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Can we talk protein?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by annmarie, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. annmarie

    annmarie Songster

    Nov 20, 2007
    I've got 2 hens going through the molt from hell, they're thin and miserable in just about every imaginable way, one in particular. Her immune system is lousy at the moment and it seems like everytime I get her perked up from one potential illness another one springs up. I think they're both in need of some major protein. I know that plain yogurt and black oil sunflower seeds are good sources. I've seen dry cat food discussed several times, but it sound like this one is controversial due to the sodium content. I've also seen tuna suggested, but I was wondering if sodium would also be a problem, though you can get "reduced sodium" tuna. Can I get some other suggestions of healthy protein sources, and some feedback on the sodium issue with cat food and possibly tuna? Also, is it possible to give them too much protein?
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I give my hens a little salmon twice a month. THEY LOVE IT!
  3. annmarie

    annmarie Songster

    Nov 20, 2007
    Quote:Mahonri, are you giving them canned salmon or fresh?
  4. 2468Chickensrgr8

    2468Chickensrgr8 Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    Sometimes i give my girls organic cottage cheese as a treat...
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I sometimes (esp. when they've been molting) feed meat scraps, well cooked obviously. Some people don't, some do. I figure they eat meat in nature so why not in the coop.

    Also hard-scrambled eggs are another good source of protein. I know of no credible reason to believe that feeding COOKED eggs encourages egg-eating, tho I suppose I might be a little more reluctant to do it with hens that'd had an egg-eating problem in the past.

    Heck, you can buy mealworms or crickets from the petstore, although it's *expensive* [​IMG]

  6. annmarie

    annmarie Songster

    Nov 20, 2007
    Thanks Pat, I forgot about the egg option. They're always very happy with a scrambled egg. Do you think one egg shared between 3 chickens is sufficient per day when they're low on protein, or should I feed more than that? I'll probably throw a dollop of yogurt on top too. They tend to inhale the thing in seconds!
  7. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Other than feathers on the ground where it looks like one has been killed (but hasn't been) I could not tell my chickens were molting. Okay, they stopped laying, another reason I knew. But as far as feeling good, my chickens never miss a beat.
    I feed only grains, seeds and natural foods. High protein in shelled sunflower seeds. I get it at the feed or pet store. Also, alfalfa meal is high protein. Flaxseed is great for protein as well as bugs, worms and cooked meat. They love to tear into a cooked chicken carcass once you think you have all the meat off of it.
    DH has been digging and turning the soil for the chickens to find all the earthworms and grubs and they follow him around as long as he has a shovel in his hand!
    But I also like to keep all the soiled eggs together and then when I have a large pot of them I boil them and crush them all up, shell and all to feed back to all my flocks.
    We try never to feed commercial feeds if we can at all possibly help it. And it shows.
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Gee, molting in January . . .

    I've fed rinsed canned tuna but cooked chicken or eggs are as complete a protein source as possible.

    Black oil sunflower seeds - hulled - are a very high veggie protein feed. With hulls, they aren't much higher than a lot of stuff - there is a lot of roughage. With any vegetable source, the balance isn't there without taking special care.

    Usually, in cold weather the trend would be towards chickens getting way more protein than they need with the higher food consumption. Trying to get enuf calories leads them to eat more feed than protein needs would require.

    What about just purchasing gamebird or starter feed and supplementing with that for awhile?

  9. RW19290

    RW19290 Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Southern California
  10. spatcher

    spatcher Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    Why not go to 20% for a while and see if it helps.

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