Cat Food for Extra Protein?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Stina, May 15, 2009.

  1. Stina

    Stina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Allentown, PA
    I should have some seramas hatching over the weekend and I picked up some Purina Start & Grow for them...but its only 18% protein and pretty much everything I've seen about them says to mix the chick starter with a game bird starter to up the protein......would it be a bad idea to add a little bit of crushed cat food? My cat gets a mixture of Wellness Core and Nature's Variety Instinct (chicken and rabbit based) foods...all of it is about 50% protein...so I wouldn't add very much...but it is very very high quality food with natural ingredients. Any advice on this subject would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    There are several nutrients in cat food that are great for cats but that chickens do not need, or that can be harmful. OK as an occasional treat but not as routine protein supplement.

    Do a search on here about Purina feeds. Some are better than others, from what I have read. "Purina" does not necessarily mean high quality. I am afraid we have to be proactive consumers here, and that is not easy, because there really is not a lot of scientific information about chickens, as there is about cats and dogs.

    Some people here do use some game bird feed, but most probably just use chick starter. There is such a thing as too much protein. Sounds like you have some research ahead of you.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    BTW, if you are convinced they need extra protein, a safer solution would be plain meat and fish. You could buy the canned mackerel in the grocery store. You could give meat scraps from the table, or buy cheap cuts of meat, then chop or grind it. Milk products like yogurt or cottage cheese are used by some.
     
  4. Stina

    Stina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I actually have a strong dislike for Purina and really don't think much of any foods they make are high quality........but I procrastinated too long to hold out for finding a better starter. I will probably mix my own feed eventually...but for right now I'm trying to find the best way to supplement a bit of protein. I know full well that there is such a thing as too much protein....having done quite a bit of looking into mouse foods and finding nearly all foods marketed for mice are too high in protein and can cause all kinds of problems. I definitely have learning to do when it comes to chickens...but I am not completely clueless...I just didn't know if the cat food would be safe to add a very small amount or not (50% is a LOT of protein...). As far as meat additions...my dog eats raw...so I have meat handy at all times....I was just hoping for something easier. Actually the only reason my cat eats dry is b/c she refuses to eat raw.

    Do you know what nutrients specifically would be harmful to the chickens?...the ingredient lists/nutrient profiles for the cat food can be seen at these sites:
    Nature's Variety Instinct Chicken - http://www.naturesvariety.com/instinct_cat_kibble_chicken
    Nature's
    Variety Instinct Rabbit - http://www.naturesvariety.com/instinct_cat_kibble_rabbit
    Wellness
    Core - http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/cat_wellness_dry_core.html
     
  5. KattyKillFish

    KattyKillFish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2009
    Dillingham, Alaska
    yeah, i don't think it's a great ides to give them cat food. another good source of extra protein would be meal worms, crickets or silkworm larva. you can buy them live, canned or freeze-dried. mine LOVE chasing live crickets, so i recommend that. [​IMG]
     
  6. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you want to safely up the protein just use gamebird starter. Then you know the balance is good. LOL you'd be adding Wellness to Purina - which has to be some kind of sin. LOL pity Wellness doesn't make a chicken food.

    The problem with mixing yourself is that you aren't likely going to keep it fairly even in proportion and then the altering levels of protein is harder on small systems.

    That's why switching protein levels fast causes problems for some.

    I just feed gamebird starter to all my chicks and poults. I like the results since I have and won't go back.
     
  7. Stina

    Stina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you'd be adding Wellness to Purina - which has to be some kind of sin. LOL pity Wellness doesn't make a chicken food.

    lol...yeah no kidding... The Nature's Variety is actually even better than the Wellness food...so even more sin...lol

    Problem is that I couldn't find gamebird starter...that was what I was going to do....but I didn't find it anywhere locally...and its too late to order any now. I do have mealworms...but I know they will get loose from whatever type of dish I use and bury themselves in the bedding (I am trying the coconut bedding...will cover it with paper towels the first couple days). I also don't know how feeding mealworms or crickets and such would keep the protein level any more level than mixing in something that's a similar texture to the crumbles...

    Calculating to figure what I'd need to mix to get 26% protein, I would have 3 parts starter to 1 part cat food...which would mix pretty evenly if the cat food was ground to a similar texture. **shrug** I just don't know what else I can do to get the protein levels up without having varying levels. Adding the cat food would increase the protein, some of the vitamin levels, the fat, and calcium...and decrease fiber slightly. It would also be adding animal protein which is not included in the feed. And it would add some probiotics and veggies and herbs.

    Does anyone have, or know any place that there is, a list of foods toxic to chickens?...I can't find one anywhere...​
     
  8. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Christina at that amount you probably can use that cat food at that concentration. It doesn't have a lot of the "varied" (to put it nicely) ingredients in cheaper feeds.

    At least for long enough to find gamestarter or for the four weeks while they feather out faster on the higher protein food.

    While I'd really worry if you added something like purina kitten food, the holistic wellness shouldn't be problematic.

    One of the things in mammal feeds that can be hazardous to birds is higher concentrations of minerals, aka metals. Like zinc.

    However as omnivores, chickens can handle taurine and other meat related feed contents better than many birds. I'd definitely use the higher caliber feeds to add protein (and less cr*p) but it's not a bad idea when you can't get a gamestarter.
     
  9. Stina

    Stina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you know what levels of the minerals would be toxic?...or where I could find that information?
     
  10. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    See, that's the problem. Different species, different levels are safe and bags only list their being in the food, not the levels they are in there at.

    You could ask a local poultry extension agent who might know what is safe. But they wouldn't know the content in each species' feed or brand, and kitten varies from cat chow in levels as well. That's part of what makes it hard to determine what is safe.
     

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