though.
  4. ashyannehand

    ashyannehand Songster

    Jun 25, 2008
    Wade, Mississippi
    Sounds a little crazy, but I give mine leftover chicken cut up or shredded. They love it. [​IMG]

    I also give them cooked beans, another good source of protein.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
  5. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    My girls got a few nibbles of their cousin...
    ...I mean CHICKEN...
    last night.

    (It was store bought & I burned it on the BBQ.)
  6. andy

    andy Songster

    May 7, 2007
    oh sounds nice,,, i might eat my cousin tommorow,,lol
  7. geareduplyn

    geareduplyn Songster

    Jun 2, 2008
    Salley SC
    Feeding earthworms is not good. They may be getting enough protein from free ranging, but if you want a steady supply of eggs a good layer mix should contain from 16 to 22 percent protein, along with a calcium supplement. Do you have a copy of "Feeds and Feeding" by Morrison?
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    If you followed a recipe or kept track of the volume of the ingredients you mixed together, you could probably look it up on one of the internet sites. You'd be looking for the total percent of protein in the feed and I'd also calculate the methionine amounts, as that amino acid tends to be limited in plant based protein. The sunflower seeds have some, but I don't know how much. Your red wigglers also contain it. If you're short, I think fish also works or any animal protein. You could also look at insects that can be cultured. I'm sure there's a site available online that has details of what the nutritional requirements of chickens are, so you know what you are aiming for.

    In general, your ingredients sound good, there's just no way to have an answer without doing a little math.
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Lisa, it would be hard to say if the hens are getting sufficient protein. Grain and seeds vary by variety and field with regards to protein. Processing also changes the nutrients available.

    With a lot of feed on their range, they could be better than just OK, nutritionally. That looks to me like a healthful mix but proportions count.

    Here's information from the USDA National Nutrient Database. You'll find that oats are about 17% protein. Flaxseed is about 18%.

    Here's a link to "Nutrient Requirements of Poultry" from the National Research Council - check out the "Nutrient Requirements of Chickens" info. It gets a little complex following these foods, nutrients, and requirements very far.

    Having a healthful selection and wide choice should help the hens a good deal.

  10. lisamcconnell

    lisamcconnell In the Brooder

    Jun 23, 2008
    ah, don't want to do the math! But I will! Just seems like it shouldn't be so complicated.

    anyone know if it matters whether protein comes from vegetarian source or meat source?

    thanks everyone for your responses!


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: