Featured Enhanced Protein Feed - Winter?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Ted Brown, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Ted Brown

    Ted Brown Songster

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    I am pretty certain that I have read that during the winter it is best to provide enhanced protein feeds to help them withstand the colder temperatures (I get -10C to -15C on average December through March with occasional multi day plunges as low as -30C) and encourage continued egg laying.

    I have been augmenting their normal mash feed (16% protein) with fresh vegetable scraps and a weekly treat of scrambled eggs but the vegetable portion will diminish through the winter.

    I have 7 pullets about 26 weeks old and 8 chicks between 5-6 weeks old. Currently I provide separate food source for the chicks placed in their in-coop brooder; this is enhanced grower feed having 22% protein content.

    My question: I am running out of the layer mash feed and will need to purchase more in the next days. I am wondering if I should just consolidate to the enhanced protein growth feed for the winter. If yes is there other feed content that I should check to ensure the layers get what they need?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  2. Sara Ranch

    Sara Ranch Songster

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    I feed all birds (turkeys, guineas, ducks, chicken) the meat bird feed (higher protein) all year long.

    I ferment the feed so that more nutrients are better absorbed by the birds.

    The fermented feed is fed to baby chicks too.

    I would suggest doing the higher protein feed for ALL of the birds. It's safe. It's good for them. And it's only one type of feed to buy! :) You might need to offer calcium on the side for the older chickens.

    And do what you can to keep the 5 week old chicks WARM! They aren't fully feathered yet. :)
     
  3. Ted Brown

    Ted Brown Songster

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    @Sara Ranch Thank you.

    My hope was that I would buy one feed for all the birds, sounds like that is possible. I already have crushed oyster shell available in a separate container, will continue with that.

    I have read in passing about fermentation but know nothing about it, will now do some research to get details.
     
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  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

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    I feed Flock Raiser, a 20% protein feed, to everyone, with separate oyster shell always available. This feed is available fresh (within four weeks of milling, at least) where I shop, and has worked well for my chickens.
    Feeding one thing to everyone all year is easiest!
    Mary
     
  5. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

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    Extra protein is actually more important in summer when the birds eat less. It won't hurt either way.
     
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  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

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    On the contrary. Protein needs remain relatively steady year round. They need more energy in winter than in summer. That comes from carbohydrates, starches, sugars and fats.
    An adult bird (depending on the bird's size needs about 21 grams of protein a day. Perhaps a bit more prior to and during the productive season. A bit less when they are out of production.
    Excess protein from what they can use for body function and maintenance is wasted. It puts a burden on the liver and kidneys to expel it and it ends up in the bedding as ammonia.
     
  7. Ted Brown

    Ted Brown Songster

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    @Cindy in PA @ChickenCanoe

    I very much appreciate BYC for the knowledge that one can find although two issues arise: differing opinions and difficulty finding what one wants when it is needed.

    In this case , because it corresponds with what I have read previously AND credentials speak louder, I will accept the opinion that protein matters more during the winter.

    Now I have to figure out whether the enhanced protein feed I am propose to use exceeds 22 grams per day.

    Thanks to everyone that has responded to this thread.

    Ted
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

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    You will see lots of differing opinions here. I'm amazed by the number of people who recommend extremely high protein for chickens. Some that should know better. It may be OK if they feed a lot of treats and scratch which lowers the overall protein.
    Chickens aren't gamebirds and don't need nor can they utilize those high protein figures.
    The bulk of a game bird chick or poult diet is animal protein. Chicken chicks eat similar things in the wild but also a high percentage of seeds and vegetation. Regardless of species, enhanced amino acids are vital for baby birds. As they mature, that requirement goes way down. And at different rates depending on species.
    Methionine, Cystine and Lysine are the first three limiting amino acids in feed ingredients.
    Insufficient amounts come from a soy/corn based diet. In poultry feeds, checking the ingredient list will show that at least 2 amino acids are added in synthetic form in a vegetarian feed.
    High protein doesn't necessarily provide sufficient levels of those important amino acids. A feed ingredients can be high in protein yet deficient in essential amino acids.
    So in short, some amino acids may be supplied in excessive amounts which are excreted while others are deficient.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  9. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    You're man @ChickenCanoe has it right.
    Protein is important but unless you have first lay pullets your hens are unlikely to be laying in the winter months and its the egg laying that makes the heaviest demand on protein.
    I understand that chickens are much like humans with regard to protein digestion and use; there is only so much they can absorb in a given period of time so any excess to requirements gets excreted. As mentioned above, making sure the correct balance of amino acids is in the protein is vital as well as having the enzymes to digest it.
    What chickens may need in cold climates is easy burn carbohydrates. Proteins are comparatively slow to digest and don't release energy as quickly as carbohydrates.
    The much maligned cracked corn easy an easy way to supplement a chickens carbohydrate needs.
     
  10. Ted Brown

    Ted Brown Songster

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    @ChickenCanoe

    I have seven 25 week old laying pullets and eight 5-6 week old chicks. While they have been integrated I still have the in-coop brooder in place and keep separate feed and water for their exclusive use. They also have access to the pullet feeders and water both in the coop and in the run below; I see them feeding from those locations and also from a dispenser that holds crushed oyster shell in the coop proper.

    I wanted non medicated feeds and buy from reputable local feed suppliers, in both cases the feed is manufactured on-site. The only grower feed I could find is designed for ducks an has a 22% protein content, otherwise has "appropriate" balance of other ingredients; I will have to check for the specific of amino acids per your comments. I was hoping to use only the 22% feed for both groups at least through the winter. I do not give them many treats (certainly less than 10%) and those are limited to vegetable scraps and scrambled eggs.

    Thanks
     
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