Can you buy fish meal to boost protein in feed? Worried about protein!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by shandiane78, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. shandiane78

    shandiane78 Songster

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    My local feed/farm supply store sells different types of chicken feed, but they are all 16% protein or lower. I have a couple hens that were laying before I got them, but it's been over 2 weeks here and no eggs. I wonder if they're getting enough protein? They're about 6 1/2 months old and are eating layer crumbles (16%).

    My other hens are younger...Not even sure how young but I would guess 4-5 mos old. They have not laid at all, but are eating the same layer crumbles as the others (which I now know is not recommended). I worry that they might not be growing properly on this feed.

    Sorry to be long winded. I'm just new to this, and I worry about them growing and developing properly. Honestly, some of the younger pullets look scrawny to me. So I was thinking if I could get some fish meal to mix in, that might improve the feed I have? Does anyone know of a good source, or if this is a good idea?

    Oh, I forgot to say, they also free range eating grass and bugs, and I feed them table scraps as well. When I feed them beef they go NUTS for it, which is one reason I thought maybe they're lacking protein.

    Thanks,
    Shannon
     
  2. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Songster

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    The hens that are laying should be fed a layer crumble. The rest should be getting grower. Don't let the younger ones get the laying feed because it has too much calcium in it and can damage their kidneys. Treats and scraps should be about 3% of their diet. They need the vitamins and minerals the feed provides. If you are worried about protein, feed them scrambled egg that has been cooled and mixed with cottage cheese.

    If they haven't been wormed you might want to consider that. Also check them for lice and mites. They can suck so much blood and make them so miserable that they will die.

    The hens might not be laying if it is very hot or they are under stress. Feed stores also sell poultry vitamin powder that you mix with their water or you can go to firststatevetsupply.com for vitamins.
     
  3. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Songster

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    Oh by the way......don't feed fish meal. The eggs will have a fishy taste.
     
  4. shandiane78

    shandiane78 Songster

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    Thank you purpletree23. I hadn't thought about fish meal giving the eggs an off taste. I also don't know anything about parasites. Would they be obvious if I pick up a chicken and look under her feathers and whatnot? Also wondering about worms...If the chickens had worms, would there be some evidence in their droppings or some other way to tell?

    About the layer feed...How bad is it really for the younger pullets to have (assuming they are 16-20 wks old)? I'm not sure how I could give the older ones layer feed and keep the younger ones away from it. I suppose I could buy grower feed and offer oyster shell on the side, but I just bought a 50# bag of organic layer pellets...

    Thanks again!
    Shannon
     
  5. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Oh on the feeding, if your layers are looking bad the other thing you can do in put them on a non-med. grower and feed them that. When that start to lay again you can add the calcium.

    Chris
     
  7. danielbrown

    danielbrown Songster

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    Quote:Mine get fish meal and the eggs don't have fishy taste. [​IMG]
    Have you had any personal experience with this happening?
     
  8. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    I have .,...ugg disugstin .
    Go to your bait store and get some mealworms (they are super simple to farm yourself > do a search on this forum for that) please note the necessity for FARMED (and not wild mealworms)
    You can also cook up some eggs and mix that in with the feed... give sunflower seed hearts and off live culture yogurt.
    Get a good quality general supplemeent like AVIA CHARGE 2000 (available online for purchase from McMurry or Strombergs) >this has methionine (protein amino acid).
    Please note that animal protein (incl excess fish protein > I say excess as it already may be in your processed commercial chicken feed) can up the risk of enteritis in your flock ... see here:
    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/201200.htm
     
  9. shandiane78

    shandiane78 Songster

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    Thanks everyone! The layers look great to me, but they aren't laying. The younger ones...I guess it's just hard for me to tell if they're growing at all. I've had them about a month and some of them just don't look to be filling out. I think I will get some grower feed for them and see if that helps. I also may get some of that protein powder you suggested, Chris. Because 16% doesn't seem optimal, and as far as I can tell, the feeds I've been buying don't have any animal protein, just plant proteins. I will also try to give more protein treats.

    Here's a picture of my flock. You can kind of see how the black australorp looks small and skinny...Especially compared to the black sex link over on the right.

    [​IMG]

    Shannon
     
  10. sjh

    sjh Songster

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    Give them anothe week or so. You upset there balance by moving them. Hens will stop for a short time when they are upset or scared. 16% layer is fine. I feed that get 8 to 10 ex large eggs every day. Very little in treats.
     

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