Dumb Question Of The Day!!!!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TwoCrows, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Ok...so I feed my chickens a 20% protein feed. They don't actually "free range" however they have huge gardens in which to mill around in all day. So they eat other things other than layer feed.

    So my dumb question is....How much feed does a chicken eating 20% protein feed have to eat to get 20% protein from it? If they eat less than the suggested serving of food, do they get less than 20% and if they eat more than that serving do they get more than 20%???

    Thanks all. I have always wondered how all this works! [​IMG]
     
  2. missydcpc

    missydcpc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Without the free-ranging, assuming that you are feeding a pelletized feed, 1 bite. Assume the pellet is a jar. You fill the jar with 40% flour, 20% sugar, 20% chocolate chips. If you could eat the whole jar in one bite, you'd have the above quantities of each.
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    So each bite provides the said amount of protein....Hmmm. Interesting. Thanks for the reply!
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    But wait a minute....How much does a chicken need to eat of a layer feed to be getting enough protein? I mean one bite is certainly not enough protein to form an egg? Is there a serving size per say for chickens?
     
  5. dirtsaver

    dirtsaver Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's why it's important not to feed much scratch or other low nutrient food to them. Chickens that free-range seem to know what they need and get a lot of very high protein from bugs,worms and the like. But....they are just like any of us......put candy or cake or pie in front of us and we forget about our veggies!
     
  6. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Actually, I think that your question is a very good one, and not in the least dumb. -- as an aside, I once had a great boss who said 'the only dumb question is the one that doesn't get asked'-- would it be nice if the whole society was that enlightened?

    But back to the subject at hand. I'm not sure that I really have 100% faith in the store bought feeds. Grant you if they say 20% protein, then the total volume or weight or however it is formulated is 20% protein, but I do think that the chix would need a significant amount (beyond one bite) to get the protein percentage.

    Chickens do know what they need and what they relish (insects let's say) and they balance their diet in the garden......but, I think that possibly unless their only source of feed is the 20% chicken feed, then they are getting a variety. Let's say a 3% variation on the 20%, I also think that we want optimum nutrition for our chickens, but we can over-analyze the process.

    Probably the 20% protein would be that feed diet averaged out over a period of time....like the entire feed period that the bag was used.

    Fortunately, layers only need about 16-18% protein for good laying performance. Then there is the dilemma of winter when hens need some nutrition for warmth, and have less time to get that nutrition unless there is artificial lighting because the days are shorter.

    So if the hens that you have are getting feed that is 20% and they have access to the garden---they should be doing very well and get plenty of protein even if it varies somewhat from day to day. (what happens once they have eaten all the grubs and grasshoppers in that part of the garden?--they have a bit lower protein on that day....Or vice versa, they have more on the day when they find lots of grasshoppers to chomp)

    ETA - If you want some interesting information about the protein in your chickens feed and how to change it as needed, you may want to google 'Pearsons Square'. It tells what volumes you mix to get the protein content you are aiming for. Of course this would be feed only and not factor in the forage.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  7. secuono

    secuono Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Virginia
    Well, I know how much ducks eat in a day to sustain weight. But as for chickens, I fill the two feed troughs and call it a day. They may or may not eat all of it. Really depends on if they are locked up for 2 days, free ranging most of the day or skipped a meal. I have 30-35 chickens, mainly bantams, and about 2 gallons worth of pellets will only last one day if they miss a day's worth of feed, locked up or not. I may have 5 acres, but they only have 1/3 to use, since my horses and sheep need to be fenced out[pony will go into the coop to eat everything and the sheep are tiny and I don't want to risk them so close to the road. I hope to change the fence to allow the chickens to go through, they can always jump the fence. Chickens need over head shelter and a bit of ground/side cover to feel 100% safe, my birds will not go anywhere/travel far unless there is adequate shelter in case danger shows up. Thus, even with 5 acres, they use very little as most is pasture for horses and sheep to graze.


    I think of the protein on bags of feed like human nutrition charts. But, I am not sure if its for one whole day, per meal[like people] or per a whole bag. I wish I could find that out.
     
  8. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Thank you all for your responses! This was just a curiosity question really. I am knew to chickens as of last spring, so I am learning many new things on this site! But I have noticed, however that my chickens have their days when they eat quite a bit of layer feed, and other days they can snub their noses at it. And being that it is the dead of winter, cold, no bugs, no fresh greens growing, etc..I sometimes wonder what they are eating out there and find the need to only eat small amounts of their layer feed. I have been spreading alfalfa hay leaves around every few days so they can forage for greens, and it may be on those days I first spread it that they are getting tons of seeds and leaves from the hay.

    I have been thinking about making a homebrew of feed for them and I myself, being a health nut, want to feed my girls the best food possible. I would like to get away from processed foods and I am looking into it now.

    Thanks everyone for your great responses!!...Leyla [​IMG]
     

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