Egg production and feed protein content

Chuckcluck

Songster
6 Years
Dec 8, 2013
39
35
102
Scottsdale, AZ
Has anyone looked at the relationship between feed protein and egg count? I have always used 16% protein feed and just after molt this year I switched to 21% protein and it seems like egg count is up. It’s more money but wanted to know if anyone else sees this and if it’s worth it.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,487
15,898
772
California's Redwood Coast
Has anyone looked at the relationship between feed protein and egg count? I have always used 16% protein feed and just after molt this year I switched to 21% protein and it seems like egg count is up. It’s more money but wanted to know if anyone else sees this and if it’s worth it.
Hi there. :frow

Too bad you didn't switch before molt.. they might have been in better condition going in and came out sooner! ;)

In fact that is the real difference I have seen seen switching away from using "layer" feed... and using 20% protein flock raiser... or sometimes up to 30% protein "turkey starter". (not recommended, just experimenting!). Also I offer my oyster shell on the side to allow for roosters, chicks, broody's, and juveniles or grow outs to all eat the same feed making it easier for me to not have to worry about someones needs not being met. I even raised ducklings on it!

Feathers are made from 90% protein and its AMINO ACIDS is why some folks switch to higher protein feed during molt. Avoiding the excess calcium that layer who produce eggs need is another reason.

The research I did says 22% protein was shown to give the highest hatch rates... which to me says more nutrients in the eggs my family is consuming!

Although it's true protein is more costly than other fillers or even oyster shell.. to me you do get what you pay for. How much production may go up or down is likely negligible to a back yarder. But to me the overall health of the flock and their immune system seems stronger... they just seem better to me... Egg production cannot make that up! A stronger flock is more resistant to parasites both internal and external! They are more resilient in the face of stress like a predator attack, move, or new additions. Less vet trips, or losses that need replacing, or funds spent fighting illness. I think (but can't prove) that it also adds to the general longevity. That 21%, is it a "breeder" formula, with the calcium around 4-5%? Have you already shared it with @Kiki for her spreadsheet?

I would contribute recent increases in production to be from the increase in sunlight, but that's me. I also think that there is only a maximum increase you can achieve no matter how many stops you pull out... you can provide for them to achieve at their maximum genetic potential... and nothing more.

Noting... not all protein is created equal and it's partly the amino acid content that counts. Some amino acid's need by chickens cannot be found in plant sources, and are usually added into our mostly vegetarian feeds synthetically. Some of the higher protein (and amino acids) game bird feeds I tried stunk heavily of soy... and I'm sorry, it was gross to me. :)

Now eggs are 34% protein and 64% fat according to calorie content for informational purposes.. since I was going to suggest it's also okay to give high protein snacks. Just beware of fat content if you go that way and keep treats to under 10% total ration.

Since the oyster shell I put on the side is no longer in my feed and it is much cheaper (than protein) and I go through a lot less.. so it helps some to wash out the cost difference between the two feeds for me between flock raiser vs layer in my location. Your right layer is cheaper here, also... by at least $2-3+ bag and that a lot when your flock get big. :oops: By shopping around I also save $2/bag by planning ahead and buying when I'm over that ways.

To answer your question though... to me, yes it's worth it but not because of increase to egg production but rather because of the increase in egg quality.. IF YOU can afford it. :cool:

Great topic, so many variables!:pop
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
12,134
83,665
1,402
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
I like to feed an 18% protein and 1% calcium as an all flock feed. I would echo what others above have mentioned, I can't say with any certainty that I get any more eggs; it doesn't matter to me so I don't keep track. But, feather condition is noticeably better than when feeding a layer feed at 14% to 16% protein.
Making a valid judgment even more unreliable is, since changing feed I've added more meat and fish to their diets. Where some use meal worms, or corn for treats I give tuna, sardines, walnuts and cooked meat, not all at once I might add. The chickens here free range and in general the forage is fair. There is a good variety of vegetation and while the ground isn't baked, plenty of bugs it seems.
There are a number of ways of combining amino acids to make a complete protein. the advantage of meat, fish and some eggs (Need to bear in mind EggSighted4Life comment regarding the fat content of eggs) is they supply a complete protein with extra amino acids in a fully digestible form as is.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom