Feed not providing weight for birds....please advise

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 4hooves&featheredfriends, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. 4hooves&featheredfriends

    4hooves&featheredfriends Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2009
    New Hampshire
    For the past six years, I have fed Poulin grains for my horses and now for my chickens and ducks. The pellet has the following nutritional values, however, my birds do not seem to be gaining and keeping weight on.

    Guaranteed Analysis
    Crude Protein (Min) 15.00%
    Lysine (Min) 0.70%
    Methionine (Min) 0.30%
    Crude Fat (Min) 3.00%
    Crude Fiber (Max) 4.00%
    Calcium (Min) 3.50%
    Calcium (Max) 4.50%
    Phosphorus (Min) 0.60%
    Salt (Min) 0.25%
    Salt (Max) 0.35%

    As they are not free range the girls get scratch feed, 32 oz. per 17 hens (SLW,GLW, BR, BO, BA's - so heavier breed standards) daily, fresh water, oyster shells, weed pullings and veggie treats. Oh and grammy likes to give them bread squares.

    I will contact my Poulin rep tomorrow, but if anyone sees something blatantly wrong with their diet, please comment. Thanks.
  2. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2007
    Do they have free-choice all day? Meaning, they shouldn't be rationed their feed they should be allowed as much as they want all day long. I don't think 32 ounces for 17 hens is nearly enough.

    Others may have better suggestions than I.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  3. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    Increase the daily amount of feed & perhaps find a feed with a little higher protein % (say 19-22%). Ever wonder why guys who go to the gym drink protein shakes? As one who works out routinely, I can tell you that it keeps the muscle weight on you. It is no different with chickens. Protein = muscle (and muscle weighs more)= growth.

    Also, to get them to eat more in the hot summer months, wet their food. Of course, don't let it sit out wet for them to eat more than a day or two (smell it!).
  4. 4hooves&featheredfriends

    4hooves&featheredfriends Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2009
    New Hampshire
    Thanks, I will see if their is a higher protein feed and yes they had free choice 24-7. I will check on the ratio for scratch per bird recommendation.
  5. tdgill

    tdgill Overrun With Chickens

    what do you mean by scratch. i feed lay crumbles and scratch grains for treats only
  6. edb

    edb Chillin' With My Peeps

    The 28% protein game bird starter I have is amazing how fast it builds up even hens worn down by raising chicks.
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    They may need to be wormed. Most animals that cannot keep weight on usually have a parasite load.

    You can use chemical wormers to get it under control and then follow up with a maintenance of chopped pumpkin and pumpkin seeds and buttermilk to help keep it under control. If you worm them now, pumpkin season is fastly approaching and you can supplement their diet with lots of fresh pumpkin and buttermilk and get things under control and help them get healthy faster.
  8. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    If you are feeding ONLY scratch grains, buy some crumbles. I bet you will see a quick improvement in your flock.
  9. Lund121671

    Lund121671 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    a 15% is way to low for birds not on free range! Remember chickens are like birds and require a good quality feed for growing, production, breeding etc. I feed a 22% chick starter to EVERY chicken on my property if they are out or locked in. The birds that can get out eat less and the birds locked in eat more, but are in great condition and grow fine.
  10. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2009
    I take it we're talking about layers, not meat birds. What age are your birds? About 18 weeks they go on a 16% (not 15%) layer ration, free choice. Everything else you do sounds right.

    Also, a hen doesn't really start to fill out until they pass the 1 year old mark. You don't want them too fat -- fat layers have more problems like getting egg bound.

    As long as they are active, alert, bright-eyed and glossy-feathered and not looking otherwise pale-combed or sickly, I'd say you don't have a weight problem. Do up them to 16% though. Anything higher than that is for meat-birds and you don't want a fat layer (unless you are planning to eat these birds soon).

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