Daily carb and protein requirement per bird

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by shortstaque, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm rethinking my feeding and trying to move away from feeding pelleted feed for my egglayers. I would ultimatedly like to feed a mix based more on whole grains with a high protein supplement to round it out nutritionally. In the process of researching my options, I'm finding lots of info on how much processed rations (ie egglayer pellets or mash) a layer should eat a day, but it doesn't translate to the type of feeding I'd like to do. Does anyone know the carb and protein requirement per bird? I'm not talking the percentage, I know that should be in the mid to upper teens, but I'm trying to find about how much energy they need, so I know about what the proper ration would be per day per bird.
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    There are figures out there related to "a laying hen usually requires ______lb of feed per dozen eggs laid."

    I have googled it before- is this what you are looking for? If so, I can try to find it again.
     
  3. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Trouble is the kind of feed they are talking about is generally commercial, prepared feeds and thats what I am trying to move away from. I don't want to waste feed, and I want to encourage them to glean as much as they can from the pasture and forage. In the past I have offered free choice commercial ration all day. This has amounted to lots of waste. The dust left in the bowl after they have finished is incredible. As I try to move to a whole grain/seed/legume ration I was going to switch to feeding twice a day, each time serving them half their ration for the day. I have found some old fashioned feed formulas for 15 hens for 30 days, so maybe I'll adapt those figures. Most importantly, I want to make sure I am meeting their nutritional needs.
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Oh- what I have been doing is weighing the feed in the morning and evening- I remove all the food at night to see how many pounds per day they are eating.

    I think it depends on the weather, etc. Some days they seem hungrier than others.

    Yesterday they free ranged so much the whole flock of 83 only ate 4 1/2 lb of whole grain feed. The day before they ate 9 lb when they didn't free range but for a few hours.

    A LOT of mine are bantams, and not full grown (some are 6 months and laying though).
     
  5. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I find too that on the days they are out to free range, they eat next to nothing. When I moved my chickens from the hen house with a confined yard to the chicken tractor with non-stop access to fresh grass, their food consumption dropped 50%. It goes down even more when I let them out to free range for several hours in the afternoon/evening. The weather and my availability to keep an eye on them (we're in town, with no fence) keeps me from allowing them free range all the time, so I feel like the chicken tractor is the next best thing.

    I'm currently weening my girls off the pellets and mash and mixing it in with grains and a high protein supplement, and I'm finding that they are just picking out the corn and the oats and throwing the rest aside. I'm wondering what the best strategy is to get them to "finish their plates" so to speak. Thats one reason why I don't want to offer a 24/7 buffet, I'm afraid they will eat only the grains and not be getting all their nutrients.

    Weighing the food morning and evening, even just for a few weeks, sounds like a good way to figure out a baseline for how much they need.
     
  6. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Well I can tell you the recommendations for our commercial brown layer hens.

    They are red sex-links that average about 4.25 lbs per bird.

    The recommendation is about 20 grams of protein per bird at peak lay, with a metabolizable energy (ME) of 2900 kcal/ kg (1315 kcal/lb).
    That is for confined birds birds in a consistent environment of around 75 degrees. Cage free birds tend to eat about ten percent more. The birds eat to fulfill their energy requirements. If the feed is low in energy, they eat more. If the feed is high in energy they eat less. If it is cold out, they eat more. If it is warm out, they eat less. If they are running around they eat more, etc...

    That 20 grams of protein decreases slightly as the birds age, reach maturity, and start laying less.

    So figure out how much your birds are eating. If they are eating .25 lbs per day per bird what percentage of protein do we need to get that 20 grams of protein into them?

    .25 lbs is 113.4 grams

    20 grams of protein divided by 113.4 equals 17.6% protein.


    What if they are eating .28 lbs per bird per day?

    20 / 127 = 15.7% protein


    As they eat more (generally in wintertime) the percentage of protein goes down, as they eat less (generally in summertime) the percentage of protein needs to come up.

    Capiche?
     
  8. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That's exactly what I'm looking for!!! I spent hours on google getting nowhere. Thanks for the link!
     
  9. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Si, capisco! Grazie milletante!!!

    Thanks for the specific figures. So the extra carbs in the winter are to help them keep warm, makes sense. That's why they say not to feed scratch in the summer if I'm not mistaken.
     
  10. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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